American Story of Meat

American MeatSteve picked out an article for Thursday: Barbara Willard, in the Journal of Pop Culture, discusses the “American story” of meat consumption and how culture both shapes the meaning and gender connotations of eating meat. It’s a little dry and academic in the first few pages but I think it really picks up when she does begin discussing the cattle lobby and how they launched massive public relations campaigns to make beef consumption look environmentally friendly and the cattlemen who raise it responsible stewards of the earth.

Here are some questions:

1. Does eating meat have any cultural significance to you? Do you ever reconsider or question how much you eat? Have you ever consciously made efforts to try and reduce your consumption?

2. In the age of an Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food, Inc., do you think the American people still have a romantic image attached to how meat gets to the dinner table? What specifically makes the cattlemen’s lobby about being “stewards of the earth (pg. 111)” statement seem suspicious?

3. Is there a difference in how men and women view meat consumption?

Feel free to come up with your own and let us know how the reading goes since it is from an academic journal.

The Reading and Media Group meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the second floor lounge of Memorial Union. We come bearing cookies. New readers are always welcome.

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