“don't Eat That”

R. Marie Griffith

in Born Again Bodies

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780520217539
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938113 | DOI:
“don't Eat That”

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American Protestants have restricted or eschewed sex, alcohol, smoking, dancing, leisure activities, and other bodily pleasures for the sake of obedience and virtue. For them, eating has long carried dense and contradictory meanings. This chapter traces the effects of the religious ambivalence about sin and pleasure upon bodies that eat, feed others, and aim toward godly distinction within a putatively corrupt and anguished world. The mandate to personify purity appeared most expressively in modern-day Christian diet culture, where food is at once the object of desperate longing and embittered loathing. Markers of gender, race, and class also figure deeply in attitudes formed toward physical appetites, in ways that may cloak the trauma sometimes motivating dietary disciplines. The afflictive experience of an eating disorder may be triggered by silent suffering—even while generating other forms of pain and distress.

Keywords: Christian diet culture; eating disorder; sin; eating; physical appetites

Chapter.  14619 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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