The Culture Of Bite Essay

419 WordsJul 23, 20112 Pages
The Culture of Thin Bites Fiji In her article "The Culture of Thin Bites Fiji," columnist Ellen Goodman makes a number of assumptions about culture, American society, and the influence of television based on the evidence from one case. While her conclusions are suggestive, they can hardly be taken as final proof that the forces she sees operating in Fiji are the same as those operating in our own. Fiji was a nation where being fat was considered a sign of good social health, demonstrating an appreciation of hospitality. This might be seen as a highly unusual cultural norm, given that it does not seem to be the norm anywhere else in place or in history. Goodman calls Fiji an "island paradise" (401), as most people would, but Goodman seems to use this term because the people of Fiji do not worry about weight and instead embrace being heavy. She also calls the Fijians as "a reverse image of our culture" (401), and for her this is changed once television comes to the island. Within a few years, the women of the island are all trying to be thin and to emulate the Western ideal they see on television, specifically on American television programs. Goodman cites an anthropologist who has observed this before-and-after television body image in Fiji, and for Goodman, Fiji is an ideal laboratory experiment. She sees the Fijians as affected by the same image-consciousness disease that is epidemic in our society. Goodman says that what we do is "export insecurity" (402) to make any woman anywhere feel anxious about her body. She never addresses any larger questions, such as why does this operate on women and not on men, not just in our society but in that of Fiji? Also, while Goodman says that our culture is shaped by television; in truth television is shaped first by our culture, which means that the image existed before the medium. At the same

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