Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the rhetorical and ethical structure of our public communications and representations concerning food, eating, health, and obesity. Food messages in our culture are deeply contradictory and tension-ridden, leaving us with no “right” way to eat. Moreover, eating practices are routinely portrayed as having characterological significance, so there is no right kind of person to be, when it comes to food. Food messaging follows a broadly pornographic logic, in which images of shame, sin, disgust, temptation, risk, safety, perversion, pleasure, and recklessness are mixed together in a fundamentally incoherent way. Furthermore, these meanings are socially and materially scaffolded in important ways; one cannot just use willpower to ignore or overcome them but must cope with them as one navigates the world. Thus, people are left in a practically and ethically untenable situation when it comes to eating.

Keywords: health communication, shame, seduction, character, eating, obesity

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.