Philosophers In Action
Boise State Philosophy students and faculty attended 23rd Annual Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference in Forest Grove, Oregon April 5-6, 2019
Dr. Christina Van Dyke was a Fall colloquium speaker on Friday, November 11th. Her talk was open to the public and campus community and drew a good crowd for the event. Dr. Van Dyke came to us from Calvin College located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. To learn more about her, please visit her home page.
Abstract: Adding Fuel to the Fire? Orthorexia and Gendered Eating
Orthorexia is an obsession with maintaining the perfect diet for optimal health. Whereas people with anorexia are obsessed with the quantity of the food they eat, people with orthorexia are fixated on the quality of the food they eat. In contrast to anorexia, which disproportionately affects young women, orthorexia appears to affect men and women at roughly equal rates. At the same time, gendered eating norms play into the manifestation of orthorexia. Ideals of health are different for men and women: health for men is linked to strength and endurance, while for women it is equated with attractiveness (i.e., thinness) and competence. These differences are important when asking why the quest for a healthy diet might turn destructive. I suggest that the root answer to this question lies in philosophical traditions that seek to transcend (rather than embrace) the body. In short, orthorexia is just the newest manifestation of body-loathing. This recognition gives us strong reason to resist cultural assignations of certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and to push hard against the force those terms acquire in the endless quest for ‘healthy living.’