Organic Feminism

I sometimes feel very alone in my opinions about organic food and the religiosity with which it is bought, sold, and pitched. I had a nagging feeling about the, lets say friendliness between food control or food superiority and feminism. Today I read an article that, while it doesnt make rference to feminism, for me closed the gap quite a lot just based on the nature of control and supremacy with which feminists approach, well, everything.

Does Eating Organic Food Make You a Jerk

I have always believed that the issue of organic food transcended the left/right divide, not in a good way, knowing any number of otherwise conservative people who subscribe to the organic food religion. When the most logical of organo-fanatics are challenged I am utterly amazed at how they are able to fall right into the rhetorical techniques they offer no quarter to the left for when the topic is different.

Ive also noted that the loudest and most strident adherents are women, they are the newest diet fad consumers, the devotees to homeopathy, and pretty much drove the temperance movement, all springing from the same genetic well of desperate to micromanage……stuff.

The organic food thing is unique in its combination of being right on a micro basis and badly wrong on a macro basis. Plus, it has the worst moniker ever. Try this, go to the store and ask for the department that sells inorganic veggies. Its good for a laugh, but its also nonsense. The only inorganic food that even exists, chemically speaking, is table salt (and maybe a handful of other things but they are not common)

See the following:

There is no doubt that there are chemicals that are harmful to humans used in the production of pesticides and fertilizers. That we minimize our exposure to those things is a matter of common sense. But what of the data, which we already know, that says life expectancy has dramatically increased with the advent of basic medicines (primarily antibiotics) and fertilizers and pesticides? We are not starving to death, nor are we dying of basic bacterial infections. These two factors jumped life expectancy more than anything other factor. That is why you see that there is a correlation between GDP and life expectancy, as GDP ties to excess food production and to availability of basic medicines.

Therefore, as a boutique type operation, and treated as such by consumers, the organic food (and homeopathic medicine) movement, makes  good sense for a privileged minority of people who can afford the time and expense of acquiring them. But thats not enough for them.

When folks start shopping and eating organic, a self-righteous change begins. In other words, they become snobs. They look down on those folks in the grocery store check-out line sticking with processed food, frozen dinners and even those shoppers who do not bring their own reusable bag. And they become downright judgmental.

This form of peer pressure is conflicted. It at once throws off negative reinforcement towards those pesky inorganic shoppers, but at the same time harbors a subconscious knowledge that if all those pedestrians actually responded to the pressure, these purveyors of culinary snobbery would have to look elsewhere to feed their superiority complex.

But they needn’t worry too much because:

Even more importantly, the authors of the study found, their sense of self importance and harsh judgement didn’t stop with food — it carried over to other areas of their life, as well.

Is it difficult to see how women who are unwittingly sympathetic to the evangelical feminists for the moral control it affords them in marriage can grab hold of the nutritional supremacy feelings that organic and free range evokes and cast their net wider than their own home? The 30-something mothers are the worst, as they shame other mothers suggesting its nearly child abuse that they didn’t supply the crispy arugula snacks to go with the chicken strips made from Colin…..the chicken in the following video.

It may seem an awkward connection I’m making between women and organic food, and will especially cause heartburn for those men who have been drafted into the movement. But there is one woman’s blog, and I cannot recall the name, its cited in the testostosphere regularly, who writes extensively about organo-homeopathy topics. In her case I think she is genuine and not coming from a place of superiority.

But that lady unloading a filthy reusable bag of organic veggies (see recent news reports on sickness spread by these bags) sneering at my Mac and Cheese yesterday in Krogers was pissing me off.


14 thoughts on “Organic Feminism

  1. Wow, that “Portlandia” thing, welcome to our brief future of absolute absurdity. This will actually last about 5 minutes and then Tyler Durden is going to show up and then they will be drying venison strips on the freeway overpass (if they live that long, which I doubt). How anyone cannot see this is where we are heading or how they can believe that this is in any way sustainable is beyond me.

  2. Portlandia is NOT funny to those of us with brains that live here. To the rest of the country it’s exaggerated comedy, to us it’s practically a documentary. Much of what goes on in that show is actual real life everyday occurances.

  3. The self perceived superiority of those making certain “healthy” food choices was apparent in my discussion of the “documentary” Forks Over Knives that I had several months ago with everyone’s two favorite Texas residents. The other thing that was apparent was their imperviousness to reason or actual science. Forks Over Knives (FOK) claims to have proven that eating meat is the cause of almost everything that’s wrong with us. The problem is the “science” is totally flawed. They took a typical US diet, which is high in meat but also very high in processed foods and replaced it with a diet that is entirely mad up of whole unprocessed plant products and concluded that the problem is the meat. VERY bad science if you ask me. But the religiousity with which they clung to the conclusion that fit their choice was staggering. I ran into the same thing with male relative on that same movie. I’ve not seen the actual movie but read enough about the “science” behind it to know that’s is more of a propaganda piece than it is an informative documentary.

  4. Not sure if you have read anything by Joel Salatin, but his latest book has a pretty interesting take on so called “organic” food . He isn’t snobby but makes a case for local foods and as a bonus feminists hate him because he is a traditionalist libertarian. He is also very pro carnivore.

  5. Local food definitely has advantages in terms of freshness and in terms of reducing transportation consumption. It’s something that, as energy prices continue to climb, we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of. If the economic shit truly does hit the fan(the recent recession is a tiny blip compared to what could happen) EVERYTHING we consume will need to come from within a few miles of where we consume it.

  6. Yes local is a different matter. I go back to my college days in the early 80’s, Kirkpatrick Sale wrote a book called Bioregionalism, and as an engineering student I was expected to poo poo that, he came and spoke at my uni, and I was taken by SOME of what he said. He was ahead of his time a bit, on about shipping broccoli from one coast to the other and crap like that…it IS stupid, and that has nothing to do with organic or whatever.
    If the book she refers to is about organic farming though, and that was adopted in large scale, locally, whatever, it spells death by starvation in a generation.

  7. As the author puts it the word “organic” is just another label that does not really say anything more than it meets government requirements for that designation. The book is “Folk’s This Ain’t Nomal”, and he is all over the place but basically it is about soil/water/forestry management, farming, and good stewardship of the land. He discusses continous tillage vs land use rotation, similar to what the Bible talks about with a seven year rotation. A lot of it is about food security as well.

    I am all for better living through chemistry, I joke with people that they should just call me the “drug fairy” since part of what I do for my job involves advocating for drugs. My kids are vaccinated, I tell people who argue with me about it to watch a good documentary on polio or the like. Despite all that, I do think there is a balance to maintain between chemical/natural approaches to health and agriculture.

  8. The irony is that the same person who will complain about starvation and the inefficiency or overuse of land use in food production will often be the same person who insists on organic which can be some of the most inefficient uses of resources in food production, Antigrrrrl hits on a point, while I’m no great fan of Monsanto and “Round-Up” ready crops there is a use for chemicals, I kind of think we should be using DDT in limited applications for one.

  9. IAL I cant follow your post when you talk about the irony that the person who complains about starvation…..etc etc…..I cant get your gist.

    Yes, organic farming can waste land as yields are so low, potentially zero some years even. Chemicals are what allow surplus, then logistical inefficiencies, regulations, gubmit regs, corruption, a host of things still sees starving people in the world.

    The balance the needs to be maintaines, antigrrl….what does that mean? Its a serious question. I ask because balance is a sort of buzzword these days and I never really know what it means.

    There operative point of balance in food production would be where chemicals were having detrimental effects that outweighed the effects of the lack of chemicals….ie starvation from pests, drought, and low yields. Since we are miles from that tipping point, where are we in terms of balance?

  10. What IAL is saying is that those who seem to make the most noise about poverty and hunger are the same ones who would have us go back to farming methods that would result is far more hunger.

    In terms of balance one thought is that it’s foolish, and probably unhealthy for us to have our entire food chain based on a single plant, corn. Just about everything we eat, other than fish and other plants comes from corn. Almost all commercial livestock is fed corn. If a fast moving blight or chemical resistant pest ever attacks the corn crop, we’re all screwed in a BIG way.

  11. Hard to come up with something more precise than “balance”, another way I would put it is that there needs to be a good understanding and respect for the way natures systems work before people try to improve on it. Divorcing the animal part from the tillage is one example of something that depletes soil health, so when it is done it better be done very well and with an idea about what may happen. The Dust Bowl was a combination of manmade issues( soil erosion and improper management by tilling, chemical use, and not replacing mass) and nature made issues (drought). It is similar to a pregnant vegan who has seperated from the animal component of the system- they better damn well know what they are doing nutritionally or the baby is going to have problems.

    The other issue with soil mismanagement in the form of over reliance on chemicals is that the food produced does lose some of its nutritional value (objectively via lab tests, not just “it’s healthier because it doesn’t have nasty chemicals!”). Some breadbasket states are losing topsoil at a fairly rapid rate whcih is not just lost nuritional value but also a good way to cause flooding.

    On a medical level, it is important to respect natures system as well. There are a lot of people who want to solve it all with chemicals without really understanding the full breadth of consequences. A good example of this I see is 80 year old ladies on 30 different meds who look like they are dying until you take them off half the crap and then half a miraculous recovery. Another example is the overuse of antibiotics where you end up with things like C. Diff and the prevalance of MRSA. The issue with MRSA isn’t always that it is resistant so much as that all the other bacteria gets killed off and then there is no competition for the MRSA, causing huge overgrowth and infection. Because of this some of the homeopathic and old fashioned things can be more effective in controlling it than drugs

  12. Dust bowl had a climate aspect. I’d even say that was the biggest aspect. But sure, nothing wrong with working WITH natural systems rather than against or interrupting or artificially accelerating or whatever…when possible…when practical. It gets too utopian, and relies far too much on anecdote for my liking even at its moderate level of sales pitch.
    Sorry to say but even the old ladies getting better off meds is an anecdote that, when stacked against the big picture is just an outlier that could be handled just by different treatment of THAT old lady.
    Overuse of antibiotics is not an indictment of antibiotics per se, which is more the mantra of the homeopathic adherents. Its human error. MRSA, sure, can be assigned to that trend. Some of the other super duper bugs (check the newest pathogen in India that has been carried back to the west, mainly Europe, some in US by travelers getting hospital treatment there. As a frequent visitor to India I can tell you that there is no overuse of ANY medications there, the slums are petri dish for evolution of bacteria, granted the pollution is bad, but treatment is non existent.

    Call it balance or whatever, its just avoiding all or nothing religiosity, which from my view looks to be a much bigger ideology on the organic and homeo side than on the chemical scorched earth side. Note Im not saying its being USED more, Im talking about the stridency of the adherents

  13. In my opinion, “Round-up” ready is killing any diversity that we have across the worlds staple crops. Don’t get me started on “terminator” seeds. We’re flying down a box-canyon with a blindfold on. We’ve put all of our eggs into too few baskets, and I can read the book of Revelation. Food is going to get expensive for a reason.

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