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Food choices amongst gay men Kasten, Gerald 2009

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FOOD CHOICES AMONGST GAY MEN by GERALD KASTEN B.Sc. (H. Ec.) The University of Alberta, 1989  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Human Nutrition)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  April, 2009 © Gerald Kasten, 2009  Abstract Studies of food choice have been conducted predominantly with women, rarely with men and sexual orientation has not been ascertained. Gay men are at risk for a number of nutritionally-related adverse health outcomes, and learning more about their food choice processes will enable health services providers to offer more informed care. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the food choice processes of gay men in Vancouver. Data and recipes collected from 13 men via semi-structured, audio-taped interviews were analyzed using iterative process methods. Queer Theory and Constructivist assumptions were used as resources for analysis. Three main themes were identified, all incorporating aspects of gender performance: body weight and body image; food choices; and food work. Participants talked about restrictive eating and assumed a discourse that gay men limit or avoid foods in order to control body size and achieve a societally-constructed objectified body. Some participants contested this discourse. The men choose gendered foods without regard for those constructions and recognized that making such choices could be critical of the masculine hegemony. Sensual appeal of foods was prioritized but balanced with choices to enhance health.  ii  Participants used food to nurture others and were more likely to cite spending time on preparation when preparing foods for others rather than solely for themselves. Several participants learned to cook at an early age. This was assessed as outside of appropriate gender roles and received negative feedback. Such cooking may be an example of early life cross-gendered behaviour. Participants in this study spoke of preparing foods to achieve both excellent taste and exceptional presentation, particularly when entertaining other gay men. This use of food as performative of one’s being gay would be a unique aspect of the participants’ food-related behaviours. Broadly put, the process of coming out freed participants to question gender constructions. They chose foods and did food work without much regard for the gendering of food or tasks. The practice implication is that providers need to question if men they are working with may be gay, learn about and provide culturally competent care.  iii  Table of contents Abstract ............................................................................................................ ii Table of contents ............................................................................................ iv List of tables .................................................................................................... vi List of Abbreviations........................................................................................vii Acknowledgements ........................................................................................viii Dedication ....................................................................................................... ix Chapter 1: Introduction .................................................................................... 1 Chapter 2: Literature Review ........................................................................... 6 2.1. Introduction............................................................................................ 6 2.2. Gender, Identity and Being Gay ............................................................ 7 2.2.1. What is “Gender”? .......................................................................... 7 2.2.2. What is “Identity”? ......................................................................... 10 2.2.3. What is “Gay”? .............................................................................. 11 2.2.3.1. Coming Out and Gay Identity ................................................. 13 2.2.3.2. Gays, masculinity and femininity ............................................ 17 2.3. Body Weight and Body Image ............................................................. 19 2.4. Food Choice ........................................................................................ 22 2.4.1. Identity and Food Choice .............................................................. 23 2.4.2. Food Choice and Gender ............................................................. 24 2.4.3. Food Choice, Sensory Appeal and Health.................................... 26 2.5. Food Work ........................................................................................... 28 2.5.1. Feminine Scripts ........................................................................... 28 2.5.2. Masculine Scripts.......................................................................... 31 2.5.3. Gay men’s scripts ......................................................................... 32 2.6 Summary .............................................................................................. 34 Chapter 3: Methods ....................................................................................... 36 3.1. Research Approach............................................................................. 36 3.2. Inclusion Criteria and Ongoing Sampling Decisions ........................... 38 3.3. Exclusion ............................................................................................. 39 3.4. Recruitment ......................................................................................... 39 3.5. Sample Size ........................................................................................ 40 3.6. Data Collection .................................................................................... 41 3.6.1. Interviews...................................................................................... 41 3.6.2. Interview Transcripts..................................................................... 42 3.6.3. Participant observation ................................................................. 42 3.6.4. Recipes ......................................................................................... 43 3.7. Analysis ............................................................................................... 43 3.8. Enhancing Rigour ................................................................................ 45 3.9. Situating the Researcher ..................................................................... 48  iv  Chapter 4: Results ......................................................................................... 50 4.1. Body Weight and Body Image ............................................................. 52 4.2. Food Choice ........................................................................................ 55 4.2.1. Food Choice and Gender ............................................................. 55 4.2.2. Food Choice, Sensory Appeal and Health.................................... 60 4.2.2.1. Strategies for Achieving Sensual Appeal ............................... 62 4.2.2.2. Health ..................................................................................... 68 4.3 Food Work ............................................................................................ 71 4.3.1. Feminine Scripts ........................................................................... 72 4.3.2. Masculine Scripts.......................................................................... 75 4.3.3. Gay men’s Scripts......................................................................... 77 4.4. Summary ............................................................................................. 82 Chapter 5: Discussion .................................................................................... 83 5.1. Body Weight and Body Image ............................................................. 83 5.2 Food Choice ......................................................................................... 85 5.2.1. Food Choice and Gender ............................................................. 85 5.2.2 Food Choice, Sensory Appeal and Health..................................... 87 5.3. Food Work ........................................................................................... 89 5.3.1. Feminine Scripts ........................................................................... 89 5.3.2. Masculine Scripts.......................................................................... 91 5.3.3. Gay men’s Scripts......................................................................... 92 5.4. Limitations ........................................................................................... 93 Chapter 6: Conclusions and Implications....................................................... 95 6.1. Implications for Practice ...................................................................... 96 6.2. Implications for Research .................................................................... 97 References..................................................................................................... 98 Appendix A – Recruitment Notice ................................................................ 108 Appendix B – Consent Form ........................................................................ 109 Appendix C – Interview Guide ..................................................................... 112 Appendix D – Codes List ............................................................................. 117 Appendix E – UBC Research Ethics Board's Certificates of Approval......... 120   v  List of Tables  Table 1 - Characteristics of Participants ................................................................... 50  vi  List of Abbreviations A Cute Native (ACN) Jason Butch (JB) Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Queer Theory (QT) William Wiles (WW)  vii  Acknowledgements This work might never have been had it not been for the unrestrained and enthusiastic participation of the men I interviewed: VanDoc, Bobby, Zeb, Kyle, A Cute Native, James, Mark, Epilip, William Wiles, Josh, Lager, Tucker and Jason Butch. I would also like to acknowledge the sources of funding that helped support this work: the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union’s Health Science Professionals Education Leave Fund, Fraser Health’s Education Grant Program, the Isabel Loucks Foster Public Health Scholarship Bursary, UBC’s Hampton Research Endowment Fund and the Dietitians of Canada’s Memorial Fund Graduate Award. My supervisors at Fraser Health, Denise Fargey and Lynn Guest, were unremittingly supportive during the writing of my thesis. Particular thanks must go to my transcriptionist, Lisa Harrison, who sorted out who was saying what and diligently noted both the thoughtful pauses and the frequent laughter. My fellow graduate students provided both sharp critique and ongoing cheerleading. I am particularly indebted to Larry Mróz, who reviewed several iterations of my later drafts, each time providing cultural perspectives and suggestions on wording. My Supervisory Committee, Doctors Ryna Levy Milne and Peter Crocker, also provided much feedback and methodological guidance. Friends near and far also provided encouragement and occasionally not-so-gentle urging to finish up: Simon, Francisco, Lorraine, Joanne and Clark. I’m sure no thesis acknowledgements would be complete without listing one’s Graduate Supervisor: Dr. Gwen Chapmen was unparalleled in her patience and assistance throughout the extended duration of this writing. She not only provided enough rope for me to hang myself, but also gave careful and detailed instructions on how to make a ladder from it. Lastly, I would like to thank Sakino, who cheered me up, loved me and made me something to eat.  viii  Dedication  For Mom and Dad…  ix  Chapter 1: Introduction The impetus for this research arose from my own personal and professional experience as a gay male dietitian, from emerging academic questions about how identity and gender are expressed through food choice processes and from recognition in the health care sector of the need to provide culturally competent care for gay men. The purpose of this study was to investigate the processes gay men use to choose foods. As part of this, it examined gay men’s identities, looked at how gay men balance the values and meanings surrounding food, and explored what food choices result from the interaction of all of these elements. The main question this study sought to answer was: “What are the processes used by gay men to determine which foods to choose?” A secondary question was: “How are the processes used to choose foods linked to gay identity?” As a gay man and dietitian working in a multidisciplinary primary-care office with gay male clients in the majority, I find myself challenged as I frequently encounter gay men who are unhappy with their bodies. In diet histories and interviews, I find they are often choosing healthy foods and are active, both working out with weights and doing cardiovascular activity. Their bodies vary from very lean (BMI <20) to larger-bodied men, who may or may not be carrying some superfluous body fat (BMI 27+). For some years, I have been practicing using a Health at Every Size paradigm. This paradigm calls into question the purported inverse relationship 1  between body weight and health (Bacon, 2008; Gaesser, 1996; Oliver, 2006). At the same time, I have become increasingly interested in the bear movement: groups of gay men who are asserting that any body size can be sexually appealing (Manley, Levitt, & Mosher, 2007; Monaghan, 2005). This is what interested me in this research: as I work with gay men, I have found it challenging to get some of them to consider that body weight and health are not interrelated, nor are body weight and sexual appeal. Others are confident in their body size and sexual appeal, but may not be taking actions to positively impact their health. Hence, how do the complexities of gay men’s beliefs about their body size impact their food choices and how do they come to hold those beliefs? There is increasing academic interest in discerning how identity and personal history may be expressed through food choices. Bisogni, et al. (2002), have theorized these factors as key informants of food choice. As identity may be expressed through food choice it is key to note that gay identity formation, informed by the coming out process, is different from other identity formation (Hunter, 2007). Gay men enact their masculinity differently than non-gay men and this is likely to have an impact on identity (R. W. Connell, 1992). Even though this difference could inform food choice, research is not yet available to help us understand what may be a unique impact. Food and food work are gendered in our society. Lighter foods and sweet foods are characterized as feminine, as is cooking in vessels. Filling, substantial foods are characterized as masculine and men cook without vessels, over flames  2  (Wardle, et al., 2004). Expertise in cooking is often male, as well: a man who cooks is a chef, while all women are cooks (Fürst, 1997). As men who are exemplifying new masculinities, gay men are uniquely positioned to inform research about the examination of gender and food. Much has been written of the expression of gender through food choices. Yet gender is an aspect evoked differently by gay men than by non-gay men. As the social construction of body and sex, gender is a spectrum with any number of colours within that spectrum (Burke, 1996). As gay men have gone through a coming out process, they have been freed to question gender hegemonies, and may be critical in their analysis and performance of socially constructed roles (Riggle, Whitman, Olson, Rostosky, & Strong, 2008). These performances may allow gay men to express gender differently when making food choices. Like many women, gay men look upon their bodies as sexual objects and so seek to mould them to a desirable shape, a body ideal set within their culture (Beren, Hayden, Wilfley, & Grilo, 1996). This desire for a slim, muscular body has the potential to impact their food choices, and to affect the process of choosing foods. Gay men may adopt eating pathologies, such as monitoring and restricting foods, to achieve an ideal body (Jacobs, Picot, & Lilenfeld, 2004). Finding out more information about what processes gay men use to choose the foods they eat may aid in resolving these eating pathologies. Gay men are likely already part of most health-care providers’ client groups. They make up a small but significant sub-sector of the adult male population in 3  Metro Vancouver and are increasingly living “out of the closet”: Vancouver has the highest proportion of self identified same-sex common-law households in Canada with 0.9% of all couples being in this category (Statistics Canada, 2001). Male couples were predominant in identifying themselves, at 55% of all same sex couples (Statistics Canada, 2002). Only since the mid-nineties has there been a call for unbiased study of gays, already an understudied group. There has also been recognition that historic paradigms of research have been subject to inappropriate religious, social & medical biases (Rothblum, 1994). Gay men are less likely to utilize health care services than their heterosexual counterparts (Tjepkema, 2008). They are also less likely to disclose their sexual orientation to care providers, often because they are not being asked (Dahan, Feldman, & Hermoni, 2008; Neville & Henrickson, 2006). Many gay men are seeking service providers who will provide advice and care that recognizes and supports their gay identity (Brotman, Ryan, Jalbert, & Rowe, 2002). The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (2001) recommends that “Health care providers of all disciplines—but especially primary health care providers, dietitians, and nutritionists—need training on the specific nutritional needs of LGBT populations… Such training should include a strong emphasis on delivering culturally competent and sensitive care” (p. 250). Gay men, like all adults, are at risk for chronic nutrition-related diseases such as heart disease, cancers, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and HIV infection (British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency, 2006). Gay men are dissatisfied  4  with their bodies and also at higher risk for eating pathology (Williamson & Hartley, 1998). All of these conditions have nutritional implications. Better understanding of the processes gay men utilize to choose foods will support care providers in supporting and facilitating changes in diet to help improve the health status of gay men. There is a large body of research investigating the motivators for food choice. Most of this research has been conducted with women as the group studied, as women do a majority of domestic food work (Fürst, 1997). Men, as a group, have been studied less frequently and researchers have rarely asked about sexual orientation. Qualitative research is ideal for identifying and understanding meanings and the nature of experiences. It allows a researcher to use a natural setting to ask questions about participants’ histories, knowledge and feelings to gain a broader understanding of the research subject (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). This study used qualitative research methods to gain understanding of the processes used by gay men in choosing foods. These understandings helped clarify the manners in which identity, gender roles, health and body image concerns contribute to those processes. Gaining further understandings of gay men’s food choice processes can aid health and social service providers in providing culturally competent services to gay men.  5  Chapter 2: Literature Review 2.1. Introduction “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players” As Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII), we are all performing for the world. Identity, gender, masculinity and femininity are performative roles played out for an audience in a social context. Food is often a key prop in these performances. In this review of the research, I will begin by providing some context for the study of gay men and their food choice processes. I will review research in the field of gender, and how people play out gender roles in an iterative manner, and in that performance, construct their gender for recognition by others. Similarly, I will review identity research, and how we form identities in reference to the social groups we connect with. I will present one of the theories about the coming out process, and its multiple stages, both within the self and within the social environment. Gender, identity and self identification as gay all contribute to choices and hence need examination to better understand how gay men choose foods. I will next examine the literature on gay men and body, including information on body image and dissatisfaction. These constructs are likely to constrain food choice and understanding them more clearly can better inform a study on food processes. Lastly I will look at food: what is known of food choices process, including how they may be constructed in social settings, and informed by life experiences 6  gender, masculinity, femininity and identity formation. I will discuss food work, as well, and the aspects of it that are most associated with women and with men 2.2. Gender, Identity and Being Gay 2.2.1. What is “Gender”? In speaking of gender, I will examine the meaning of the word “gender” and how Judith Butler has theorized that gender is “performed” in our society. I will then move on to look at how those performances form authority or control of actions: that is, through the creation of hegemony. Throughout this work, I will frequently refer to hegemony, particularly masculine hegemony. The specific hegemonic constructions I refer to when writing this are the predominant North American/European/Australian constructions of masculinity. I will draw upon literature from all of these locations in making a variety of contentions and want the word “hegemony” to be read as these constructions. The word “gender” is often assumed to have the same meaning as the word “sex”. A generation of social scientists has worked to demonstrate that this assumption is misleading. Gender is the social construction of sex and has a broad spectrum of points upon which people move back and forth throughout their lives. Sex may be somewhat simpler, having two easily characterized endpoints, male and female, and to accommodate nature, science and surgery, a number of intermediary points. Burke (1996) tells us that all of us receive gender training from a very young age. Social constructions such as how to hold our body, what is right and wrong to wear and, indeed, what form is optimal for our bodies to take. We are taught what is 7  expected of us as girls or as boys and reap rewards for conforming to and playing out those constructions. Butler has written about the performativity of gender (Butler, 1996, 1999) and tells us that the performing of gender is troublesome, as we always perform it in a specific context, which will include a power dynamic and a discourse. By doing so, we necessarily perform parts of it; yet omit parts of it, too. Hence the omitted parts are silenced, and this performance is flawed or erroneous. These flawed performances will tend to err towards conformity, towards the norm, as moving away from the norm carries the threat of being punished. Butler contends that through repetition, these performances begin to create gender and, in turn, identity. If we recognize gender as a performance, it allows us to use our performances to subvert themselves by always leaving options available for future, varied performances. By varying the performances we can iterate what it means, to ourselves, to be a woman, to be a man. People stay within their gender roles because they have an expectation that straying outside the roles will result in misclassification, that they will be seen as inappropriately feminine or masculine (Bosson, Taylor, & Prewitt-Freilino, 2006). Connell proposes that hegemonic masculinity exists only as a construct, but men take what they need from the hegemony and construct their own masculinities. She defines masculinity as “... simultaneously a place in gender relations, the practices through which men and women engage that place in gender, and the effects of these practices on bodily experience, personality and culture” (R. Connell, 2005, p. 71). Hence, masculinity is three things: The interactions between  8  men and women (in which some are “placed” as men, while others are “placed” as women); the way that people (i.e., both men and women) act out male gender in those interactions; and the way that that acting out of gender impacts the larger culture. The hegemony exists as a reference point that assures that men can subordinate women, and any lesser or subordinate masculinities, as well (e.g., gay masculinities). Men do not need to act out hegemonic masculinity but need only heed that its constructs continue, to ensure the subordination of others. Thus, the hegemony only exists in theory, as a construct. Connell (1987) also proposes that there is no feminine hegemony, but rather that femininity is constructed in the context of the overall subordination of women to men. Thus, when women accommodate the interests of men, they are creating femininity. He calls this “emphasized femininity.” Schippers (2007) suggests that this is problematic, as it results in no means of differentiating between femininity and subordinate masculinities (i.e., those masculinities which do not encompass all parts of the dominant hegemony), unless it is by characterizing the former as enacted by women and the latter as enacted by men. She goes on to note that because the dominant hegemony is tied to white, middle class, heterosexual men, men’s dominance encounters conceptual problems when applied to men outside this membership. Further, Schippers proposes that hegemonic masculinity subordinates women, and so an integral part of its definition is in its relationship to femininity. This allows her to propose a definition for hegemonic femininity: “Hegemonic femininity consists of the characteristics defined as womanly that establish and legitimate a hierarchical and complementary relationship to hegemonic masculinity and that, by  9  doing so, guarantee the dominant position of men and the subordination of women.” (p. 94) This definition focuses on characteristics as womanly or feminine and hence may be applied to any aspects of subordinate masculinities that serve to problematize them and, in turn, to subordinate them. Focusing on characteristics also allows those that do not support the dominant positioning of men nor the subordination of women to be viewed as positive and valuable. Masculinities and femininities are mutable and variable and can be enacted by the performer as they choose, if they can move the performance outside of what society has constructed as “appropriate”. 2.2.2. What is “Identity”? Identity, like gender, is performed in reference to the observer - the company in which one finds oneself. Stuart Hall (1996) discusses the concepts of identity in his essay “Who Needs Identity?” He proposes that identities come from within us, and arise from “the narrativization of the self” (p. 4). He goes on to point out that these narratives are constructed in the contexts in which they are produced – the historic, social and political contexts. Within these contexts one marks the points of difference: “What is it that I am not?” which in turn, mark out the points of similarity: “What is it that I am?” It is in the meeting of these two questions where identities arise. People arrive at identities by comparing and contrasting the characteristics they attribute to themselves with those of groups: i.e., “male” or “sports-fan.” They then self-categorize themselves into identities by finding commonalities or differences with such groups. These self-categories are mutable and change 10  depending upon the contexts, or social frames of reference in which one finds oneself. One may have differing identities depending on whether one is with one’s family (“mother” or “brother”) or in employment (“labourer” or “Doctor”). We maintain all of our identities, but bring varying identities to the forefront as we move through different social contexts (Abrams, 1996). McAdams (1993, 1996a) has offered a simple manner in which identities can be explored. He proposes that people develop a personal story by which they narrate their lives and enact their identities. He suggests that people construct a personal narrative that they use to create their “self” in their interactions with others. McAdams suggests that this framework can be used to study people’s identities by asking them questions about this narrative, this “self-as-object.” As people relate their personal stories, they tell us what they have constructed for the world to see. Or, they relate what their “self as subject” (the “I”) can develop as their “self-asobject” (their “Me”). By listening to their stories, we can find out what they have constructed as their identities (McAdams, 1996b, 1996c). Hence, identities are created in reference to the groups in which we find ourselves, and these creations, these elaborate garments, can be related to others by telling them a story. The story arises when we view ourselves externally, when we tell others of our “Me” narrative. 2.2.3. What is “Gay”? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines the word gay as: “(adj.): orig. U.S. slang. (a) Of a person: homosexual; (b) (of a place, milieu, way of life, etc.) of or relating to homosexuals” The Dictionary goes on to note “Although more frequently used of male homosexuals, this sense can either include or exclude 11  lesbians”. Similarly, I use the word “queer” frequently throughout the text “(adj.): colloq. (orig. U.S.). Of a person: homosexual. Hence: of or relating to homosexuals or homosexuality.” Again, the dictionary goes on: “Although originally chiefly derogatory (and still widely considered offensive, esp. when used by heterosexual people), from the late 1980s it began to be used as a neutral or positive term (originally of self-reference, by some homosexuals; cf. QUEER NATION n.) in place of gay or homosexual, without regard to, or in implicit denial of, its negative connotations… it is also sometimes used of sexual lifestyles that do not conform to conventional heterosexual behaviour, such as bisexuality or transgenderism.” This last comment notes the inclusive usage of the word “queer” – using it to include a spectrum of sex, sexuality and gender related words (e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, questioning, straight allies). As well as being a more inclusive word, using the word “queer” avoids the cumbersome use of such constructions as “LGBTIQQA” and various permutations thereof. Hence, readers may consider the use of the words “gay” and “queer” in this text to be referring to homosexual men. Critically examining the OED definition brings a question to the forefront, however. If “gay” means homosexual (as in definition a.) is it solely a descriptor of sex acts? Definition “b” comes much closer to the usage employed throughout this research in its preliminary parenthetic note: “milieu, way of life”. There are many men who have sex with men (MSM) who do not incorporate being “gay” into their identity performance. Adam (2000) interviewed 100 Ontario men and found that those who chose to name their sexual orientation as “Gay” were referring to more  12  than the sex of the people they had sex with. Instead they were referring to their interest in emotional involvement and relationships with other men. Even those who had never been in love projected future relationships with same sex partners. Hence it’s the ideation of relationships that makes one “gay” rather than the sex of sexpartners. 2.2.3.1. Coming Out and Gay Identity Bringing together “gay” and “identity” is an important conceptual product for this research. It is these concepts that are used in examining the food choices made by participants. The process of coming out is an integral part of the identity for gay people and the learnings from the process inform their later lives. Gays come to their identities in a different process than non-gay men. Gay identities include an exceptional layer, as sexual identities are different from societal norms (Adam, 2000; Horowitz & Newcomb, 2001). Hunter itemizes a number of coming out theories in her chapter “Coming Out, an Overview” (Hunter, 2007, pp. 41-60) All of the theories are staged processes, varying in the number of stages from three to seven. She goes on to note that only two models have been subjected to empirical testing, those of Cass (1979, 1984) and Fassinger & Miller (1997). I have chosen to examine the model proposed by Fassinger & Miller, as it incorporates both individual and group identification processes and is less politicized than the model proposed by Cass. The Inclusive Model of Sexual Identity Development proposes two tracks of development with four phases in each track. The two developmental tracks are ‘Individual Identity’ and  13  ‘Group Membership Identity’ with the four phases being awareness, exploration, deepening/commitment and internalization/synthesis. In the Individual Identity Development process, in the Awareness phase, a boy (or man) begins to see himself as different from other boys (or men) and from what he foresaw as his future, leading to confusion. In the Exploration phase, he will experience strong emotional or often physical feelings for another boy or man. He may not act on these feelings at this time. In the Deepening phase, he will have a deepened commitment to self-knowledge, and some clarity about committing himself to having same-sex partners. Lastly, during the Internalization stage, he will have feelings of self-acceptance of love and sexual desire for same-sex partners. His identity as a gay man will likely be formulated at this time. In the Group Membership Identity process, in the Awareness phase, a boy will become aware that the gay community exists and may also become aware or acknowledge that heterosexism and discrimination against the gay community exist. This awareness can produce confusion. In the Exploration phase, he will explore knowledge of gay people as a group and his possible membership in the group. This stage will be confusing, as attitudes are unclear, and the group may be viewed through a historical and heterosexist lens. Information about the group may be unavailable or incorrect. All of these factors can contribute to anxiety and guilt, but also curiosity and joy. In the Commitment phase, he is likely to commit to being involved in the gay community, but is also aware of the consequences of this action. During this phase a boy is likely to have a strong identification with the gay community and a rejection of heterosexist society. In the final Synthesis phase, he  14  will have incorporated his identity as a member of an oppressed group into his selfconcept. This allows the ability to maintain one’s identity as a gay man across various contexts and can be a part of identity disclosure. Recently, boys are coming to terms with their suspected homosexuality at younger ages than in previous generations. (Drasin, et al., 2008) Children in the 4th through 8th grades who questioned their own heterosexuality reported feelings of being different from their same-sex peers (Carver, Egan, & Perry, 2004). Many boys are recognizing their homosexuality in early adolescence, while they are still living within the family home. We are living in a unique historical time, when young people are able to come out early, and may have the support of their families. Nonetheless, they must still deal with incorporating a stigmatized sexuality into their identity, at a time when that identity may not yet be fully formed (D'Augelli, 2006). In their study of lesbian adolescents, Swann’s and Spivey’s (2004) findings showed that only the fourth phase of The Inclusive Model of Sexual Identity Development, Internalization/Synthesis, has been associated with an increase in self esteem. Other, earlier phases are associated with decreased self-esteem. Self-esteem was highest in those whose Individual Sexual and Group Membership identities were both at the fourth stage. Clearly, gay men face layers in the development of identity that are different from non-gay men: shame, examination, deferment and sometimes concealment. As they come out, men find a social group with which they can find commonalities. This allows them to continue with their self-identification process. They find new social contexts, and can explore new self-categories to incorporate  15  into their individual identity. Dowsett (1993) suggests that one response to the discrimination and subordination that gay men experience within the hegemony is a decision to deem it irrelevant. This allows them to concentrate on the possibilities of gay communities and the better living environment those communities may provide. Gay culture is unique amongst cultures in that it is not usually inherited from parents or families. Browning (1993) notes the fluidity of culture (similar to the fluidity of identity) and points out that gay culture has arisen in order to provide safe spaces for gay men to interact. How gay men view that fluidity differs, though: “For those gay men whose greatest dream is assimilation – to be viewed in their relationships as “just like anyone else” – the gay male “culture” that currently exists is only a transitional arrangement of refuge against the hatred of the majority culture; when that hostility dissolves, so too will the otherness projected upon those of us who copulate and mate with members of our own gender. For others, gay “culture” is emblematic of a broader dilemma, in which postmodern man, shorn of family, place, and tradition, floats alone from freeway to shopping mall to suburb and constructs a succession of temporary, self-conscious cultures of his own desire” (p. 9). As this “culture of desire” evolves, sub-cultures (or identities) emerge as men discover shared identities. When thinking of gay identity, many non-gay people will think of portrayals in popular media. Yet queer television characters are not representative of most gays (Avilau-Saavedra, 2009). Gay men have developed many interest groups or subcultures, allowing them to enact their identities in a number of settings, which may intersect, or run parallel. These identities may call aspects of the hegemony into  16  question. Examples include, but are not limited to: “Bears” (large bodied, hairy men) (Manley, et al., 2007; Monaghan, 2005), “Drag Queens” (male entertainers dressed in women’s clothes) (Taylor & Rupp, 2004), Gay Suburbanites (men living in the suburbs of large cities) (Brekhus, 2003) and “Leathermen” (men dressed in leather clothes) (Levine & Kimmel, 1998). Other examples might include identities that could be considered pejorative (i.e., people would likely not identify themselves in this manner, but might identify others in these categories), such as “Circuit-party Boys” (attendees of large dance events) (Buckland, 2002; Westhaver, 2003) Each of these identity groups has developed its own set of culturally-defined body ideals and reference points for identity. A further identity might be framed as a lack of a strong association with any other sub-group – “ A regular gay guy” or “just gay.” Through the process of coming out, gay men learn about the opportunity to perform characteristics and identities that work against the masculine hegemony and form innovative masculinities. 2.2.3.2. Gays, masculinity and femininity The masculinities performed by gay men vary widely and incorporate differing aspects depending on the social group with which they are interacting. Hence, they may incorporate characteristics that differ from familiar masculinity. In life-history interviews with eight gay men, Connell found that initially they identified with the masculine hegemony. As they came to realize that their homosexuality was a point of difference from that hegemony, they began to discard the hegemony and adopt an alternate masculinity. Connell (1992) proposes that this alternate masculinity may provide a model for “new” masculinities. Gay men are often offered as counterpoint 17  in analyses of masculinity. Given that they have challenged major discourses on sexual behaviour, they may provide models of exemplary masculinity (Dowsett, 1993). Since the 1970’s there has been an emphasis on “hyper-masculinity” in the gay male community (Levine & Kimmel, 1998), driven by external & internalized homophobia (Plummer, 1999). Thus, many gay men have substantial antieffeminacy attitudes (i.e., they do not like other men to have effeminate behaviours) (Bergling, 2001; Taywaditep, 2001). Conversely, it is well documented that many gay men exhibit cross-gendered behaviour in their lives. Many gay men demonstrate gender nonconformity during childhood, like playing with dolls or being a “sissy” (Bailey, Nothnagel, & Wolfe, 1995). This has been confirmed in a variety of ways, such as self-report, parental recollection and video & film records (Rieger, Linsenmeier, Gygax, & Bailey, 2008). Families often stigmatize gendernonconforming behaviour. While gender-nonconforming behaviour may be tolerated, there is usually a balancing push to conform to the hegemony in other ways (Kane, 2006). Taywaditep (2001) suggests that for these de-feminized gay men, the experience of negative feedback for cross-gendered behaviour in youth and insecurity around masculinity may contribute to anti-effeminacy feelings. In Connell’s (1992) study of Australian gay men, “A Very Straight Gay,” he considers that the hegemony is exclusively heterosexual and homophobic and places gays at the bottom of the ladder of masculinities. The conflict between gay men’s celebration of the masculine and this discriminatory hegemony results in a sharp critique of the hegemony itself. This allows gay men to critically analyze the  18  dominant hegemony and adopt or discard its tenets according to their usefulness, timeliness and social context. Riggle, et al. (2008) found exactly this in their study of the positive aspects of being gay – they found that gay men and lesbians expressed that they felt freedom from traditional heterosexual gender scripts and roles. This questioning of the hegemony may not be unique to gay men. Sellaeg & Chapman (2008) found that young heterosexual men also recognized and strayed from the hegemony. They noted that there were hegemonically masculine ways of eating and actively rejected those masculinities, choosing foods for health ideals. Again, amongst men there is a varied approach to masculinity, and these approaches may be changing to reflect the evolving social environment in which they are enacted. 2.3. Body Weight and Body Image It is well documented that many people, in conforming to the feminine hegemony, look at the body as a sexual object. In viewing the body as a sexual object, they must work to enhance its aesthetic appeal in order to attract sexual partners. These aesthetics are tacitly agreed upon by a dominant culture and hence people seek to conform to that cultural ideal. Siever (1994) confirmed this by questioning heterosexual men & women and gay men & lesbians about the importance of physical attractiveness and thinness. His analysis showed that men place priority on physical attractiveness in partner choice and hence those who seek men as partners are more likely to sexually objectify their bodies and be dissatisfied with them. Follow-up studies have confirmed this and gone on to note that identification with such “feminine” traits as passivity and dependence predicted body dissatisfaction (Lakkis, Ricciardelli, & Williams, 1999). Gay men are more likely to be 19  unhappy with their bodies than are heterosexual men or heterosexual women (Beren, et al., 1996). Childhood gender-nonconformity, as has been frequently noted amongst gay men, is another trait associated with increased body dissatisfaction in adult men (Strong, Singh, & Randall, 2000). Body dissatisfaction places gay men at greater risk for eating disturbances, and eating disorders are more prevalent in gay men (Feldman & Meyer, 2007; Hospers & Jansen, 2005; Jacobs, et al., 2004; Williamson & Hartley, 1998). Wardle found that as much as half of the differences between men’s eating and women’s eating was attributable to the combination of dieting and health beliefs, including irrational beliefs (Osberg, Poland, Aguayo, & MacDougall, 2008; Wardle, et al., 2004). Men characterize healthy bodies as performative: they are functional and can perform the tasks demanded of them (Saltonstall, 1993). Dieting can adversely effect body performance and functionality of the body (Fogelholm, 1994). Restrained eating was lower in heterosexual men compared to heterosexual women or homosexual men (Conner, Johnson, & Grogan, 2004). Like women dieters, gay male dieters restrict or avoid foods to attain a specific, objectified future body. Like women, gay men may seek to attract sexual partners with their bodies and hence seek to modify their body to fit a culturally defined ideal (Conner, et al., 2004; Jacobs, et al., 2004; Martins, Tiggemann, & Kirkbride, 2007). There is some active resistance to this culturally defined ideal. Monaghan (2005) describes the eroticization of larger male bodies, and Hennen (2005) contends that the idealized hairless, groomed body is the “oppositional anchor” for the Bear movement (p. 34). A key point of agreement amongst several writers on the  20  Bear phenomenon is that body and self-acceptance are part of identity (Hennen, 2005; Manley, et al., 2007; Monaghan, 2005; Wright, 2001) As time progresses, there may be less difference in body dissatisfaction amongst gay and non-gay men: over time, that dissatisfaction may flow to confluence. Hausmann et al. (2004) compared and contrasted gay and heterosexual men, and found that there was little difference in body image perceptions between gay and straight men. They attributed this to sampling in earlier studies, but Martins et al. (2007) have proposed that as men are increasingly objectifying their bodies their dissatisfaction with their bodies also increases and that gay and non-gay men’s body image issues were broadly similar (Martins, Tiggemann, & Churchett, 2008). Kanayama, et al. (2006) found that heterosexual men who were heavy anabolic steroid users also had poor body images and were preoccupied with body size. The viewing and purchasing of muscle and fitness magazines correlated positively with levels of body dissatisfaction for both gay and heterosexual men. Pornography exposure was also positively correlated with social physique anxiety for gay men (Duggan & McCreary, 2004). In unmarried heterosexual couples, people with higher self-esteem and fewer depressive symptoms were found to have higher body satisfaction (Boyes, Fletcher, & Latner, 2007). The men with higher self-esteem in the study dieted more often, using what the authors denoted as “healthy dieting” (reducing calories and reducing or eliminating snacks with no skipping meals or vomiting). Heterosexual men dieted more often when they had female partners with higher self-esteem or fewer depressive symptoms.  21  These latter findings suggest that heterosexual men are becoming more conscious of their body image and attending to their bodies. Hence, the gay men who objectify their own bodies may simply be in the avante garde of men in general, reflecting that as time moves onwards all men may be moving towards body objectification and concomitant dissatisfaction. 2.4. Food Choice Within any food choice process, values such as taste & food quality, monetary considerations, health & nutrition concerns, weight control, convenience and how food affects relationships are all balanced or traded off. Furst et al. (1996) proposed a model that incorporates how people’s identities and life experiences inform their food choices and also note how they go on to balance a number of values in the process of making choices. Furst et al. (1996) proposed 3 components to any foods choice. The first component is identity and life course. We all compose identities, enacting and modifying them as we move through social contexts. Our life courses inform these identities and have helped us compose influences on food choices: ideals; personal factors; resources; social frameworks and food contexts. These components interact and conflict to form a personal system in which foods are chosen. As each food choice is made, a number of values must be balanced, such as: hedonics, money, convenience, health, people’s relationships and quality. After considering these values, people make a choice, but also are forming a strategy to make that choice. Once the strategies are formed, they simplify and hasten the choice process.  22  Bisogni, et al. (2007) have proposed a complementary model for characterizing eating episodes, arising from their study of 42 people (21 women, 21 men) living on lower incomes. They suggest that underlying meanings contribute to the dimensions of each eating episode and that people give such underlying meanings labels. These dimension labels are then used to characterize an eating episode. They note that this constructs each eating episode as much more than the foods and drink chosen during that episode and hence places it in a social and environmental context. 2.4.1. Identity and Food Choice Self-identity informs a person’s system for making food choices. People form self-identities - mental images they assign to themselves - based on their life experiences: interactions with other people, groups and objects. Bisogni, et al. (2002) specify that there are three key ways in which identity interrelates with eating: identities that relate to food practices (e.g., “picky” eaters, or “big” eaters); identities that relate to other personal characteristics (e.g., “healthy” eaters or “laid-back” eaters); and identities that relate to reference groups or social categories (e.g., an “average” eater or a “blue-collar” eater). Like all thing related to identity, there is an iteration of identity through eating. We acquire our identity and enact it, in part, through our food choices. The amount of consideration we give to food choices allows this part of identity to evolve and develop. It will change over time, as we move though a variety of environments, social structures and influences. Our life course and the events and experiences we live through will shape and change the way our identities are related to our food choices. Fischler (1988) suggests that food 23  is central to our identities. It is a bridge between the “outside” self and the “inside” self, formed and characterized by our cultures, our knowledge and our desires. Lupton (1996) also makes this case and goes on to contend that focusing on the nutrient values of foods is problematic, as it separates food’s nutrient value from its social context. The physiological sensation of satiating hunger and interactions with others likely influence responses to foods as much or more than its nutrients. 2.4.2. Food Choice and Gender As gay men choose the foods they eat, they will be influenced by society’s outlook on the appropriateness of various foods for men. Although they may be freer to question the gender constructions surrounding food, these constructions are pervasive and may still wield some influence. Gendered dietary patterns may be associated with the hierarchically ordered system of foods found in North American/Western European culture (O'Dougherty Jensen & Holm, 1999). Foods perceived as masculine may be considered more valuable, or ordered higher than foods perceived as feminine. These higher-order foods are also more likely to be chosen by and served to men, with women choosing lower ordered foods in deference to men. Foods with lesser prestige, like sweet food or salads are foods associated with women. A variety of foods are more commonly associated with women’s consumption: lower-fat foods, higher-fibre foods, more vegetables and salads and more fruit, desserts and other sweet foods (O'Dougherty Jensen & Holm, 1999; Westenhoefer, 2005). Lupton (1996) reviews the characteristics of a variety of foods associated with femininity: chicken with its pale meat and lack of fat; “fluffy” white, delicate rice; virgin 24  olive oil and smooth, rich indulgent chocolate. Women are more motivated to choose healthy foods, and may be driven, in part, by a desire for weight control. “Lightness” and delicacy or daintiness are also associated with feminine hegemony (Wardle, et al., 2004). Quantities of foods eaten is another marker of gender, with men eating more and to satiation, at larger meals, while women choose to eat less, or smaller amounts more frequently (Lupton, 1996; O'Dougherty Jensen & Holm, 1999). Gough and Connors (2006) in their British study of food for men, found participants cited taste and the ability to satisfy as their key motivator in choosing foods. This was echoed by the Norwegian men in Roos’ and Wandel’s study (2005). The British men reported cynicism about government and media health recommendations, citing inconsistency and conflicting messages as well as the diversity of advertisements (i.e., one for a “healthy food” and the next for an “unhealthy food.”) These men also found government messages coercive. The authors did not ask about sexual orientation, but note that 50% of their participants were married and 10 % separated (same-sex marriage not being legal in Britain at the time of their study) (Gough & Conner, 2006). Meat is the most oft mentioned food associated with masculinity and is often associated with strength, power and virility (Lockie, 1999; Lupton, 1996; O'Dougherty Jensen & Holm, 1999). Lupton comments that it is “a metonym of the very idea of food itself.” (p. 28). Roos, et al. note that the consumption of meat varies by class, with blue collar workers choosing meat more freely that white collar workers (G. Roos, Prättälä, & Koski, 2001). Sobal (2005) outlines behaviours that  25  constitute gender accounts, such as eating gendered food (meats) in gendered ways (grilled with few accompaniments) or the masculinization of dieting through high protein (i.e., high meat) diets. Gay men are influenced from many points along the gender continuum. They incorporate aspects of both masculinity and femininity into their identities. Hence, the gender aspects of food may play out in a different way in the food choices they make. 2.4.3. Food Choice, Sensory Appeal and Health Some gay men, as part of their sexual orientation, may be motivated by sensuality and sensation. Their feminine script of body objectification and drive for consuming lower calorie foods may, in part, have health as a motivator. These incentives, though, may be more pervasive: several studies are showing that people are trying to balance sensual appeal of foods with their desire to eat healthy foods. Healthy choices are associated with such things as health concerns, attitude towards healthy foods, choice to consume less red meat, higher age and female sex (Eertmans, Victoir, Vansant, & Van den Bergh, 2005; Pollard, Steptoe, & Wardle, 1998; Roininen, Lahteenmaki, & Tuorila, 1999; Saltonstall, 1993; Sun, 2008; Zandstra, de Graaf, & Van Staveren, 2001). Even amongst women, taste is a stronger predictor of choice than health, though health is a stronger attitudinal motivator (Aikman, Min, & Graham, 2006). Chapman’s female participants saw dieting and healthy eating as a spectrum, with more restriction and avoidance at the dieting end with the desired outcome of weight loss. Healthy eating was viewed as longer term changes with less restriction and yet a change in body size or weight  26  loss was still a key motivator for the pattern of eating, along with an expectation of positive health outcomes (1999). A variety of studies have found sensation seeking behaviours amongst gay men. These have been studies associating sensation seeking with problematized behaviours such as unprotected sex (Kalichman, Heckman, & Kelly, 1996; Kashubeck-West & Szymanski, 2008) or binge drinking (Wong, Kipke, & Weiss, 2008). Coveney & Bunton (2003) discuss this problematizing of pleasure seeking behaviours and suggest the suppression of pleasure is in itself problematic and reproduces power and social inequities. A number of studies have examined the ways in which people manage the balance amongst the desires for health and for pleasure from foods (Aikman, et al., 2006; Lowe & Butryn, 2007; Niva, 2007). Niva (2007), in particular, describes the “dilemma” of choosing between health and pleasure. She recruited 45 Finnish adults with a mean age of 53 to talk in focus groups about personal eating habits, healthy eating, and notions & use of functional foods. Results note a constant striving for a balance between indulgence and asceticism. Healthiness was associated with control and discipline and also with everyday life. The discipline of following a strict diet was noted to bring an ascetic pleasure. In celebratory events or occasionally as a relapse, indulgence was a motivator and more fat, sugar and salt were eaten. Niva also reports that some participants worked to incorporate pleasure into their healthful practices by making it a rationalized part of their healthy practices and avoiding constant consideration and monitoring of everything they ate.  27  In Wansink’s and Westgren’s study (2003) of consumers of soy foods they looked specifically at people who adopted new foods because of liking the taste. They found that people who adopt a food for its taste are likely to consider themselves good cooks and to appreciate fine food. To a lesser degree, they consider themselves non-traditional and adventurous. 2.5. Food Work Food work may be another place where gay men incorporate aspects of both masculinity and femininity into identity. The work of choosing foods, preparing and cooking them and serving them to other is one of the clearest examples of women’s tasks in world society. In gay male culture, that is, by its definition, made up more of men than women, how food work is enacted provides insights into how gay identity can influence food choice processes. 2.5.1. Feminine Scripts Food work, in general, is viewed as “women’s work” and done predominantly by women in Canada (Beagan, Chapman, D'Sylva, & Bassett, 2008). DeVault (1991) notes women’s patterns of deference to the perceived needs and desires of their family over themselves. Lupton (1996) notes similar behaviours in her section on catering for the family: Women, especially those in unpaid employment, defer to their husband’s preferences as a reward for ‘working all day.” Furst (1997) discusses cooking and femininity, noting that women’s cooking is not only part of the masculine hegemony (as it supports male privilege) but is also very intricately tied to female identity. If they give up this role as cook and giver of food, they are giving up one key aspect which contributes to their social role of being women, wives and mothers. 28  Costa, et al.’s (2007) interviews with 50 diverse Dutch consumers who were in charge of meals (40 women, 20 men) outlined the value judgments associated with home cooking. Homemade food was highly valued and was considered healthy, tasty and trustworthy because it was self-made. Weekend meals that were shared with family and guests were also very valued, and the preparation of such meals was noted to be enjoyable. The use of pre-prepared foods or take-out meals was imbued with reproachful judgments amongst non-users. DeVault, Lupton, Furst and Costa were writing about (presumed) heterosexual couples, though. Carrington (1999) writes of the food work in gay couples and brings some interesting additions: In his study, he related that one partner was often more involved in the routine food work than the other, and knew more about the likes and dislikes of the other. In these relationships, both claimed a more equitable sharing of the routine food work. The partner who was less involved, in actuality, would focus on his involvement to protect the masculinity of the more food-involved partner. Ristovski-Slijepsovic (2003) found in her M.Sc. dissertation on dual income childless heterosexual couples that the more expert food preparer did a majority of the food preparation. It is also similar to the findings of Kemmer (1999) that men who enjoyed cooking took on the role of food preparation. Harnack, et al. (1998) as they looked at heterosexual couples, found that men were more likely to be involved in meal planning, shopping and preparation in households with fewer members (such as childless couples) and in couples where the female head of household worked full time. Bava, et al. (2008), interviewing 20 to 50 year-old women, with and without children, found that participants had to balance time and nurturing of others/taking  29  the desires of others into account and found strategies for this. Those participants found that they could manage time by using partly prepared food items that they could then further prepare for a meal, and yet retain their nurturing roles. This confirms Costa, et al.’s (2007) findings that the use of pre-prepared food is dependent on perceived sensory and health-related benefits being negotiated with convenience features. The context of the meal in which prepared food might be used also had an impact on their use. Blake, et al. (2008), found scripts were followed in the preparation of the evening meal. When looking at food expenditures, Kroshus (2008) found that people living in heterosexual marriages had lower expenditures on commercially prepared foods than did men living alone (whether never married or separated/divorced). Deutsch (2005) found, in an all male environment of the firehall, that his participants also showed some signs of nurturing and deference to others. He noted that the firemen were aware of and planned for food likes and dislikes of the other men, planning a meal that would not only nurture the largest number of men in “the family” but would also be healthy and nutritious. In Deutsch’s doctoral dissertation (2004) he tells in detail of the protected environment which frees the men to do the “women’s” work of considering others’ needs. The firemen do not talk about their actual meals with others. They exaggerate the complexity of food when speaking to people in other fire halls or the media and conceal their elaborate preparations when speaking with their families. Hence, in an environment where their masculinity is protected, these men are freed to nurture others and to choose healthy foods. They provide a rare example of men following scripts that are more usually feminine.  30  Feminine food work scripts can be summarized as associated with the everyday, the obligatory. They stipulate that nurturing, caring and feeding healthy foods, all within an economical cost, are central concerns in feminine work. 2.5.2. Masculine Scripts Men’s roles in food work are both less documented and less understood, as men have been studied much less frequently than women in food research. Knowing, as we do, that women do most of the food work, particularly the preparation of food, we are left with the question of “What food tasks involve men?” Traditional attitudes of food work as women’s labour can influence participation in food preparation, particularly if men attach value to masculine hegemony (Harnack, et al., 1998; G. Roos, et al., 2001). Kroshus (2008), looking at family food expenditures, found that households headed by single, separated or divorced men spent more on commercially prepared food than did households headed by married men and that this suggests that men may be less expert at food preparation than women. She goes on to suggest that women are motivated to prepare more of their own food by greater nutrition knowledge and skills due to the drive for thinness. Jabs and Devine (2006) report that single men spend 15 minutes per day in food preparation compared with almost 29 minutes per day for single women. They also note that 64% of men age 21 - 64 report no time spent on food prep. Marquis & Manceau (2007) note that one of the key aspects of food choice for young men in Montreal was convenience, leading to many food choices based upon ease of preparation, minimizing time invested and clean-up. Costa, et al. (2007) reported that users of pre-prepared foods valued the 31  time freed from preparation which could be applied to other activities. Sellaeg and Chapman (2008) also found that time constraints and living alone had the biggest impact on participants not meeting their healthy eating ideals. The participants also noted that living alone contributed to not meeting ideals, as there was no one else to feel responsible for, no one to offer feedback about choices and cooking for solely one’s self was not enjoyable. In the absence of families to feed and others for whom to prepare food, less motivated to achieve a specific body ideal, and possibly in the absence of food skills, men may be more attentive to simply attaining food to eat. It may be prepared by others and purchased, or may be prepared simply and quickly for themselves: convenience seems a key motivator for men in their food preparation choices. 2.5.3. Gay men’s scripts Gorman-Murray (2008) discusses gay male domesticity, noting the development of unique households that are freed from feminine influence. The dominant hegemony can characterize gay households as feminized, as that serves to maintain a lowered status for gay masculinities in comparison to the dominant masculinity. However, there has been a recent phenomenon in which gay men have been accepted as having superior knowledge of food and other domestic ideals (Sender, 2006; Weiss, 2005). “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” presents gay men as more knowledgeable than the heterosexual men whose lives they have been contracted to improve. Food is key aspect of these improvement and the gay men teach the non-gay men to be better cooks. Butler has positioned such tactics as performativity – a performance that defines its subject and produces agency that 32  allow a person to continually redefine one’s self by iterating and sometimes reiterating their performance (Jackson, 2004). Roos and Wandel (2005) encountered a discussion of food expertise in their study of Oslo men. Their finding showed that their participants “distinguished between liking and appreciating a wide repertoire of what they prefer to call “normal food” and being occupied by gourmet food or making eating an extraordinary event.” Like most researchers, they did not enquire about sexual orientation. 34 of their 46 participants were living with a female partner, while 12 were single (4) or divorced (8). These findings could be interpreted to mean that assumedly heterosexual men have little interest in knowing about or preparing gourmet foods. Deutsch (2005) found that the heterosexual firemen in his study had created “a unique food system, and while each brings intact a value system and ethnic heritage to the table, these packages become negotiated, in many ways most power fully in the kitchen and at the table” (p. 92). He notes that the men cooked elaborate meals, the foods chosen through a process of discussion and negotiation. The foods chosen and the cooking are often complex: the men concern themselves with such minutiae as exactly when to add basil to a tomato sauce, or which pan to use for a specific application. Deutsch notes food expertise amongst the men, yet this is hidden from their families, only revealed in the firehouse. He also notes the necessity of the functionality of the body for firemen, and how food choices play into that sense of body. Lastly, it may be worth noting a study that found that gay men perceive time differently than other men (Brodowsky, Granitz, & Anderson, 2008). The study  33  attests that gay men are more present oriented than heterosexuals, and hence experience less time pressure. Gay men may thus not feel as much pressure on their time, and spend a bit more time on food preparation, even when they do not perceive themselves to be doing so. 2.6 Summary This review of the literature has shown that gender is the social construction of sex. We each perform our gender over and over and in this iteration, construct the gender that we present to the social context in which we find ourselves. Those same social contexts help us enact our identities, which may vary in interactions with differing groups: families or coworkers, for example. Gender and identity are social enactments, but gay men realize in their youth that the feelings they have are different from those they are being presented by others. This leads them to investigate and eventually enact other performances and social settings, gradually incorporating new aspects of their identities until there is congruence between their inner understandings and their outer performance. As gay men seek to attract other men as sex partners and as they are exposed to media and pornography, they may come to see their bodies as sexual objects. This may result in body dissatisfaction if their bodies do not meet a socially constructed ideal. Gender non-conformance in youth may also influence body dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction contributes to eating pathologies, such as the monitoring and restriction of foods, and constant surveillance of eating and food choices.  34  Food choice is influenced by life course, and, in turn, by the identities formed in that course. Food choice is also made within gendered constructs of daily life, with meat being constructed as a masculine food, and other, “lighter” foods such as vegetables, salad, chicken and sweet foods being constructed as feminine. Within all of these constructs, people are attentive to the hedonic responses they get from foods, choosing foods for their taste. Gay men may be even more attentive to taste, as the coming out process has allowed them to acknowledge that sensuality is an important motivator. Taste is, however, likely to be balanced in some manner with the perceived healthiness of foods, motivated by both health concerns and body image ideals. The work of preparing and presenting foods is societally structured as the work of women, and this is largely true. In the single sexed household of gay men food work is performed by the household member most motivated, expert and with time available, although power dynamics may further influence who does the work in some gay couples. When men live alone, are unskilled or are preparing foods for only themselves they may minimize food preparation time by purchasing prepared or semi-prepared convenience foods. Gay men may be more interested in food preparation and presentation than non-gay men.  35  Chapter 3: Methods 3.1. Research Approach This research employed a qualitative research approach, as there is little prior research into the food choices of gay men. Carrington (1999) researched food work in gay and lesbian households as part of a larger study of domestic work and Gorman-Murray (2008) also looked at food as part of domestic practices. Aside from these larger studies including food work, the body of research on food choices examines (presumed) heterosexual women and, to a lesser degree, men. As an initial foray into this topic, qualitative methods were chosen to seek out the descriptive “how” and “what” of this topic, rather than necessarily seeking to answer “why” things occur (Creswell, 1998). Strauss and Corbin (1998) suggest that qualitative research is most appropriate when one seeks to understand meanings and the nature of experiences. Its purpose is to delve into broad questions within the naturalistic setting of people’s lives, described in their own words, descriptive of their own experiences and their experiences in interactions with others. As this study was to seek understanding of how gay men choose foods, the descriptive outcomes of interviewing the participants provided much data within which such understandings may be found. Maxwell concurs, and goes on to suggest that qualitative research is well suited to examining processes. While it can also look at outcomes, its descriptive nature can provide insights into processes that “experimental and survey research are often poor at identifying” (1996, p. 20). I found it appealing to use qualitative methods to  36  speak with men, asking them about the foods they chose and probing for the background of how they came to be chosen. The naturalistic setting in which the research occurred was observational, rather than manipulated. The resultant theories emerged from the data gathered during the interviews, with the context of the participants included to achieve a more holistic outcome. The richness and depth of data allowed descriptions to be detailed and provided in the participants’ own voices. Contact with the participants allows me to develop a more empathetic understanding and to shift my own paradigms of understanding from rational and empirical to a more subjective and intuitive understanding of foods and choices. Qualitative methods also freed me from the constraint of having to assure generalizability of my findings – they pertain to these participants only. And the flexible design of qualitative methodology allowed it to unfold, adapting to the needs of the research. The iterative nature of consideration allowed the consideration of the outcomes as they played out (Patton, 1990). This study was guided by a Queer Theory (QT) tradition of enquiry (Gamson, 2000). Like a feminist approach, this tradition of enquiry is emancipatory in nature: through the investigation, the study contributed to a greater knowledge of the queer subjects. In turn, that increased knowledge contributed to understanding and eventually to emancipation. There may also be a personal emancipatory effect for the participants, as discussions of the topic may bring greater understanding of food and food choices and free them from preconceived or societally-imposed restrictions and ideals regarding food, the body, sexuality and gender.  37  QT differs from mainstream liberal feminism in that it is descriptive of a familiar community, that of gay men and lesbians, but can also encompass transgendered individuals, intersexed persons, people questioning their sexuality, and supportive members of any community (Jagose, 1996). Thus, QT is more embracing of the fluidity and spectrum of human sexuality and gender. QT draws on a number of other traditions. It tends toward postpositivism, as many queers have witnessed adverse outcomes of interaction with positivist science: in early studies, they have been pathologized and problematized as sick or even criminal. Positivism is also open to the critique that the socially constructed ideas of sexuality and gender can be interpreted as part of the natural world. 3.2. Inclusion Criteria and Ongoing Sampling Decisions This study included participants who self-identified both their gender as male and their sexual orientation as gay. I chose to allow participants to self-identity their gender as I was challenged to clearly define “Male” within the context of QT and its inclusive aspect. By allowing participants to self-identify, I avoided such questions as “Does having a penis make one male? (As both born men and transgendered men have penises.) Do XY chromosomes make one male? (I did not want to ask participants for a blood or tissue sample.) The same is true of defining sexual orientation – Adam (2000) proposes that being gay is defined by having same-sexed people as romance/love objects. There is a clear difference between MSM and men who have men as romance or love objects. Adam further posits that “identity theories recognize a disjuncture between sexual practice and identity such that many men and women have homosexual 38  practice without a corresponding identity” (p. 326). MSM may be opportunistically homosexual (e.g., men in all-male environments such as prisons or boarding schools), or may not yet have incorporated a gay identity. The key difference is that they do not seek to form romantic relationships with other men. Hence, I chose to allow participants to self-define. No other inclusion criteria were set, as I was interested in a heterogeneous sample of homosexual men, including heterogeneity of race, ethnic background, age, socioeconomic status, and gay sub-culture. 3.3. Exclusion This study excluded participants who were not functionally fluent and literate in English, participants who could not give informed consent and participants with anaphylactic allergic reactions to any food or food component. All of these exclusions were for simplicity: to ensure ease of communication; to exclude children and the ‘incompetent’; and to avoid the potential for adverse outcomes from the incentive gift basket of foods. No volunteers were excluded from this study. Ten men (4 single men and 3 couples) made initial contact, but decided against participating or were lost to followup. 3.4. Recruitment Purposive recruitment for the study was carried out by using two techniques. Recruitment leaflets were distributed in both physical and electronic formats to a number of key informants (See Appendix A). The leaflets included a description of the participants wanted for the study, as well as the time it was expected the study 39  interviews would take, the topics that would be discussed and the remuneration for participation (a gift basket of food). A contact telephone number and an email address were provided. The notice specified that this would be part of the research for a Master’s degree and also specified the funding sources. Once potential participants contacted me, they were emailed a copy of the consent form (See Appendix B), along with a brief narrative re-summarizing the study. A variety of potential interview times and locations were also proposed. It was then left to potential participants to reply and correspond regarding interview times. 3.5. Sample Size Sample size in qualitative enquiry is set by theoretical saturation – that is, when no new information, properties or conditions appear to be emerging during preliminary coding and review of the data. While new information is always possible, more practically, saturation is reached when “collecting additional data seems counterproductive; the “new” that is uncovered does not add that much more to the explanation at this time.” (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 136). In this study, I found that there was no new information emerging after interviewing the 12th and 13th participants, Tucker and Jason Butch (JB). The answers they gave to my questions added much confirming data, but little information that provided new insights or differed from that which previous participants had expressed. Other contributors to the closing of the sample were such issues as having recruited a sample heterogeneous in race, ethnic background, age, socioeconomic status and gay sub-culture. Sandelowski (1995b) noted that “experiences, not people per se, are typically the objects of purposive sampling.” (p. 180). Hence it 40  was not being a specific race or age that was important to the sample, but the relating of the lived experience of being that race or age. I had also recruited a negative case example, a participant who self-described as not being interested in food except as fuel. Lastly, the sample size was also informed by the number of participants in other Master’s degree projects of similar design. 3.6. Data Collection 3.6.1. Interviews Interviews were conducted in the participants’ homes, with the exception of the interview with JB, which took place in a coffee shop close to his home (having already visited his home when interviewing his partner, Tucker.) Interviews were informal, taking place in participants’ kitchens and kitchen nooks, living rooms, dining rooms and in a study/home office. The interviews ranged in time from approximately 50 minutes to over three hours and were audio-recorded. Interviews followed the agenda laid out in the interview guide (Appendix C). In each interview, I asked participants questions about how they felt about food, how they and others would describe their eating, about choosing, preparing and cooking food, about foods they avoid, public versus private eating and restaurant eating. I also asked them to tell me about their views on masculinity, gay culture and how gay culture impacts food choice. I asked them to tell me their story of “me”, in accordance with McAdams' (1996b) model of seeking information about how identity is constructed. Following this, I asked how their identities impact the foods they chose. I drew the interview to a close by asking about what kind of eater they would like to be and how they would respond if asked by another gay men about how to choose foods. My 41  personal experience as a dietitian enhanced the data generated by allowing probing questions centred on foods, diet and food preparation. As a dietitian with experience as a professional chef and food producer, my food knowledge may have enhanced the depth to which participants could be probed about their food choices, their food preparation methods, the foods they choose in the grocery store, and foods from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. This provided further insight into their food choice processes. 3.6.2. Interview Transcripts Audio recordings were made of the interviews. A transcriber transcribed each of the tapes. The transcriber signed a confidentiality agreement outlining that she will not reveal any of the transcribed information. Audiotaping and transcription created a permanent record of the conversations 3.6.3. Participant observation I observed participants and made notes subsequent to each interview, either audio-notes, spoken into the recorder or notes typed into the transcript. These field notes complemented the audio-taped interviews by noting cases where the participant’s affect or body language may have differed from their spoken words (although such discrepancies were few.) I also noted other minutiae such as time of day, location of the interview, participants’ attire, any unique or notable responses, and my own feelings at the time and about the interview.  42  3.6.4. Recipes Participants were asked to provide 3 “favourite” recipes – an everyday recipe, a celebration recipe and a dessert recipe. Again, these were compared and contrasted with the interview data collected to provide further insight into participants’ food choices. It was clarified that any “recipe” could be submitted – that food preparation skills were not being rated nor judged. For example, the preparation directions cut from the package of a food mix would be acceptable, if that was one of the participant’s favourite foods. I also made clear that the recipe might be something that someone else prepares for them - they needn’t necessarily prepare it for themselves (although all participants did submit recipes they prepared themselves.) The everyday recipe was used to compare and contrast with what participants have said about their everyday eating habits: Did participants who characterized themselves as “healthy” eaters submit a “healthy” recipe? Similar use was made of recipes for celebration foods and dessert foods. Dessert recipes were requested, in particular, as people may choose desserts that are not congruent with everyday eating patterns as desserts may not be everyday foods. They may also be considered “reward” foods. 3.7. Analysis After each interview, transcripts were reviewed prior to the next interview, so that concepts identified can be brought forward to future interviews. All data was coded using ATLAS.ti Software (Muhr, 2003) and a constant comparative method (Creswell, 1998). 43  Initial coding was line-by-line (Van Manen, 1990), to develop categories of information: The first transcript was analyzed line by line to note meanings that arise from sentences. For example, VanDoc told me “If five being extremely picky and zero being not picky I’d have to say four“ and the meaning I assigned was “picky.” These meanings were used to develop categories in the first transcript and subsequent transcripts. The data was analyzed using “chunking”: analyzing larger “chunks” of data for meaning arising from those chunks. Each “chunk” was a segment of data that conveyed an idea to me: a concept that I considered indicative of a code. Again, citing VanDoc’s discussion of being a picky eater as an example, he said, “I think overall most, most gay men after a certain age also tend to get pickier and pickier in terms of the quality as well as with time, the health stuff with it.” I coded this chunk as “Picky eater”, “Quality drives food choice” and as “Healthy Eating: Ameliorate Disease.” This further illustrates how the meaning arising from chunking was compared with the meaning arising from the line-by-line coding to see if there were relationships between the two. Identified relationships amongst the categories were used to develop a “story” that connects the categories. I found that Zeb provided an example of both confirming and discrepant evidence about picky eating when he first said: “…they would say picky, but not picky insofar as I don’t want to eat certain things, like I don’t like a lot of food, but more picky because I’m fussy about having good food.” (coded as “Quality drives food choice”) and later, when he commented: “And if you’re a picky eater, get over it. There’s nothing worse than a picky eater. “I can’t have onions. I can’t have garlic. I don’t like peppers.” Fuck, get out of my house” (coded as “Picky eater”). Once all codes had been  44  developed, codes with large amounts of data had that data copied, pasted into a new document and recoded to develop themes within those codes. Partial and intact transcripts were read and reread. Word searches for such terms as “healthy”, “body”, and “diet” were conducted, followed by the reading of the lines and paragraphs in which they occurred. Subsequent to this subordinate coding and rereading, I consulted with my graduate supervisor, discussed the subordinate codes and their relationships with the original codes, in the context of the rereading of the transcripts. Memos were developed during these meetings and independently. Themes were proposed and refined, again in consultation with my graduate supervisor. Arising from these ongoing discussions, clarity emerged and the themes were checked against the data for congruence. Hence, theory and concepts emerged from the data. These concepts were explored in the subsequent interviews. A standard coding process was used, and applied to all data: after new codes had been created, previous data was examined for applicability to those codes. Hence all of the data was coded using similar (or standardized) processes (Sandelowski, 1995a). 3.8. Enhancing Rigour Rigour refers to the credibility of qualitative research – ways to evaluate the “validity” of the research. I place validity in quotes, as this is a construct of positivism, that there is a truth in the natural world that may be arrived at through study. Qualitative research targets the study of process and seeks to elucidate rather than explain. Because of this epistemological differentiation, Rolfe suggests that we then should “appraise” qualitative research: “Appraisal of research is, therefore, subject to individual judgment based on insight and experience rather than on explicit 45  predetermined criteria” (Rolfe, 2006, p. 308). Nonetheless, one’s voice as author should not overwhelm the voice of participants. Strategies can be put in place to seek rigour. I tried to enhance rigour using five methods: a permanent record, triangulation, peer review (or debriefing), member checks and searching for discrepant evidence and negative cases. A permanent record of all data (transcripts, journal entries, coding, peer feedback, and member checks) ensured that any future external auditor is able to follow the research process undertaken, and track how results were generated (Creswell, 1998). Audiotaping and transcription created a permanent record of the conversations, although mis-transcribing from the original audio recording may have occurred. Reviewing transcriptions while listening to the audiotape minimized this. Triangulation is “collecting information from a diverse range of individuals and settings, using a variety of methods” (Maxwell, 1996, p. 93). Participant observation and recipes were chosen as further evidence of the manner in which participants choose foods and as confirmation of verbal data (i.e., The recipes allowed the comparison of recipe complexity and participants’ verbal descriptions of their skill). They were used to compare and/or contrast with the data emerging from the transcripts. Peer review or debriefing, utilizes others, be they other researchers or other peers, to ask hard questions about methods, meanings and interpretations (Creswell, 1998). I met regularly with both my faculty advisor and other graduate students undertaking similar research. These people acted as peer reviewers, using reflexive listening, written feedback on sample transcripts and in discussions with researcher.  46  Member checking is the solicitation of feedback from those being studied (Maxwell, 1996). All participants had access to their transcripts in order to review, edit and clarify any information. Participants had the opportunity to read any transcripts in which they are included or any reports prepared. This access is to ensure that a participant feels comfortable having the information about him or quotes from him that are contained in the report shared publicly. Access was available up to the time the final draft was submitted for evaluation by my thesis committee. The participants had my contact information in their own copy of the recruitment and consent letters, and may call and request access to transcripts and reports. At the final draft stage, the results were offered to participants for review. Borland (1991) suggests that “The narrator’s commentary on and interpretation of the story can contribute greatly to the researcher’s understanding of it” (p. 71). Lincoln (1995) feels that member checking is a way to ensure that participants are given “Voice”: a chance to have their opinions heard. Participants provided clarification and minor corrections to the data, which were incorporated into the final work. Searching for discrepant evidence is important as instances that cannot be accounted for by a particular interpretation show up the defects in that account. Incorporating negative cases ensures that initial theories are revised until all cases fit, eliminating any exceptions. (Creswell, 1998). As mentioned previously, I recruited a participant with discrepant evidence (Mark), who self-described as not being interested in food except as fuel. His participation brought contrast and confirmation to other data.  47  3.9. Situating the Researcher As a gay man and a dietitian of 20 years, my interest in the food choice processes of gay men may seem clear, yet there are complexities and nuances formed by my life course. I was raised in a large, but typical nuclear family with three siblings: two older brothers, and a younger sister. As my brother commented at my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary: “We never learned that there were “boy” things to do or “girl” things to do – just things to do.” This upbringing allowed me to question paradigms of gendered work. Upon entering and throughout school, others frequently characterized me as a “fag” and so have a clear understanding of the stigma experience by gay youth. By age 16, I was out of the closet and active with the Gay Alliance Towards Equality, a gay rights activist and support group in Edmonton, engendering a lifelong support for equality in rights. In Grade 12, I dropped out of high school, predicated by entering Edmonton’s gay scene and going to (and later working in) gay bars. Within two years, I was performing as a drag queen and have worked professionally as a Drag-Performance Artist. My experiences with drag have allowed me to attend, critique and contest both masculine and feminine hegemonies. In 1981, I continued my education, taking an Honours Diploma in Commercial Cooking from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. I graduated from NAIT in 1983 and worked as a chef until 1989. I returned to school in 1985 to earn a dietetics degree at the University of Alberta. My education has endowed me with a breadth and depth of knowledge about food. In this research, I was concerned that people would withhold information or filter what they talked about if they knew I was a  48  dietitian or a chef, that speaking to a “nutrition professional” would be intimidating. Hence, although they know from recruitment and consents that this work was about human nutrition, I did not reveal that I was a dietitian to anyone who did not already know. Similarly, although in our conversations participants would realize that I was able to cook, I was never identified as a “Cook” or “Chef.” In summary, I know what it’s like to be out of the closet from a young age and exclusively homosexual throughout my life. I don’t fit the body ideal currently promoted within the gay male community. I’ve learned that people treat you differently, depending on how you are dressed. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that people see you through their own perceptions, and that I see others through my own perceptions.  49  Chapter 4: Results This study was a qualitative investigation of how gay identities relate to gay men’s food choice processes. Interviews were conducted with 13 gay men from the Vancouver area. As noted in Table 1, below, there was variety of age, ethnicity, occupation, relationship status and income. Table 1 - Characteristics of Participants  Characteristic  n  Age 20 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50- 59  4 6 2 1  White/Caucasian First Nations Asian South Asian  9 2 1 1  Single Partnered, not co-habiting Common-law or Married  5 2 6  Health Professional Academic Professional Artist Engineering Student Unemployed  2 3 2 1 4 1  Low Middle Affluent Declined to answer  4 7 1 1  Ethnicity  Relationship Status  Occupation  Income  50  I asked participants to choose a pseudonym and each did so. Those pseudonyms are listed here, in the order in which I interviewed the men: VanDoc, Bobby, Zeb, Kyle, A Cute Native (ACN), James, Mark, Epilip, William Wiles (WW), Josh, Lager, Tucker and Jason Butch (JB). When I asked the participants to identify any Gay Identity, only 5 did so. Bobby told me that he was a “Slut (tongue-in-cheek)” while ACN told me he was “Just Happy – A Lover of Life.” Lager noted that he was a “Suburbanite.” Both Kyle and Mark identified as Bears, with Kyle being explicit that he was a Cub. Kyle further identified as a drag performer, while Mark had a further identity as a Motorcyclist. Other participants indicated that they had no specific gay identity in such ways as leaving a blank in that section of the demographics form or by indicating with an empty set symbol (Ø) or a horizontal bar/long dash (―). I questioned participants about the foods they eat in a day and then probed to find out why they chose those particular foods. I also asked if and how the men felt that their gay identity influenced the foods they chose. In our conversations, one over-riding theme emerged: the participants had been freed from traditional gender roles surrounding and imbedded in food and food work. The participants talked choosing foods within a discourse of body image, including such behaviours as dieting to achieve a societally-constructed ideal body. They spoke of food and gender, eating foods that have been feminized, like salads, vegetables & sweets and were critical of the hegemony of consuming masculinized foods such as meats. They had strategies for balancing the appeal of sensual qualities (or hedonic appeal) of foods with their concerns for choosing foods that support and enhance good health.  51  The men talked about food work and the investment of more food preparation time when preparing foods for those they care about and, conversely, not investing much time when preparing foods only for one’s self. Lastly, they talked of using food as performative of gay identity: the choice, proficiency, skilled preparation, presentation and sharing of foods that would identify them as part of gay culture. 4.1. Body Weight and Body Image Many of the participants talked about eating patterns that incorporated practices of restriction and avoidance. These discussions centred on associations between eating and body weight and, in turn, with achieving a socially-constructed ideal body. All of the participants talked about this as an influence of gay culture, with most of this discussion occurring when I asked – “How does gay culture influence gay men’s food choices?” After this question, the men spoke of the body that is celebrated as ideal by both gay media and advertising and the mainstream media when they portray gay men. Several went on to complain of the absence of images that resonated with them. ACN was particularly eloquent about this when he explained: You don’t see a Native person with HIV on TV. You don’t see that. You don’t see a person, like an older person who is overweight, things like that, on TV. You don’t see a lesbian on TV who is an alcoholic and knows how to have fun. You don’t see a drug addicted gay person on TV who is gay. It’s just like, I don’t know, they all look good. They all look really good, so it’s just a dream world, so that’s why I just don’t like watching those shows. I noticed that while most of the participants acknowledged the pressures gay men face to conform to a specific body type, them often absented themselves from  52  the group feeling that pressure. They would do this by speaking of the larger group, or of the culture. James said: I don’t really see them separately in my mind, like the culture of gay men and the popular culture geared towards gay men. Like thinking even mostly of my friends and stuff, most of the gay friends that I have are of a certain body type and have a certain guiding food choice kind of strategy that they use. Like a lot of them eat quite healthy I think. I think perhaps that that is because they’re wanting to maintain the body type that they have. Yet almost all of the men commented at one point or another about limiting or avoiding high calorie foods in order not to gain weight. Food decisions such as restricting foods or avoiding them is one of the things participants talked about most. This talk was often informal, though – brief acknowledgements that foods might impact body size. For example, Bobby talked about friends who chose foods very carefully, noting that “I just try not to get too fat of a stomach. That’s the only criteria on that I follow.” Similarly, when I asked ACN why he might want to lose weight, he replied, “I don’t know. I just have to. I want to. I want to fit into some jeans. (laughs) So I’m on a crash diet until the weekend.” Every participant made comments of this nature at some point in our conversation: “Love handles”, “getting close to 40”, “hard to lose those ten pounds”, “Fat days”, “Put on weight very easily”, and many similar comments. That people and, in particular gay men, limit or avoid foods in order to control body size was taken for granted: participants appeared to operate with this assumption during their interviews, assuming that I knew this discourse and hence there was no need to explain it further. Eating sweet foods was particularly associated with weight gain and, in turn, guilt: “But recently I have been eliminating it because I gained a bit of weight. I’ve 53  been eliminating desserts, keeping on chocolate, although I haven’t had chocolate in the house for a week.” said Epilip. When I asked about his favourite food, Kyle said “I really like sweet stuff so working with pastries is a bad thing because I eat a lot of pastries.” James, the only participant who was actively dieting to lose weight, outlined a strategy to eat sweet foods in moderate “healthy” amounts: James “I think it’s like a three or four berry kind of mixture of jam. (pause) And it’s fairly - fairly healthy. Like I think the calories in it are like 30 or 40 for a tablespoon. Gerry  “Mm-hm. And what do you like about that jam?”  James “Well, it’s nice and sweet so it’s . . . (pause). Yeah, it’s kind of nice to have something sweet in the morning and at the same time I know that it’s healthy. It’s not like a doughnut’s sweet, yeah” The choice of sweet foods and the associated guilt over such choices may also be part of feminine hegemony. The impact of such foods on body weight and the construction that they are women’s foods may contribute to the self-reproach felt by these participants. There were examples of contesting the social construction of an “ideal” body, though. JB characterized dieting as “an irrational, silly thing” while Kyle made a very specific point about acceptance: “I’ve never really thought about it because I don’t really care if I lose weight. I don’t really care if I gain weight, and I’m kind of happy with who I am and where I am in my life. And I figure that if I was a “cub”… that lost weight, then there would be other people that would be attracted to me, that I would still be Kyle, presenting myself still as whoever I am with my same worlds and my same ethics, and it’s just a different body. And to me that doesn’t really make any difference. It’s never been about the body with me about anyone and about myself.” Bobby talked about rejecting the dominant ideal on the basis of functionality: “I’ve noticed that some guys do eat carefully to stay thin but then they don’t have enough energy to lead an active lifestyle, and you also find 54  out if you’re oh, you know, hiking or biking with them that they’re a little too lean. They don’t have any stamina so they’ve got the look but there’s no value in it. There’s no intrinsic value to it.” So there were participants who were actively resisting the culturally-framed body ideal. These participants sometimes spoke within the discourse (“too fat of a stomach”, “working with pastries is a bad thing”), yet were able to actively contest it. Participants all note the pressure felt by gay men to conform to an idealized body, yet they absent themselves from this larger group of pressured men, even though they often speak from within the discourse of food monitoring and restriction. As participants in this discourse, most of the men appear to be participating in the hegemony, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Some of the participants were able to express resistance to the discourse, prompted by a variety of motivators: the perceived irrationality of the discourse, functionality of the body and self-acceptance. 4.2. Food Choice 4.2.1. Food Choice and Gender Foods are gendered in our society and contesting or conforming to such ideals can be indicators of identity. When asked about masculinity and food, Mark replied: I have seen at some of the bear barbecues and bear potlucks, where people will come in and they’ll apologize for making food that they think is too fem, you know, where they’ll say things like, “Oh yeah. I was feeling really girlie so, you know, I whipped up some wa wa wa,” whatever it is. And so I definitely have seen that in action. I think that’s why there’s always a barbecue too, because it’s, you know, such a male identifying, you know, way of cooking.  55  This seemed somewhat representative of the way some of the men spoke about stereotypically masculine foods: That one could eat them, but with the recognition that it might be part of a veneer of masculinity or might even be ironic. Participants all acknowledged the gendered nature of food and cooking, like Kyle, when he said “A lot of times you hear stories about like women who always choose salads when they go out for meals because, you know, it’s light and it’s less fattening.” Or Epilip when he commented that “that’s kind of talking about stereotypes, of, you know, the man eating lots of meat, blah, blah, blah.” Other comments were made about cooking over an open flame or about the femininity of dieting. Participants were clearly aware of the gendered nature of food, but said they paid little attention to these gender constructions in making choices. Nonetheless, the food choices they did describe reflected some divergence from and conformity with dominant constructions of gender and food. Salads are a typical “women’s food” that participants spoke of eating frequently. All of the participants spoke of eating them and many of them talked about eating them daily. Josh preferred salad to other vegetables: “And it’s actually easier to make a salad the Costco way than it is to make a cooked vegetable so why bother, right? I prefer salad so that’s what we do, and salads can get pretty tasty so, you know, it just doesn’t make sense to cook a vegetable.” Bobby commented that many of his gay friends eat a lot of vegetables: “They’ll have 15 vegetables every day, literally. They’ll have this huge selection and they chop it all up and cook it or put it in a salad or something like this.” He was commenting that they made these choices in pursuit of “fitness.”  56  More than half of the participants told me that they didn’t eat “much meat.” Bobby, Zeb, Kyle, James, Mark, Epilip and Josh all spoke of this. Tucker and JB were vegetarians. Epilip spoke specifically of the gendered nature of meat consumption when he said: “[C]ompare my father and [William Wiles], for example. They are both meat eaters, you know. I’m much more like my mother and my sister. We are much more of a kind of vegetables and fruits eaters, pastries and all that kind of thing.” Josh explained his shift from beef to chicken as follows: Oh, because I’m off of beef right now. Not ground beef apparently and not for any reason other than I just don’t like the taste of steak that much these days and I used to like it, so whatever. I don’t know. I guess I go in phases. It doesn’t really matter… I just feel I’ve eaten enough of it. You know what I mean? Like I’ve eaten enough that I just don’t want it. Like I just don’t enjoy the taste. Like I like chicken now and I don’t like the steak, like I can eat it but it doesn’t turn my crank so I just don’t. The interesting thing about participants’ discussions of poultry was the sheer incidence of mentioning chicken as a food. Every participant mentioned chicken far more than any other meat. Skin-on and skin-off, it was used roasted, fried, in soups and stews, marinated, and boiled. Various participants talked about using every part of the chicken (except the organs): Breast, thigh, drumsticks, wings and whole chickens. Even the participants who identified as vegetarian spoke of cooking and eating chicken: Tucker prepared chicken when his co-workers were coming over and JB spoke of chicken as “lighter fare” that gay men might choose more often. The men weren’t avoiding meat, but were eating less meat and a greater variety of meats, including pork and lamb. Beef appeared to be the food, which participants were cutting back on most often.  57  Meats are also foods about which participants told me of a lot of aversions. There were a variety of reasons cited, from simple dislike to not being comfortable handling meat. Bobby and Zeb avoided organ meats and several participants avoided game or exotic meats (“Won’t eat rabbit. Won’t eat deer. Won’t eat moose. Won’t eat bear.” – Kyle; “No emu, no ostrich, no snake, no turtle.” - Bobby). Sausages were another food avoided by participants who cited distaste for the way sausages were made. Epilip used sausages as condiments, to flavour other foods, but only because he knows the people who made the sausages: “And then I will buy the sausages because there’s the Polish girls, you know… they always like to see us when we go there to buy sausages on weekends. That’s what I buy there.” The exception to this was Lager. When I asked him about foods he avoided, he answered: “I can’t really think of anything. I mean even all the organ meats and all the, you know, bizarre stuff, I think I’ve just been brought up with such a diverse diet that - no, I don’t think so.” Participants recognized certain foods and ways of eating as typically masculine. When I asked about masculinity and food, Mark talked about barbecuing “I definitely have seen that in action. I think that’s why there’s always a barbecue too, because it’s, you know, such a male identifying, you know, way of cooking.” However, the men also recognized that this gendering of foods was a construction, and would either go along with it, or discard it as the moment suggested. JB talked about discarding the gendering of foods: Like I’m not interested in the differences or going, “Oh well, I can’t eat that because it’s, whatever.” I guess the more manlier foods, which, you know, like the big steak and potatoes or whatever, those kinds of meals, aren’t something I eat anyways because of being vegetarian 58  but I guess there are salads and, “Oh, I should eat light today so I’ll only have a salad.” I don’t know. It doesn’t really attract me that much, you know. And I guess like the whole idea of dieting, I’m not really all that interested in it, and that’s I guess would be seen more as a girly thing but it’s not so much because it’s a girly thing but it’s because it’s a - I don’t know. I think it’s an irrational, silly thing. His partner, Tucker, wondered if being gay had an impact on the questioning of gendering of foods “I hear that men should be eating a lot more meat than woman should be. So I hear that but I don’t necessarily take those into consideration as much, and I wonder if that’s because I’m in a gay relationship but I don’t know.” Meats (i.e., red meats: beef, pork, lamb and veal) are the foods most often associated with masculine consumption, and this was noted by some of the participants. WW spoke of the masculinity of meat and balancing his family’s demand for masculinity with his own feelings of being queer: [T]o put that in context, that the boys normally get married around 19 to 23, and so I was supposed to be in a rite of passage, to get married soon, and I was cooking and painting. So that was something very disruptive, that the family, the whole family, didn’t know how to handle that masculinity. So they tried a few things, like they forced me to kill with a club a lamb as a way to show that I could do it or something, that my masculinity was there. And I said, “Okay, I can kill it. I can club a lamb and I still can paint and I still can cook.” (laughs) And it was like that, and it was like they were - everyone was trying to force me to do things that - for the more signs of masculinity. One common time for meat consumption was lunch. Lager described Josh making sandwiches for their lunches: So we’re looking at about a tablespoon of mayonnaise with the two slices of bread, usually lots and lots of romaine lettuce because we buy romaine lettuce from Costco, and then I would say no more than an ounce and a half of whatever sliced meats, but they wouldn’t be cold cuts or anything of that sort. It’s usually either, you know, roasted chicken that we’ve made ourselves or beef or pork that we’ve cooked ourselves  59  This description of meats paired with lettuce or tomatoes in sandwiches was typical for all of the omnivorous participants. Reports of consuming meats were often coupled with a description of the meat as being lean. Hence, when these men chose meat, they also ensured that the choice so that it would support their healthy eating. In examining food choice and the influences of gender upon these participants, it was clear that they knew of the pervasive discourses in society: lighter foods for women, meat for men. Participants acknowledged these discourses, but appeared to discard their edicts. They reported choosing less meat, enjoying vegetables and salads, choosing lean meats and chicken more often. As noted above, participants acknowledge and even discard some aspects of the hegemony (such as gendered foods) more easily than other parts (such as dieting to achieve an ideal body.) 4.2.2. Food Choice, Sensory Appeal and Health Gay men value sensuality, but the general populace values taste as well. Food choice is an ongoing balance of taste with health concerns. Participants prioritized the sensual appeal of foods, but also worked to choose foods that would meet both their desire for hedonic appeal and the goal of choosing foods to support or enhance health. These, while not exclusive of one another, did occasionally clash and in these situations, sensual appeal was usually the dominant motivator of choice. Well, I think in terms of taste, I’m eating food which I know is good for me (laughs), and then at the same time they give me a great amount of pleasure. I think that’s where the two mesh. They’re both good and give me pleasure. So it’s like that’s a pretty good balance I would say. – Epilip  60  Epilip sums up the balance that these participants have repeatedly mentioned: Trying to maintain sensually appealing foods that will also meet their objective of choosing healthy foods. James acknowledged the complexity of this. At one point, he noted that he chose creamy low-calorie salad dressings because “They seem tastier, like they have more of a presence in the salad than the oil-based ones do,” yet at another point he said, “most of the time the foods that I eat that are healthy are really different from the foods that I like that aren’t healthy.” Participants spoke often of the sensual appeal of foods, mentioning not only the tastes of foods, but also visual appeal, including the presentation, texture and smell. Hearing and sound were the only sensual aspects that were not mentioned. All of the participants spoke about the pleasures of food. Josh was very succinct about eating food for its pleasure: “It tastes good. It feels good to eat it.” Others described specific examples of how foods gave them pleasure, such as the crunchiness of salad greens and the feel of an Italian cheese melting in one’s mouth. WW talked about the total experience of food and eating: “It’s the process of tasting it. It’s the process of involving and the smelling and seeing and textures. The whole process awarded to me. So when I’m eating, it’s just like it’s just another step of the process.” Both Lager and Epilip expressed a desire to have an increased sensitivity to taste, coupled with the ability to differentiate tastes better. Given a choice, they try to maximize the hedonistic qualities of foods: When Lager and I were talking about whole-wheat pasta, he was able to clearly differentiate between taste and texture and told me:  61  Lager: Well, you know what? I think I’ve eaten whole-wheat products for so long now that if I were to eat anything that is not wholewheat, even pasta, right, it would taste weird to me. It tastes - for example, I had the pasta today at lunch. It just didn’t taste right because there was not enough of a texture, right? I eat bran muffins because – Gerry:  So did it not taste right or did it not feel right?  Lager: Oh, you know what? For lunch today, lunch today, it was it didn’t taste right, yeah. We’re just so used to eating whole-wheat, whole grain products that yeah. It’s gotten to the point where it just doesn’t taste right anymore, yeah.  And Zeb commented, “I guess I choose fruit for the same reason. You know, I choose it because it’s going to do something in my mouth.” Participants expressed interest in getting a physical response from the foods they choose. 4.2.2.1. Strategies for Achieving Sensual Appeal Choosing high quality foods was the first strategy participants used to ensure they would be able to prepare and eat foods that would provide an appropriate level of sensual appeal. When I asked VanDoc about why his family thought he was picky, he replied “I think overall most, most gay men after a certain age also tend to get pickier and pickier in terms of the quality as well as with time, the health stuff with it. So I think that’s why I’m probably pickier than they [his family] are.” Epilip talked about the relationship of quality and the sensual appeal of a pure taste, using chicken as an example: I’m into a certain kind of purity in food… I realized that I didn’t want to eat regular chicken anymore, I said, “Okay. I’m going to buy much more expensive chicken, the free-range, organic whatever, when they look good, but I’m going to eat that instead of having more of the other chicken.”…So when I’ve had that and I’ve paid a higher price for those ingredients, I don’t want to put too much spices with those. I just want 62  to eat them, you know, as pure and clean as possible. Just maybe fry it in olive oil and a bit of garlic or something like that, you know, something very, very simple. Quality of foods was something that these participants learned about over time, and then used as a strategy to ensure that the foods they prepared and ate would provide input to most of their senses. Choosing fruit was another strategy for achieving sensual appeal. Fruit were foods that participants characterized as meeting their desire for both flavourful foods and healthy ones. Everyone ate it, often with lunch meals or as snacks that they could carry with them. ACN had this to say when I asked him why he chose to eat fruit in the morning: “I love it. I love the taste of it. It’s sweet and everything and it’s healthy. They’re healthy so I just love eating that.” Epilip echoed this almost exactly when he said: “I love the taste and I love - and there’s no added sugar with it. Natural sugar in the fruits just makes me happy.” Choosing higher fat foods was a third way that the men sought to achieve their standard for sensual appeal. Foods where higher fat content was seen as contributed to increased flavour were foods that were characterized as being chosen for their sensual appeal over health concerns. Several participants seemed to value fat for its ability to carry flavour in foods, but would balance this appeal with health by incorporating such fat when they were preparing foods for guests. Lager commented about choosing foods for celebrations: Oh, then it’s like no holds barred. Let’s go wild. I think when I’m cooking for larger groups or larger parties I’m still very conscious about sort of the fat content of the foods that I prepare, but I think I’m a little more relaxed about making sure the food is full of flavour and I like people to eat good food.  63  Bobby also told of his recipe for Mexican Chicken Lasagna and made a side comment that “I’m sure the chicken fat isn’t that healthy for you but heck, that’s where all the flavour is in the meal.” Zeb and WW also talked about fat and flavour and were the only participants to comment on choosing foods specifically for their fat content. Zeb commented that he enjoys yogurt and cheese, but not milk. He chooses high fat yogurts, often as desserts. WW described choosing sirloin and ribeye steaks for their taste and texture: “Because they have a bit of fat around that can protect the meat from burning, and then it gives the taste, a very good taste on the meat, so it gets very moist and tender.” Mark chose higher fat milk and sour cream. He explained he did this because the artificial nature of dairy products that have had their fat content reduced “creeps me out.” Participants spoke of freshness frequently. In particular, foods’ freshness was a key evaluator for participants with regard to the expected sensual qualities of foods. Participants cited a variety of factors that contributed to their evaluations of freshness. However, they used the term “fresh” in two different ways. They use “fresh” as an adjective meaning “unprocessed” when describing the kinds of foods they choose (e.g., produce, meat, & fish.) For example, Zeb said, “It’s always fresh meat. It’s seldom, seldom frozen. In fact I can’t recall the last time I bought a piece of frozen meat,” and when I asked Epilip to describe his lunch sandwiches, he replied “like today I had a piece of fresh fish for example in a sandwich”. The men also used ‘fresh’ to describe foods that were not stale, that had been recently obtained. Bobby associated high quality fresh goods (fruits and vegetable, meats and cheeses) with stores that had high turnover of product. Hence, he  64  shopped at smaller, neighbourhood stores: “I don’t know how fast food moves out of Safeway or Superstore, I mean the meats and fish and cheese and that kind of thing. But there’s Santa Barbara, for instance, the food moves very, very quickly there, so I think that’s a good indication. Although both of these meanings of ‘fresh’ appeared frequently in participants’ descriptions of and rationales for their food choices, freshness was only occasionally named as a specific, desirable quality of a food. When I asked what advice he would give another gay man about food, JB said: “I would tell them to eat their greens and make sure they get lots of veggies and fruit and go for a variety, that fresh food is better than packaged food.” Quality was a frequently mentioned strategy for choosing foods that would satisfy participants’ appetites for sensual appeal, but this strategy was often balanced against cost. Josh responded to my question on food advice he’d give another gay man: “Have you heard of all these fabulous things that Costco has because they’re really easy and really inexpensive and make great food, or what I think is great food, and great healthy food and lots of portions, lots of it, and cheap?” Although sensual appeal was a priority for participants, cost was a consideration in making their choices. Most of the men placed quality in precedence over cost, but many had developed strategies for obtaining goods that were acceptable in quality for what they felt to be the lowest cost. Josh spoke of it most often, and all but one participant spoke of cost at one point or another. VanDoc was exceptional in that he never made any comment on the cost of foods. Bobby spoke of this: “But it’s probably about a third of the price to shop on Commercial than it is to  65  shop at Safeway for that kind of stuff” (referring to a Vancouver area reputed for low prices for high quality and imported goods). Bobby was only comfortable shopping in bulk-purchase stores for canned or dry goods, whereas Josh & Lager tended to do most of their shopping in these stores. They perceived the quality of all foods as acceptable in such stores. They often noted that they were able to obtain healthy foods at these stores, too. Lager explained the strategy he and Josh have developed for getting the same foods at a cheaper price: “It’s cheap, but cheap has to come with quality… I know I can get whole-wheat pasta, the same brand name, cheap at Wal-Mart. So there you go. That’s where I would buy my whole-wheat pasta, right?” JB talked about eating at home (with his partner, with guests) and then going out for drinks, so that one got healthier, less expensive food and would also have leftovers to eat the next day. Participants also expressed willingness to pay more for higher quality foods, even those participants for whom cost was a key factor in food choices. Epilip told me he didn’t mind spending more money on higher quality produce, but would spend that higher amount less often or buy produce in season so the quality was higher. Even participants who did not have much money for food spoke of strategies to maximize quality within their budgets. Mark and James, both students, told me that making food for one’s self was less costly than buying foods that were made for you. Mark said: “Partly, you know, the economics of being a student and also partly, like I said, as a matter of choice. This is kind of like, “Yeah, I can grab something but I can probably just make something at home that’s going to be a bit better for me.” Both James and Kyle  66  talked about sometimes sacrificing the quality of foods so they could reduce costs. However, James tried to cook foods at home, while Kyle would often eat out, but change where he ate depending on the economics of the moment. Tucker and Zeb recalled shopping to limit costs during times of economic constraint but noted that cost was less critical to them when they had more money. Tucker explained: So I would sacrifice cost over healthy nutrition. But that’s also because I can afford to do that. There have been times when I haven’t been able to afford to do that and I have bought things that weren’t organic or that weren’t whatever, and I felt bad about doing that. (laughs) It’s like, “Okay, next time I have to buy organic food.” And that depends on what my budget has been like for that month, yeah. The following exchange between WW and myself is a representative of the use of these strategies and evaluators to achieve a required level of sensual appeal. WW sought free food and obtained the high quality, which he can then enhance to maximize its hedonic appeal. He also notes his management of the balance between sensual appeal and health. As such, he has provided an excellent summary of the strategies participants spoke of using to maximize the sensual appeal of the foods they eat: Gerry  “And where do you pick the blackberries?”  WW “In a place somewhere. I don’t know exactly where it is but [Epilip] has a friend that takes us and they have plenty of them, and I don’t know exactly where it is.” Gerry  “Is it a commercial place or a wild place?”  WW  “No, it’s a wild place, yeah. It’s in the wild.”  Gerry  “And why do you choose wild over the –“  WW “Oh, because we can choose exactly the ripest ones. (laughs) The big ones and they’re very tasty. Yeah, and when you buy 67  them in frozen ones, it comes very - you don’t have the same quality. It’s not as sweet as the ones you can choose.” Gerry  “And what kind of yogurt do you put in?”  WW “Oh, it varies. I prefer - I’m not a big yogurt fan and [Epilip] is, so he likes them very low in acid, yogurt, so he gets like 1%, one something. But when I buy it’d be more like 3.5, so it’s creamier. I know it’s richer but because I don’t eat much I don’t think it’s a big deal, so I use that. So we always have two quarts of yogurt, sometimes three in the fridge. They’re different kinds of - but I prefer the stirred and creamy.” 4.2.2.2. Health The men talked about choosing foods to support their goal of good health in several ways. Some spoke of choosing foods to fit with their self-identity and others spoke of choosing foods in keeping with health recommendations or in keeping with a condition they were living with. They characterized home cooking as producing healthier foods, as well. When I asked him about how he feels about his body and how that affects his food choices, Josh explained: I do try to choose healthier food both because - well mostly because I believe it will make me feel better, that it will be better for me and therefore I will feel better and live longer and all these things. As it turns out, many of those things that also have that effect, i.e., are perceived to be good for you, often to me taste better at the same time. Josh iterates the importance of sensual appeal, even when choosing healthy foods. Participants talked about choosing healthy foods and spoke of ameliorating the impact of health conditions on their life. Yet participants rarely talked about their rationales for choosing these healthy foods beyond the fact that they perceived them as ‘healthy’. Some of the participants choose foods that fit with their pictures of themselves. I asked participants to describe what kind of eater they were in order to 68  find out how they would self-categorize. James was the only participant who described himself as a “Healthy Eater.” He was dieting, and noted, “…for the last two and a half months I’ve been a really healthy eater…” Mark spoke about living up to his own image of himself. When we were talking about public eating versus private eating, and then again when we were talking about identity, he talked about having had secretly indulged in less healthy foods in the past. Those indulgences didn’t align with the way he liked to see himself: “Having a secret indulgence to me doesn’t really speak to the type of person that I want to be, you know? So I tend to try and just kind of play things on the level and just be myself” The other participants talked about healthy eating, but did not specifically talk about themselves as healthy eaters. When I asked other participants what kind of eater they would like to be, the answers centred on being more conscious, regular and being more controlled. Lager and Tucker replied that they were careful and methodical eaters. When I asked what “careful” meant, Lager replied: “careful, methodical, in the sense of I’m eating more for health at times than I am for enjoyment.” This demonstrated an implicit association between these types of behaviours and health, which was rarely explicitly stated. Participants who were living with specific health conditions sometimes talked about making food choices in reference to those conditions. VanDoc, Mark and Epilip were concerned about cholesterol and heart health, while Josh was living with diabetes. They each talked about the foods they chose or avoided to help ameliorate the disease affecting them. Josh said “How the diabetes affects me is the timing of the food and the foods I choose, but I only need to avoid sugars. That includes fruit.  69  That includes desserts, what you would think of or we would think of as desserts.” An exception to this was ACN, who was living with HIV. He never spoke specifically about foods and his HIV, but when I asked him about how he feels about food, he replied giving a much more global context: “It helps me live longer, so I love it”. None of these participants endowed their food choices with curative associations, but rather as looked at them as part of their overall way of living. Participants also talked about health and food-related behaviours by characterizing a variety of foods and ways of eating as being chosen to prevent the development of adverse health conditions, in line with current public health or popular recommendations: reducing fats in foods, choosing higher fibre, eating more vegetables and reducing sugar & salt. Home prepared, or partially home-prepared foods were also characterized as being healthier choices. Most frequently, fat was cited as something people made efforts to reduce. James often used terms describing foods as low fat in our conversation. Epilip was very succinct when I asked what makes food good for you: “And then the fat, you know, like how fat is not good.” Almost all participants noted at some point in our conversations that they consciously reduced fat in their diets. They spoke of choosing such foods as lower fat dairy products, reduced fat mayonnaise, lean meats, choosing meat alternates and reduced fat baked goods. JB was the sole participant to not speak of the fat content of his foods at some point in our conversation. Participants typically characterized home cooked foods as healthier than foods prepared outside the home, or those prepared by industry or restaurants.  70  When I asked VanDoc about eating when he’s away from home, he replied: “It’s hard to do because you can’t cook for yourself and I try to be as healthy as possible but it also depends on how busy I am and how convenient it is too. And also if you don’t have a kitchen to cook in it’s difficult.” Participants also felt able to balance health concerns with their food preparation skills. They spoke of using partially preprepared foods (such as bagged salad mixes, or deboned, skinless chicken) to make meals quickly and yet still feel that they were getting foods that were acceptable for healthiness and quality. Bobby, who assessed his food preparations skills as moderate, was still able to obtain foods that he felt were healthy: Well, there’s two shelves of perfectly good spaghetti sauces. No MSG, very little salt, everything’s in there. Even my friends with families are using that stuff for their kids. You just open a can. It’s got all the spices in it… I think this prepared food is okay. It does seem nutritious to me, so I don’t think I’m shortchanging myself on health there. 4.3 Food Work I mean there’s this hegemonic notion of masculinity that sort of binds all of us together but I know that for myself, like, I’m butch as long as I don’t talk and as long as I don’t walk. And I suspect that that is part and parcel of most gay men’s sense of self, because at the dinner table we know that, you know, straight boys aren’t going to pass around their fork, saying, you know, “Try this…” whatever it is. They’re just not going to do that, so I mean that veneer, I think, is tied very closely in a sense of irony, and that I think comes from living a life where you have to pay so much attention to that veneer in order to pass from one point to the next. And it’s interesting that at least in my experience food is a place where that veneer cracks. So said Zeb as he and I discussed gay men’s ironic treatment of masculinity, in part through food-related behaviours. These behaviours fascinated me as participants described them. They were varied and took differing forms, but most participants described something that they did with food or thought about food that was not typical behaviour for men. This may have been in the past but usually 71  continued into the present. It was sometimes related to how the men thought or felt about food, but may also have been about the actual foods they chose, or the manner in which those foods were prepared. Some of the participants also reported cross-gendered behaviour in their youth: specifically cooking and doing food work. Food work may be an example of cross-gendered acts, which these men were clearly comfortable performing in contestation to negative feedback. Another thematic commentary was that of spending time on foods and food preparations when one was preparing foods for others – investing more care and choosing foods based on one’s knowledge of the foods enjoyed by those others when preparing foods for them. 4.3.1. Feminine Scripts Participants were more likely to cite spending time on preparation when they were preparing foods for others rather than solely for themselves. When single participants were preparing foods for others, they talked about putting more time into preparation. When I asked Bobby about the criteria he uses to choose food to bring home, he replied: “One is convenience of preparation and that’s related to being single. If there were somebody else here I would be more inclined to cook more fresh food because it’s more worthwhile I think. It’s more satisfying to cook somebody real food and serve it and enjoy it.” Those participants in relationships spoke more about preparing foods from scratch or from partially prepared food for themselves and their partners, particularly when they were together. Josh talked about this: he noted that: …we’ll generally make a salad together because we both arrive home generally at the same time or at least start thinking about dinner at 72  generally the same time. And because we’ve only got half an hour preparation time anyway it’s, you know, it’s something that we can do together and we seem to have a good time bickering with each other as we do that. It’s, I suspect if you study it, it would be a social event to do that. WW & Epilip and Tucker & JB all echoed this same idea. The key thing that all of these participants mentioned valuing was the opportunity to spend time with their partner. Zeb summed this up when he said: I find that if [my partner] and I are having dinner, I want to be eating with him at the same time, and I get a little - my nose out of joint if we don’t eat at the same time. It doesn’t have to be for long, even if it’s watching the TV, but I like the fact that we can sort of prepare a little bit of food together and watch TV and sort of not even talk about the day, just sort of spend a few seconds together. Even food selection was considered when making foods for others. The partnered men would choose some foods based on what they knew of their partner’s preferences. Lager talked of eating meat as the central entrée of each evening meal, in consideration of what he perceived as his husband’s appetite for meats. (Interestingly, Josh spoke of eating less meat at the evening meal in recognition of Lager’s preferences.) Zeb commented that he was actually eating slightly more meat than previously because his partner ate a lot of meat. Epilip echoed this: “But with my partner, who needs to eat meat every day, then that’s partly why my diet changed, because now it seems like there is meat every day in the house.” Several participants talked about learning to cook at an early age, and that this cooking was assessed as outside of appropriately gendered roles by their families. Most of these participants had received negative feedback for cooking in their youth. WW talked about how a boy cooking, in particular being a good cook, was viewed in Brazil, then and now: 73  It’s becoming more and more fashionable, but not in the ‘70’s or a boy of 13-years-old, cooking, baking. I started cooking when I was 13. When 15 I was cooking to outside. I was catering for 100 people. I was catering, (laughs) but that was totally unusual. It was like totally unusual, and now - it was considered a queer thing. Lager had a similar experience, but framed by a different culture: Because of the whole sort of “save face” type mentality in the Asian culture, anything that might be perceived as negative always is projected as some positive or almost - I want to use the word, you know - heroic activity. So I used to remember comments from my parents to their friends, like, “Oh yeah, that [Lager], he’s such a good cook,” rather than saying, “[Lager] likes to be in the kitchen and likes to cook.” You know: “Oh, he will make a great chef” you know, those types of comments…I think if it’s to answer the question about, you know, was it perceived as a boy thing to do, I would believe that that was something they perceived but that was never talked about. Gerry:  So they perceived it as what?  Lager: Oh, that’s a girl’s duty. Yeah, literally, that’s what a woman is supposed to do, not what a man is supposed to do, yeah. Mark, the self-described “food-disinterested” participant, was raised in a family where he was not allowed to do any cooking: Growing up in our household, it was very, very like conservative, traditional, wacky stuff. My stepdad was very much like the patriarch. What he said went and so on and so forth, and so my stepbrother and I were not allowed to cook. We were not allowed to cook. We were not allowed to do laundry. You know, we had boy chores… but they did not involve anything to do with kitchen stuff.  Overall, cooking was viewed as women’s work in many of the families. This was iterated in some of the participants’ descriptions of how they learned to cook, which was primarily from female relatives: mothers, grandmothers and aunts. When I asked about cooking at home, Zeb replied that; “Oh, that was sort of with my mom. You know, she’d be in the kitchen and I’d be between her legs so, you know, it was  74  mostly making desserts.” And WW talked about learning to cook from his mother and grandmother. Some participants learned from women employed in the family household. Kyle told me that: When I lived at home, again I said my mom died when I was young, and we had a lot of nannies because I was seven, my dad was working still so I used to spend a lot of time with the female nannies in cooking and doing that kind of stuff, kind of taking care of the household if my brothers were around. They’d do the lawns and the outside work and I’d always be inside doing the cleaning and the cooking. Epilip’s experiences were different from other participants, though. He grew up in France and told me that both of his parents were good cooks. When I suggested that cooking might not be as gendered a behaviour in Europe as it appears to be in North America, he agreed: “That’s very true.” 4.3.2. Masculine Scripts Many of the single and coupled participants spoke of taking less time for preparation when they were going to eat alone or when preparing foods for their own consumption. Some had developed strategies for maximizing time invested in food prep so as to minimize future time invested. All of the men talked about time being a pressure and that pressure impacting the foods they prepared. When we were talking about identity, Josh told me a story that relates his masculine identity and the deferral of food preparation: That actually, if you take that story, what I told you was a busy little boy. I’m busy. I’m doing stuff. I’m fixing stuff. I’m breaking stuff. I’m building things. I’m creating. I’m doing all these things. I don’t have time for food. So that tells you what I mean when I’m cooking on my own is I’m busy. I was upstairs on the computer. I was going to play with motors and stuff like that but I got e-mails, and then I was going to go play in the garage and I was going to do all these things but I wasn’t going to deal with food. 75  Josh tells of being more interested in doing other things beside food preparation, of placing it in a lower priority than the other “fun” things he was interested in doing. This was indicative of the effect that time pressure had on participants: when foods prepared are solely for one’s self, time in food preparation is minimized. For the most part, this pressure was one of not having enough time to cook for themselves. Time impacted on food choices when people were hungry or needed to eat quickly. Some participants mentioned they would choose foods based on how quickly they could eat it. When we were talking about balancing time and cooking, ACN said: I just want to go out and have fun and if I’m busy doing something like rush to go out, I would have something quick to eat and then I would go. I’d just make something like a sandwich, and then I would go, and then eat at the place or have a slice of pizza somewhere along the way. Several of the other participants said very similar things. It’s when participants were in a hurry that they were most likely to eat foods that were made for them by others: fast food and restaurant foods. Mark explained this simply as, “Well, I ate a lot of fast food because again, you can just drive through or walk in and eat and leave.” Foods prepared outside the home, chosen “on the run” or in haste, were characterized as foods chosen without thought or consideration. Kyle talked about choosing foods on the go, in response to being hungry: If I’m around somewhere that I can get something more than just like snacky foods, I try to go for like subs from Subway or something that’s quick. McDonald’s sometimes, 99 cent pizza, stuff like that, that’s quick to get, easy to obtain, and just kind of, you know, get rid of it. (laughs) Several participants talked about cooking large batches of food so that they didn’t need to cook as often as a way to save time. Some participants mentioned the 76  use of labour saving appliances like rice cookers. One note of interest is that barbecuing was most often discussed as a quick and efficient way of cooking meat, rather than overlaying it with elements of masculinity. Zeb spoke for all of the barbecuers when he said: “We’ve got a barbecue out back so in the summer there’s a lot of really quickly prepared stuff on our grill.” The number of people who would be eating the food also informed this balance of preparation effort and time. Single participants were more like to talk about a “grab and eat” strategy than were the partnered participants. Kyle explained it this way: I think it’s because a lot of my food choices come from being busy and so when I’m busy I grab things that are quick to eat or I make things that are quick to eat. I don’t often take time for myself to create a nice, beautiful, appealing looking meal, just because I have other things I could be doing. All of the partnered participants acknowledged that their food preparation was different when their partner was not with them. Josh referred to Lager being both a better cook and more efficient. Talking about preparing food on his own, he said, “I would say that prep time on my meal when I’m on my own is about ten minutes.” This is indicative of a common pattern: participants chose easily prepared foods or purchased already prepared foods when they would be eating on their own. A lack of company demoted food preparation to a minimal concern. 4.3.3. Gay men’s Scripts The men participating in the study would also talk about food in a way that demonstrated that they were knowledgeable, not just about food itself, but also about manners of eating, and food culture. Lager idealized Burl Mudder, a character 77  in a Clive Cussler novel: “Well, when I described Burl Mudder it wasn’t really just the food. It’s the style in which he eats the food. That’s… The knowledge of the food, the pleasure derived from knowing the food, the taste of the food, right? And even the uniqueness of the food.” Zeb said something similar when he asked himself: What else does food impact for me? I guess it also enacts a kind of sophistication, a just sort of worldliness. What else? I guess that’s flawed in some fashion or another but, you know, I mean knowing what good crème brulee and bad crème brulee is. I mean it’s a bit hoity-toity but it suggests, you know, a kind of broader vision of the world, to know that, you know, when you put that piece of beef in your mouth it has ramifications beyond the table to know that - so the way you eat and what you eat suggests things, you know, about the world around you and how you consume those foods. Being gay was associated by the participants with being more knowledgeable about food. When I asked about cooking and food expertise, WW questioned the construction of gay men’s cooking expertise, noting: I think that one of the pillars of the gay culture is, like one of the spaces in which gay culture created their identity, is around those elements of refinements, the connoisseurship. So it involves their understanding of culinary, of paintings, of art, and that’s a space of speciality…There is this huge pretence in gay culture that we know about it. We know about that, and because we know about that we can even train the straight guys to learn about it because we know about it. But in reality I don’t think the gay culture, they have more understanding and knowledge of those things than the heterosexuals. But that is one of the ways that we created to establish our own identity as gay. So whether by happenstance, or by design, most of the men in this study believe that they have a lot of knowledge about food, both intellectually and performatively, and are confident in their food preparation skills. Half of the participants rated themselves as being very good cooks. Of the rest, most of them described themselves as being sufficiently good, but inexpert. Josh was the only participant who did very little cooking, as his husband, Lager, did almost all of the 78  cooking. Yet even Josh participated in the food work in the home, as he made the lunchtime sandwiches for himself and Lager each day. Tucker & JB both spoke of Tucker being more efficient. Tucker said, “Yeah, he sometimes helps with the chopping and cutting but I usually end up taking over because he’s usually slow in doing that” while JB referred to the same thing when he said, “Because he cooks more often, he’s a quicker cutter of vegetables. He, you know, does things faster. Whereas I’m more of a pondering sort. I take my time.” I also found that participants’ assessment of their own skills was sometimes misleading. Mark described his skills as “not terribly competent”, and yet when giving me his chili recipes he described caramelizing the onions, explained how to do so and provided clear rationale for why one would caramelize instead of simply frying. James, on the other hand felt that he was a good cook and said that he liked to try new recipes, and yet said “I guess if it deals with an ingredient I’ve never used before or sometimes even heard of before, that makes it a tougher recipe. I don’t always know how to prepare it, yeah.” Self-assessed skill impacted the food choices of the men mostly through the types of foods they purchased: foods that needed to be prepared from scratch, versus partly or fully prepared foods: Lager assessed that he was a good cook, and said: I think I can pretty well make a meal out of very little. I think just because of experience or, you know, past jobs. I could pretty well take very little and try to turn it into something, you know, relatively delicious. So in terms of comfort level with cooking, it’s not - I feel like I do it in my sleep, right? ACN, who assessed his own skill as “Beginners” still confidently described his cooking as follows: 79  I can read instructions really well. (laughs) No, but I like doing it. I like cooking. If it’s something I’m really good at I’ll do it over and over again, so I just keep doing it and a lot of people like it so I guess I’m pretty good when it comes down to it. Skill also impacted the men’s choice of recipes: James said, “My comfort level’s pretty high. I like to be challenged and so like I’ll make things that I have never made before and try out new recipes.” A discussion of note emerged from almost all of the participants. They spoke of an expectation of greater care and attention to presentation when serving food to other gay men. This ideal of “fancy” food was referred to frequently by some participants and was implicitly referred to by others. There seems a consensus on this ideal amongst these participants. Proficiency in food preparation was a seeming matter of pride and expectation. Zeb spoke to me of his pride in presenting new or special foods to guests: “I want to be able to introduce them to something new or something good or - I mean part of me likes to know that I’m for instance, you know, “Yeah, dinner at your place is always 50 courses of fabulous,” and I like that.” (emphasis added) Throughout our conversations the participants described that being attentive to detail and being better at cooking were indicative of their gayness. They described this attentiveness to detail and higher proficiency as being particularly obvious when they or other gay men were presenting food for others, at parties or potlucks. James explained it thus: “[T]he perceptions of gay food is that they’re perhaps food where the presentation of them is given much more attention to” Mark, the food “disinterested” participant, still felt pressure when going to Bear potlucks: 80  Gerry: “So you’re off at some big bear potluck and some big old bear food queen has popped some extravaganza down, so how does that make you feel?” Mark: “Yeah. I guess it’s a bit intimidating, right, because it’s like, “Wow, I could never do this,” and yet at the same time - I mean I’m so comfortable saying that to whoever that is (laughs). You know, it’s like, wow, you know. I mean it’s a sincere compliment but, you know, this is WAY beyond me. But I guess at the same time there’s still like this part of me that’s like, “Wow. I guess I wished that I was better at this,” you know. I mean, you know, my big extravagant thing is, you know, I’ll put together some shish kebobs, you know. It’s like, “Look, they’re pretty. They’ve got lots of colours.” Bobby felt similarly, but had more confidence that his presentation and cooking skills would be found appealing: Yeah, if it’s a potluck and there’s going to be a lot of people I don’t know I want to do something really good and take that food…” Gerry  “And why is that?”  Bobby “Oh, I get to show off… Well, the thing that I cook, which is teriyaki chicken and I’ll give you the recipe for it later, it disappears before anybody else’s food does and people comment on that. They say, “Was that yours? You notice there’s none left?” I like that. Participants were very clear that they feel that they should “rise to the occasion” and present food that would impress. Lager explained: Oh, not to sound snooty, but if I’m entertaining then I want to make sure there is oh, substance, a respect, sometimes even just a touch of elegance, class, to what I present, right? Whether it be the menu item select or the, you know, the type of wines that accompany the meal, the number of courses we choose to serve… The type of table setting I put together. As WW pointed out, these men have seized the opportunity to claim food expertise as part of their gay identity. Further to this, they take pride in introducing new foods or presenting food in showy ways to their friends.  81  4.4. Summary These results show how gay identity does have an impact on foods chosen, prepared and served by gay men. They appear to make choices informed by differing ideals than the assumed heterosexual men studied in other research. Sensual appeal is a priority for these participants, but they work to balance it with a desire to choose healthy foods, whether to meet their own ideas about themselves, to ameliorate a condition they were living with or to meet current public health guidance. They achieve their expected level of hedonic appeal by selecting what they have learned to be high quality foods, fruits and sometimes, higher fat foods. To obtain high quality goods, they seek fresh foods. And the participants also presented ideas about how their gay identities impacted their food choices and preparation. Some of them dieted, some cooked from an early age, and most of them questioned the masculine ideals around food. They suggested ways that their being gay was demonstrated by foods, their knowledge of foods, and in the extra care given to the presentation of foods. As Zeb noted: “I mean you certainly do articulate sexual identity through food products, which is what I was sort of saying when I said, ‘You know, if there was a gay ethnic food, I don’t know what it would be but it seems I’m eating it,’ you know?”  82  Chapter 5: Discussion This study explored the food choice processes of gay men and how they were impacted by their gay identity. I found that gay identity affected the men’s food choices by freeing them to question the prevailing North American hegemony of masculinity and to choose to act both within and outside of that hegemony. They did this in a number of ways: participants sometimes restricted their food intake in pursuit of an idealized and sexually objectified body; they were comfortable consuming foods not typically construed as “masculine” in the North American Hegemony; they spoke of nurturing others with food and of making choices informed by the desires and needs of others; they talked about early life experiences preparing food and cooking and thus transgressing the expected masculine childhood behaviours of the cultures they lived in. When participants spoke of eating foods more often associated with the hegemony, it was with the recognition that they were doing so in acknowledgement (and sometimes dispute) of that hegemony. They talked of spending less time in cooking and preparation when they knew that they would be the only person consuming the food they were making. The men in this study often talked about their knowledge and expertise in working with food. They took particular care in the preparation and presentation of foods they would be serving to others, particularly other gay men. 5.1. Body Weight and Body Image Food restriction or avoidance and dieting are behaviours more commonly associated with hegemonic femininity. The findings in this study appear to echo previous findings about gay men: some participants were restricting food intake, and 83  almost all expressed some dissatisfaction with their bodies at some point during our conversation. Similar to Wardle’s (2004) findings that the differences between men’s eating and women’s eating was attributable to dieting and health beliefs, participants in this study were attentive to health, but also attentive to eating less to achieve an idealized body. Like women dieters, they restricted or avoided foods. (Conner, et al., 2004; Jacobs, et al., 2004; Martins, et al., 2007). Like Chapman’s (1999) participants they tended to characterize this as healthy eating (i.e., less restrictive). In casual speech, though, they often referred to a change in body size or weight loss being a motivator for their eating, along with an expectation of positive health outcomes. Some participants were able to express resistance to eating to achieve and idealized body. Kyle spoke about self acceptance, similar to that noted by Wright (2001) and Hennen (2005). Like Osberg, et al (2008), JB cited the irrationality of dieting. Bobby concurred with the men in Saltonstall’s study (1993) that a healthy body is functional, noting that food restriction to achieve a societally-framed body ideal is likely to impede that functionality, consistent with Fogelholm (1994). As noted in the literature review, the men in this study may be in the avante garde of men in general when considering the sexual objectification of their bodies. Body dissatisfaction in women draws their attention and so supports the status quo of men and power, and so the question arises of who will be the beneficiary of the hegemonic attitude that imbues men with body dissatisfaction?  84  5.2 Food Choice 5.2.1. Food Choice and Gender Participants felt free to critique some aspects of the gender hegemony, yet were quite attentive to other parts. As above, they conformed to the tenets of the hegemony when it came to attaining a “good” body, but felt freer to critique the gendering of food. In North America and Europe foods perceived as masculine may be hierarchically superior to foods perceived as feminine (Lupton, 1996; O'Dougherty Jensen & Holm, 1999). By freeing these participants to question cultural standards, their gay life experiences and resultant identity have contributed to the men acknowledging and departing from the hegemony as it sanctions various foods as appropriate to masculine eating. Participants in this study did not cite the barriers of Gough’s and Conner’s (2006) heterosexual men in choosing foods. They didn’t talk about an intrusive health lobby, media or government as motivating the resistive reclaiming of food choices. Some of the participants, in fact, cited government recommendations such as Canada’s Food Guide as part of their food choice processes. They did not complain about “healthy” foods being boring, nor that such foods did not satiate them. However, Gough and Conner’s participants did cite similar concerns and diet modifications to participants in this study who were modifying their diets in accordance with medical advice. In other words, both were willing to modify their diets to ameliorate a diagnosed health condition. The participants in this study spoke often freely and without concern of eating foods that are more commonly associated with women’s consumption: lower-fat 85  foods, higher-fibre foods, more vegetables and salads and more fruit. Participants talked frequently of eating chicken and spoke about reducing their overall intake of red meats. (Wardle, et al., 2004; Westenhoefer, 2005). Participants recognized that meat eating was associated with a hegemony and variously reported that they ate less meat or the same amount of meat as ever. In some cases, such as that of WW, they were recognizing the hegemony and actively discarding it. JB and Tucker had chosen to eschew meat, and, again, Tucker was actively discarding the meat/masculinity hegemony, and asking of himself if it (the discarding) was due to being in a gay relationship. These men did not exhibit the meat-eating/grilling behaviours that Sobal (2005) mentions as gender accounts. They have recognized alternate masculinities and so did not speak of a need to choose gendered foods to negotiate gender. One gender construct that was of particular interest to me was that of the reports of the men’s cooking in their youth. Several of the participants in my study noted cooking as a gender non-conforming behaviour that they performed in childhood and noted negative feedback they received for demonstrating such behaviour. This is borne out by a variety of studies that cite gender non-conforming, or sex-typed behaviour amongst children who will grow up to be gay (Bailey, et al., 1995; Green, 1987; Rieger, et al., 2008; Rottnek, 1999; Udry & Chantala, 2006). Kane (2006) talks specifically about domestic skills and nurturance as crossgendered behaviours that fathers may react against. WW talked about having to deal with being challenged about his gender atypical behaviour, as outlined by D'Augelli, Omoto, & Kurtzman (2006). Some of the participants spoke of cooking as  86  a skill that their parents reacted negatively to, and, as previously noted, almost all of the participants talked critically about their bodies at one point or another, in keeping with Strong, et al.’s (2000) findings that gender nonconformity was associated with body dissatisfaction. Hence, I believe that cooking and nurturing behaviours may serve as examples of cross-gendered behaviours, not because all boys who cook will grow up to be gay, but rather that cooking is so strongly identified as women’s work that boys who continue to perform and demonstrate enjoyment of this activity in the face of adverse feedback are contesting gender barriers. Gender role freedom is something identified by Riggle, et al.’s (2008) participants as one of several positive aspects of being gay. This study appears to reinforce that gay identity contributes to a sense of freedom from some societally constructed gender roles. 5.2.2 Food Choice, Sensory Appeal and Health In this study, the participants talked extensively about sensation seeking, and yet it was not associated with a problematized behaviour. They worked to balance their pleasure seeking with a desire for healthy eating and did not necessarily denote the two as exclusive of one another. Coveney & Bunton (2003) suggest that the shunning of pleasure is problematic and contributes to reproducing power and social inequities. Niva’s (2007) description of choosing between health or pleasure amongst healthy Finns is particularly apt as indicative of that voiced by the participants in this study. As outsiders to the hegemony, they are freer to examine the minimization of pleasure and make choices about incorporating it or minimizing it in their daily lives and on celebratory occasions. 87  Looking at some of the characteristics of this study’s participants: most have self-categorized as good cooks and also note a variety of food appreciation skills (like Bobby and his friends reviewing similar dishes in a variety of restaurants.) This places them as similar to Wansink’s and Westgren’s (2003) participants in their study of consumers of soy foods. Given that they see themselves as consumers motivated by hedonics and that we already have noted that gay men live more in the now (and that this, in turn, is associated with sensation seeking behaviour) (Brodowsky, et al., 2008), it is plausible to suggest that these participants may be making a variety of their food choices founded in their desire for optimal taste, texture and appearances of foods. People generally, and the men in this study, are trying to balance sensual appeal of foods with their desire to eat healthy foods (Eertmans, et al., 2005; Pollard, et al., 1998; Saltonstall, 1993; Zandstra, et al., 2001). Hence, I return to the explanation suggested by Connors et al about managing values in personal food systems (Connors, Bisogni, Sobal, & Devine, 2001): People prioritize their values, and yet shift these priorities depending on the situation. Lager provided an example of this when he discussed choosing higher fat foods for those times when he had company coming and other participants related similar shifts in priorities when entertaining. Furst, et al. (1996) and Scheibehenne, et al. (2007) proposed people having similar management techniques for food choice. Furst, et al.’s group suggested that after balancing values, people develop strategies to allow them to make choices. Scheibehenne’s group suggested that heuristics, simplifying  88  strategies to facilitate choices, are used to manage choices expeditiously and are equally predictive of choice outcomes. 5.3. Food Work 5.3.1. Feminine Scripts The participants in this study, when they discussed cooking for others often spoke of careful consideration of the others’ tastes and preferences. This is similar to DeVault’s (1991) and Lupton’s (1996) note of women’s behaviours: Women defer to their husband preferences. DeVault and Lupton were writing, though, about heterosexual couples. Carrington’s (1999) finding of the obscuring of nurturance work to protect masculinities differs from my findings. The difference between Carrington’s study and mine may have been in recruitment and method. The recruitment for my study noted that it was a food related study, and hence may have attracted people who were more interested in food. Carrington’s larger study simply sought lesbian and gay couples. Carrington’s findings were in contrast with the coupled participants in my study, as they all talked about their food work differently. WW and Epilip, who were both expert, had to divide labour in a different way: according to schedules and time availability. Lager & Josh and Tucker and JB employed the strategies of the more expert cook to doing the work. Both of these couples used food preparation time as time to spend together, with the less expert partner helping out in ways that did not necessarily demand food expertise nor skill. Ristovski-Slijepsovic (2003) found much the same pattern: the more expert food preparer did a majority of the food preparation. Kemmer (1999) also notes that men who enjoyed cooking took on the role of food preparation. In contrast to the findings 89  of Harnack, et al. (1998) as they looked at two gendered couples, household income, age and full time employment had no bearing on the food work amongst my participants. Participants had to balance time and nurturing of others/taking the desires of others into account and found strategies for this, similar to the participants in the study of Bava, et al. (2008). Those participants managed time by using partly prepared food items that they could then further prepare for a meal, similar to the strategies reports by Bobby, Josh & Lager and Mark. Blake, et al. (2008), found scripts were followed in the prep of the evening meal. Participants talked about similar ideals but scripts varied from their findings, due in part to the same sex relationship. Blake, et al.’s “Egalitarian Script” was most similar to that expressed by couples in this study, with the dominant food preparer’s role most similar to their “husband” role: choosing food, preparing it, the couple spending time together, eating the food and the non-preparer cleaning up. Cleanup was often a shared responsibility. When looking at food expenditures, Kroshus (2008) found that married people spent less on commercially prepared foods than did men living alone (whether never married or separated/divorced). These findings were similar for my study, where partnered participants talked about eating at home and reducing food costs more than single participants, or non-cohabiting partnered participants. Amongst the participants in my study this again reflected the nurturing/deferring role of the food preparers. For example, in the case of Josh and Lager, the food preparer (Lager) was deferring to the clearly expressed desire of the non-foodpreparer/helper (Josh) to minimize food costs.  90  Lastly, when comparing the findings in Deutsch’s (2005) study with those of my study there was an interesting parallel: Deutsch found, that in the protected environment of the firehall, his participants followed feminine scripts of nurture and deferral to others in “the family.” Again, this is similar to the findings in my own study – The gay men I spoke with carefully considered the others they would be serving food to, and deferred to the likes, dislikes and various food requirements of those others. 5.3.2. Masculine Scripts When eating alone, participants in this study did not characterize themselves as spending much time in food preparation. The results of Kroshus (2008), Jabs and Devine (2006), Marquis & Manceau (2007), and Sellaeg and Chapman (2008) offer parallels and interesting contrasts to the participants in this study. Kroshus, when looking at family food expenditures, found that men consistently spent more on commercially prepared food than did women, with never-married men spending the most. This suggested that men may be less expert at food preparation than women. Participants in this study were clearly comfortable cooking, sometimes even better cooks than they would subjectively assess. This can be contrasted with Marquis & Manceau’s findings that Montreal men were not proficient at cooking. And yet, like the men in Vancouver and Montreal, these participants spend little time preparing food when they would be the sole person eating that food. Like the time scarcity experienced by Jabs’ and Devine’s participants, it may have been a matter of wanting to do other things. Josh talked about this when talking of cooking for himself when Lager was not there. I did not measure the time spent on food preparation, 91  and yet participants like Mark and Zeb note that they try to do more cooking when alone, as the food will then provide better nutrition and sensual appeal. They echo some of the concerns raised by Sellaeg and Chapman about no one to nurture and hence spending less time and effort in preparation. Given Brodowsky, et al.’s (2008) findings that gay men perceive time differently, the participants in this study may be spending a bit more time on cooking than they perceive. Lastly, it is not clear if spending little time in food preparation for one’s self is characteristic of men, or if it is characteristic of people who are eating alone. As we, as a society become less skilled at cooking, more people may spend less time preparing food, both men and women. 5.3.3. Gay men’s Scripts Participants in this study often spoke of preparing foods to a level of “cuisine” with both excellent taste and presentation, particularly amongst gay men when entertaining. This builds on WW’s comments that cooking expertise is a cynosure, which gay men have claimed for themselves – placing themselves at the centre of a knowledge circle, as experts whom others may consult. This use of food as performative of one’s being gay would be a unique aspect of the participants’ foodrelated behaviours. The assumedly heterosexual men in Roos’ and Wandel’s (2005) study noted a disinterest in gourmet cooking and food preparation. The men in Deutsch’s Fire hall (2005) did express interest in cooking gourmet food (and cooked the food). Although they did this, they also enacted increased use of obscenity and sexually oriented mockery while they were cooking, in order to maintain their masculinity while performing this feminine task. The cooking skills were also 92  concealed from their families, so that their wives, in particular, would not realize the extent of their cooking skills, nor the types of food they were eating while at work. Almost all of the gay men in this study were interested in food, cooking and food preparation. They did not make any attempt to conceal this, nor did they appear to associate it with femininity or use compensatory behaviours to iterate their masculinity. They may have been using excellence in food-related skill and food presentation as part of their iteration of “gay.” 5.4. Limitations A limitation in this study, as with many qualitative studies, is that the sample size may have limited the diversity of the participants. Only one participant reported affluence. There was one Chinese-Canadian and one South Asian/Fijian-Canadian and two participants with First Nations heritage identified. Hence, the sample was predominantly Caucasian. While there were both single and partnered participants, none of the participants had children. Recruitment for a study of this nature may be of particularly interest to people already interested in food (“foodies”). As such, they may be more likely to respond to recruitment efforts noting a food or nutrition topic. They may view food differently and answer differently than people less interested in food. I included a discrepant case in my recruitment (Mark) who self-identified as food-disinterested, yet most other participants professed to being interested in food. This research was done in Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver has a dynamic and varied multiethnic population that includes significant numbers of Chinese, South Asian, Filipino, Korean, South-East Asian, Iranian/Afghan, Japanese 93  and Latin American people. These people make up a second wave of immigrants, after the first wave of western and eastern Europeans: Portuguese, Greek, French, German, Polish, and Russian. Each of these cultural, ethnic, religious and national groups has food resources in the city, including grocers, small businesses and restaurants that cater to them as consumers. Hence, the food milieu of Vancouver is unparalleled in North America for the breadth of foods available for tasting, eating and cooking. Participants in this study may thus have a different food experience than participants in other cities might, and this would likely impact results if the study were replicated elsewhere. A gay man who has worked as a dietitian and as a cook conducted this research. Although I attempted to obscure my professional background, some participants knew of it and may have answered questions according to socially popular nutrition discourses. They may also have obscured some eating practices that they construed as unhealthy or indulgent.  94  Chapter 6: Conclusions and Implications The food choice process of the gay men who participated in this study must be considered in the wider context of the society in which they live. The men understand the current discourse about the body and the social construction of an “ideal” body, and yet most of them continue to attend to this discourse. They balance the hedonics of foods (the look, taste, texture and smells of food) with their desire to choose healthy foods. This balance is at least partly motivated by the desire to maintain slimness, and their perceptions of the healthiness of foods considers the caloric and fat values that may work against the maintenance of slimness. Nonetheless, these participants have developed strategies that allow them to maintain a considerable level of sensual response from foods within the constraints of balancing sensation with healthy foods. The men in this study have discarded many of the gendered roles with which society surround foods. They use food to nurture others; they are comfortable and sometimes highly skilled at preparing foods, and often take pride in offering new foods and elegantly presented foods to company. When they are alone, these men take less time to prepare foods. Food preparation for only themselves has a reduced priority, and may be subordinate to other tasks. Food is hence prepared quickly or purchased to minimize the time spent in preparation. All of these aspects of the food choice process arise from the men’s identities as gays. Living through the coming out process has alerted them to the idea that there are some social constructs that may not be worthy of attention. This allows them to discard some ideas about masculinity and femininity and simply act as they 95  choose to do: participating in food work, enjoying food preparation and the sensuality of food itself. 6.1. Implications for Practice Participants in this study provided information about their food choice processes that have several implications for health practitioners. Gay men may differ from non-gay men in their food choices and food practices and so providers must consider that they may have gay men as part of their practices. It is important for providers to enquire as to whether or not their client may be gay, as most gay people note that they have not revealed their gay identities as they have not been asked. By asking about people’s partners using non-gendered language, sexual orientation may be asked about in a supportive manner. It is also important for health care practitioners to avoid assumptions. Increasingly, men are cooking, whether gay or non-gay. All practitioners should ask about who does food work in any home. Men may be more willing to enact nurturing behaviours if their cooking is valued. Gay men may already be nurturing with food, and hence it will be important to involve the partner who is doing the most food work in any changes to food choices. Single gay men may be more attentive to food work when they are cooking for people aside from themselves. Men may be more concerned about body image than previously proposed. Gay men may be more concerned about their bodies, and potentially about food and healthiness. They may also be actively resisting dominant body ideals. Again, it is important for health care practitioners to avoid assumptions and to enquire about gay men’s beliefs and feelings regarding their bodies. 96  6.2. Implications for Research This study found similar themes amongst the men interviewed, but also individual differences. Food choices contributed to the expression of varying identities. More information about gay men’s food choices could be found using a larger and more diverse sample. Recruitment that simply notes the study is seeking gay men and does not note that the study is food-related may contribute to a more diverse sample. Further study of the themes identified in this study, using other research methods, would elicit more information about the food choices of gay men. Other qualitative methods, such as case studies or phenomenology could be used to gain more information about the themes of gendered scripts in food work or complex preparation and presentation being performative of “Gay.” Quantitative methods could assess involvement on food work and quantify how gender identifications and hegemony-conforming behaviour amongst gay men impact foods prepared and eaten. The degree of body dissatisfaction was markedly varied amongst participants in this study. Assessing how such factors as age, life stage, coming-out stage and sub-culture impact body satisfaction amongst gay men (and, in turn, food choice) would aid in both body image/eating pathology therapy and nutrition education. Longitudinal studies of gay men and body satisfaction would contribute to further understandings in this field.  97  References Abrams, D. (1996). Social identity, self as structure and self as process. In W. P. Robinson (Ed.), Social groups and identities : developing the legacy of Henri Tajfel (pp. xii, 386). Oxford ; Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann. Adam, B. D. (2000). Love and sex in constructing identity among men who have sex with men. International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies, 5(4), 325-338. Aikman, S. N., Min, K. E., & Graham, D. (2006). Food attitudes, eating behavior, and the information underlying food attitudes. Appetite, 47(1), 111-114. Avilau-Saavedra, G. (2009). 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Anyone who selfidentifies as a gay man is invited to participate. The study will consist of a 1 – 2 hour tape-recorded interview, where you will be asked to share your beliefs, attitudes, philosophies and practices about how you choose foods and how your choices relate to your personal identity. As thanks for participating, you will receive a gift basket of foods valued at approximately $25.00  Please contact Gerry Kasten by phone at (604) 253-0400 or by e-mail at gerryk@interchange.ubc.ca Food, Nutrition and Health, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Rm. 322, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4 Co-investigator: Dr. Gwen Chapman, Associate Professor, Food, Nutrition & Health: (604) 822-6874 This research is part of the thesis research for a Master of Science in Human Nutrition degree and is funded, in part, by a UBC Humanities and Social Sciences Small Research Grant.  Recruitment Flyer: “Food Choice Amongst Gay Men”  108  Appendix B – Consent Form THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  Food, Nutrition and Health Faculty of Agricultural Sciences 2205 East Mall Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4 Phone: (604) 822-6874 Fax: (604) 822-5143 Email: gec@interchange.ubc.ca  Consent Form “Food Choices Amongst Gay Men” Principal Investigators: Dr. Gwen Chapman, Associate Professor, Food, Nutrition & Health (604) 822-6874. Co-Investigator(s): Gerry Kasten, M.Sc. Student, Food, Nutrition and Health: (604) 253-0400. This research is part of the thesis research for a Master of Science in Human Nutrition degree and is funded, in part, by a UBC Humanities and Social Sciences Small Research Grant. Purpose: The purpose of this research is to develop theory about how gay men choose foods. You have been invited to participate because you self-identify as male and as gay. Study Procedures: You are welcome to ask any questions, at any time, regarding the research procedures. The study will consist of two parts:  •  •  You will be asked to participate in an individual interview with the co-investigator (Gerry Kasten). This interview will take place in your residence. During the interview, you will be asked to share your beliefs, attitudes, philosophies and practices about how you choose foods. You can refuse to answer any question that you do not wish to answer. The interview will last approximately 2 hours and will be tape-recorded. You will be asked to submit three recipes to the co-investigator (Gerry Kasten): a “dayto-day” recipe, a “celebration” recipe and a dessert recipe.  109  In total, it is expected that your participation will take approximately three hours of your time. There are no identifiable risks occurring from participating in this project. Confidentiality: Anything that you say during the interview will remain confidential, and you will be identified by a pseudonym of your own choosing in any transcripts, summaries or reports of this interview or of the study as a whole. Dr. Chapman and Gerry Kasten will have access to their own notes and to the audiotapes. Transcriber(s) who have signed an agreement of confidentiality will receive the audiotapes without any identifying information. Audio excerpts of the recordings may be included in an electronic version of the Master’s degree thesis arising from this research and in presentations of the research. There is a risk that you might be identified by anyone recognizing your voice. If you wish, you may ask to preview what is being written about you, and may request the editing or clarification of any information or the removal of any information that you do not wish to have shared, up until such time as a final draft report of this project is submitted for grading. Any computer files pertaining to this interview will be stored on password protected computers accessible only to members of the research team, and any tapes and print copies of documents pertaining to this interview will be stored in a locked premises. Remuneration/Compensation: You will receive a gift basket of foods (approximate value: $25.00). If you have any specific requests regarding eating patterns (i.e., vegetarianism) or food allergies or sensitivities, these can be accommodated. Contact for information about the study: You are welcome to ask any questions, at any time, regarding the research procedures. If you have any questions or desire further information with respect to this study, you may contact Dr. Gwen Chapman (604.822.6874) or her associate, Gerry Kasten (604.253.0400). Contact for information about the rights of research subjects: If you have any concerns about your treatment or rights as a research subject, you may contact the Research Subject Information Line in the UBC Office of Research Services at 604-822-8598. Consent: Your signing this consent form does not indicate that you waive any of your legal rights. Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you may refuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time. You may refuse to answer any question that you do not wish to answer and that you can request that any portion of the transcript containing your statements be edited or deleted if you wish. You do not need to give any reasons or explanations for doing so.  110  Your signature below indicates that you have received a copy of this consent form for your own records. Your signature below indicates that you consent to participate in this study.  ____________________________________________________ Subject Signature Date  ____________________________________________________ Signature of a Witness Date  Your signature below indicates that you do/do not (please circle) give permission for the information you are providing to be used in a future study conducted or supervised by the investigator(s) focused on a similar or related topic.  ____________________________________________________ Subject Signature Date  ____________________________________________________ Signature of a Witness Date  111  Appendix C – Interview Guide Food Choice Amongst Gay Men Interview Guide Set-up: Encourage participant to express their own view, and make note of the importance of their opinion: no right or wrong viewpoints. Note that diversity of opinion is valuable. Remind participants that they have the right to refuse to answer any question they are uncomfortable with, without any need to provide an explanation. Remind participants of the three recipes requested from them. At the beginning of the interview, I’ll be asking people to fill out the demographics form, and I usually try a couple of times to mention that it’s their answers that I’m interested in – That they’re the experts on what they eat. I also usually try to engage in a bit of small talk at this time, just as a way of letting them hear my voice, and get used to me talking. I explain how I’ll be making notes during the interview, particularly when they’re talking about food. Most of these notes are things that I want to come back to, and I’m writing them down so that I don’t forget to come back to them. Interview Questions: Opening / ice breaker question (~5 minutes): • Tell me about how you feel about food… I’ve found that this question is easier to answer than my original icebreaker about “What’s your favourite food?” Transition Questions (10 – 15 minutes): • Describe what kind of eater you are. • How would people close to you describe the kind of eater you are? (Your mother, your partner, your friends…) These are direct questions, but they seem to provide some interesting things to follow up on later. After we’ve talked about food, it’s interesting to return to these answers, and ask people how the foods they eat reflect what they’ve said about the type of eater they are. I try to avoid challenging them on anything, though, so as to avoid any kind of adversarial relationship.  112  Key Questions (~1 hour): • Tell me about your comfort level with cooking and preparing food. This is to get people to talk about their cooking skills, and the level of cooking they feel able to do – Are they good cooks, are they bad cooks, or non-cooks? It also provides some frame of reference for later on, and gives me a feel about whether they’re a “Foodie” or not. Also, do others do most of their cooking for them? How do they feel about the people who cook for them and the food that is cooked? • Describe how you choose the foods you eat from day to day… For this question, I’d do more of a traditional dietetic interview – What’s the first time you eat during the day? What do you eat at that time? I make notes during this question, and just let the daily descriptions of food flow. Once we’ve gone through the whole day, I start to reflect back to the foods, and to explore the food choices – Why that food? Does the food reflect your description of yourself as an eater? How did the food come to be in the fridge/cupboard? How does the food/meal make you feel? I do this for a number of the main foods in each meal, and then ask some general questions about the other foods in a meal to find out if they have any special meanings – Perhaps favourite condiments, or some such. Thus I go through each meal during the day. I’d also spend more time on dinner (or whatever is the main meal of the day), as it’s the meal that may vary the most day-to-day. • How do your food choices differ for celebrations or special events? This is an exploration of special eating – parties, special events, pride (I may ask specific questions around Pride Events, because I think there’s a lot of changed eating around that time). There may be other special events, too – Circuit party eating behaviour, Club parties, Work related events... • What are some of the foods you choose not to eat? Why do you not eat them? This question is to explore the reasons people have for not choosing particular foods – It will allow me to explore things like allergies, dislikes, food frameworks (like, perhaps, organic food choices) or food avoidance (like not choosing high fat foods). It may also provide answers to come back to and explore – maybe some foods that are not chosen most of the time, but are occasionally binged on (or other restrained eating behaviours). I think that this question may be as much or more illuminating than the “Foods Chosen” question. • How does the way you eat in private differ from the way you eat in public? This is to explore the “performative nature” of eating – Choosing one kind of food in public, or when others are watching you eat, and another kind of food, or different foods when you’re all alone, and no-one is watching. Possibly more info on restraint/binge behaviours. Another thing that I think might come out here is different levels of cooking – More developed or refined cooking and service when people are around, and “eat out of the pot” when one is alone. The might also be some non113  food, but food-related behaviours here – service of food, where people eat: what room, at home or away from home and things like that. I am likely to prompt for some of these answers, particular around place of eating. • Have the foods you eat changed over time or have they stayed the same? This question is to find out about a couple of things – Partly to find out about historical eating: eating while growing up, and as a younger adult. Has eating evolved as people have changed their location (i.e., coming to Vancouver). And also to find out more about food currently chosen. Have people learned more about cooking as they’ve aged? How did they learn more? Have age-related changes to body or health impacted the foods they eat? • How do you choose a restaurant when you go out to eat? To find out a couple of things – Partly to find out more about what foods people choose: multi-ethnic, or “plain white bread”? But also to find out about the restaurant choosing process itself: Are partners involved? What are the social dynamics of eating away from home? Who will be going to the restaurant? Just them, or a group? How will that affect the choices? • Can you describe the spectrum of masculinity as acted out by gay men? This was originally intended to find out how participants feels about people based on their “femme to butch” mannerisms. Do they not like femmy men? Do they really like femmy men? – BUT I’m probably going to drop this question – First off: no one has any idea of what it means! Next, in discussions with other gay men, I’ve realized that there are no positive descriptors for effeminate men. And I don’t really want to ask, “How to you feel about femme vs. butch men?” because I think that there’s an inherent prejudice in the question. So I’m not sure what to ask here, or if I need to ask it at all. I think any pro-femme or anti-femme feelings would likely come up in the answers to other questions, so it may be simpler just to drop the question. Or to probe about feelings on masculinity when it comes up. • How do you think the way gay men feel about their bodies affects the foods that they choose? • How do you think gay culture influences how men choose the foods they eat? These are, basically, asking participants straight out how they feel about these topics – In some test interviews, I’ve had a lot of success with this, and gotten some very clear, eloquent answers. • Each of us has a story in our mind about who we are, a story we act out from day to day. In it, we describe ourselves, the “me” we present to the world. – Can you tell me the story of your “me”? This question arises out of the readings of done from Dan McAdams: Asking people to tell about themselves. By asking them to tell a story, it provides the opportunity for them to distance themselves from their “Self”. The opportunity to provide a narrative 114  also frees people to tell more about themselves, and can result in more detail. This is my question to help me clarify people’s identity(ies): Are the Bears or Circuit party boys? Fat, muscled, skinny, wimp? It offers participants an opportunity to tell their own story. • How does your vision of who you are influence what you choose to eat? Again, this is a direct question, to see how people relate their food choices to their picture of themselves. By this time in the interview, they’ve had a lot of exploration of their food choices, AND a lot of exploration of the identity, or their self-story. So I want to see what they say when I ask them directly about this question. • Tell me how you think that foods can be used as part of the way we act out our stories of ourselves. For the most part, this is just a restatement of the previous question, but looking for a more action-oriented answer. This will offer the participant an opportunity to tell about specifics, and offer examples. The previous question is a more theoretical one, while this question is more about food(s) and how qualities people assign to them – Is steak a man’s meal? Do real men eat quiche? Ending questions (~10 minutes): • What kind of eater would you like to be? This reflects back to previous questions, but offers people the opportunity to tell me about an idealized self as pertaining to food. It should reflect earlier answers about “right” and “wrong” ways of eating, and also about one’s own pattern of eating. It may offer an opportunity for probes if answers are not congruent with earlier answers. It may also show an evolving of ideas thought the process of the interview, as I urge people to think about the “Why’s and wherefore’s” of their food choices. As such, it might demonstrate the “emancipatory nature” of queer theory/critical research – to stimulate thought in participants and challenge their perceptions and ideas. • Imagine another gay man has asked you for advice about how to choose foods – What advice would you give? In test interviews, I’ve always been intrigued by people’s responses to this question – It often seems to generate a further question: “Why would they ask ME about that?” Thus the answer provided is often to this second question – about why they aren’t the person to be giving advice. When I prompt for the answer to the original question, I’ve found that I get very thoughtful responses, often centering around health and nutrition. • Tell me about the recipes you given me. Where did they come from? Who makes them? Why did you pick them? This is a “segue” question, to move us to the kitchen, and the kitchen cupboards. It turns the interview into a more active one for the participant, telling me about recipes, 115  and, in response to prompts, showing me ingredients or utensils/appliances. It is also my plan here to ask about looking into cupboards – The move to the kitchen and look directly at some of the food supplies in the home (or lack thereof…). The supplies, in turn will lead to further prompts. Even refusals (i.e., “No, you can’t look in the cupboards”). Would provide some info, if people are open to answering questions about their refusal. Clarification: Use indirect, probing, follow-up and direct questions to obtain more data. Of particular interest may be:                 Do you think other people choose foods that same way or do you think they do it differently? That’s interesting, can you tell me some more about (topic)? How did (name food) come to be in your fridge/cupboard/home? How do you feel about your body? What do you like (/ not like) about your body? Tell me more about what “healthy” means to you. Tell me about your “slip-ups” or when you “cheat.” Do you ever decide not to eat (name food)? What motivated that choice? Does (name food) have a special meaning for you? Describe what masculine/butch/manly is. Can you describe what femme/femmey/girley/queeney means? Are there butch foods, or femme foods? Is cooking “Women’s Work?” How do men cook?  Conclusion: Thank the participant, and review research protocol with special attention to followups that may be necessary. Also provide the participant thank-you gift. In memoing try to note why I follow up on some points why do they interest me try to do this right away after the interview How did I as the researcher guide this interview?  116  Appendix D – Codes List Advice from Friends Aging's Impact on Food Choice Availability of New Foods Avoiding Mess Avoiding Waste Bears and Eating Big Eater Celebration Food Choice - external locus of control Choice: easily available Comfort Food Coming Out Story Confidence in Self Connection to own Body Convenience Cooking Practice not equal to Skill Cooking Skill: Highly Skilled Cooking Skill: Moderate Cooking Skill: Simple Cooking: food takes time Cost Disconnect btw Body and Spirit Dislike Food Prep Doesn't use totally pre-prepared items Easy to Prepare Foods Eating - Variety Eating slow = Enjoyment Eats away from home alot Eats food on a dish Eats one thing at a time Eats until Full Environmental impact of food production Exceptional Level of Food Prep Exploration - Able to afford new foods Exploration - Tries due to reputation Exploration: pairing familiar and unfamilar Exploration: Willing to explore/try new foods Exploration: willing to try if it looks good Familiar Foods - Like what I like Familiarity: Don't Like what I don't know Food - Societal Responsibility Food as escape Food Avoidance - Adverse Memory 117  Food Avoidance - Dislike Food Avoidance: Adverse Outcome Food Avoidance: Fear of Unknown Food away from Home - Foods not avail at home Food can make one feel better Food Demonstrates One's Class Food Disinterested Food eaten without any thought Food Eaten without enjoyment Food Hedonism Food Identifies Family Food is about being with people Food Meaning - Someone has cared about it Food Rules Future Idealization Gay Eating = Het Eating Gay focus on Societally Constructed "good Body" Gay men - Many types Gender Roles: Cooking as cross-gendered bhvr Gender Roles: Female Gender Roles: Male Good Food/Bad Food Healthy Eating - Taste over-rides H E Healthy Eating and Time compete Healthy Eating is Stablizing Healthy Eating Over-rides Cost Healthy Eating overrides pleasure Healthy Eating: Ameliorate Disease Healthy Eating: Body Image Healthy Eating:Healthy Eating Historical perspective of Homosexlty Hunger varies Ideal: Balance in Eating Identifying Family of Choice Identity - Conferred by other Identity - Critical Identity - Cub Identity - Curious/Risk Taker Identity - Drag Identity - Fun-loving Identity - Like Myself Identity - Mechanically Oriented/Methodical Identity - Multifaceted Identity - Power of Disguise/Drag Identity - Rationality Identity - Respected Person 118  Identity - Self-Controlled Identity - Self Reliant Innovation Lifetime history in Cooking Likes to analyze recipes Likes/Uses pre-prepped food Modelling new behaviours Nothing after supper Out of control Parent shames Body Performing "Gay" Phases Picky Eater Positive Food Association: Good memory Positive outcome of dieting POTENTIAL QUOTE (?) Pre-Preparing for Convience Private Eating : Public Eating not Same Private eating : Public Eating Same Pseudo-Scratch Quality drives food choice Quantity cooking - small is hard / large is easy Rebellion against Societal Body Image Regular level of food prep Relationship Effect: Partnered Relationship Effect: Single Reputation Self Acceptance Separation from Family of Origin Shopping - Don't Like Big Stores Shopping - Lots of food at home Shopping - Neighbourhood stores Shopping in a variety of stores Simple to prepare large quantities Social Aspects of eating together Spiritual Aspects of Food Texture Use of food to control Vegetables Mostly Raw  119  Appendix E – UBC Research Ethics Board Certificates  120  121  122  123  124  125  

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