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Resisting health: extreme food and the culinary abject
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-17, 15:02 authored by Phillipov, M
Controversies involving calorically extravagant fast food hamburgers are not only significant manifestations of nutritional surveillance and policing, they are also important sites of debate about food, health, and eating during a so-called “obesity epidemic.” This paper examines the media coverage and controversies surrounding two “fat” burgers that were sold in the Australian market in 2008 and 2011. It argues that the almost total subsuming of the “meaning” of these burgers into a framework of health simultaneously limited comprehension of their pleasures and provided opportunities for resistance to public health agendas. By locating the consumption of these burgers as part of a broader, masculine “turn to the extreme” in contemporary culture, this article suggests that the burgers' transgression of healthy eating edicts not only reveals the limits of public health education's ascetic agenda, but also highlights the complex and interdependent relationships among media, food, health, and its discontents at a time when eating and nutrition are sources of heightened anxiety, surveillance, and control.
Publication titleCritical Studies in Media Communication
Department/SchoolSchool of Humanities
Place of publicationUSA
Rights statementCopyright 2013 National Communication Association