Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Did feminism cause obesity?

Yes according Rosie Boycott, a senior food policy advisor to the Mayor of London and founder of feminist magazine Spare Rib.

She said “there is now a lost generation of people who rely on fast food and processed dinners“.

Speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature she said encouraging women to go out to work rather than become housewives resulted in everyone giving up cooking.. “I said “don’t cook …. you’ll get ahead” We lost it. Schools gave up cooking. Everyone gave up cooking.”

(The obesity crisis has ) certainly been fuelled by the fact that women work and that we have allowed this huge change to happenSocieties change, women start working, and the fast food and takeaways arrive“.

Cooking was seen as drudgery by feminists and has been blamed before for the spread of fast-food chains although it is unusual for feminists to actually admit it.

She thinks we should start cooking again, men as well as women. (I’m writing this as the roast chicken dinner I’m preparing for the family is nicely browning in the oven. Just saying.)

And though my mother worked she still cooked us meals, although we helped during the week preparing the vegetables etc. And working mothers back in the day didn’t have all the labour saving devices that you find in a modern kitchen either. Perhaps if women had to go out to work to make ends meet was that doesn’t count as feminism?

Of course other factors have also been blamed such as car use, computer games, clever marketing from food companies pretending they sell healthy food, and sedentary occupations.

And while Scottish hospitals ban the selling of junk food on site English hospitals make a profit from it – now that is unacceptable.

But back to her key point re feminism. The genie is out of the bottle for most people although there are some cultures which discourage women from going out to work and expect them to stay at home and look after their families. Are they less obese? Perhaps the Mayor of London has a view on that?

The NHS thinks that 1 in 4 adults is obese. Obesity levels have trebled in the past 30 years. If the trend continues half the population could be obese by 2050.

The consequences are well-known: diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.

When I posted on this 6 years ago feminism hadn’t been brought into the mix but it’s fascinating thought isn’t it?

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Most Mums don’t feel guilty about going to work

woman_scientist_solve_custom_text_puzzle_12407Really? Well thats what a survey by Mumsnet found – only 13% felt guilty about spending their time away from their children and almost half said it made them happier to be at work.

Mumsnet’s Chief Executive said “We often think of working Mums as harassed and time poor, rushing from school to the office with not a second to spare. But the reality is often more complicated. Most want to work or work more hours”.

A third of stay at home mums admitted they would prefer to work and 52% said staying at home was harder than going to work. So it sounds like they want to go to work to get away from their children.

The survey polled 900 mothers. I’m not sure it’s a big enough sample to be representative of the 1.5 million Mumsnet members – which looks like a middle-class pressure group from what I’ve read – and in any case may not represent all mothers. So I’m guessing not many of the mothers polled will be in minimum wage jobs and they probably have good childcare arrangements.

It’s a catchy headline but I’m not sure it reflects reality for a lot of working mums or mums who would rather not have to work but stay at home to look after their kids.

Interestingly in this survey almost half of the mothers said having children didn’t make them feel “mumsy“. Not much maternal spirit there then.