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Fast Food

Bourdieu’s Perspective

Habits play a major role in the way people do things, including their choice of food. The capacity to develop and formulate practical solutions and inclusivity of people’s taste and lifestyle influence persons’ habits. The two fundamental reasons, which predetermine the choice of the majority of people to eat fast food products, are the eating environment and food preferences of individuals. Fast food is a solution in the sense that those people who work in factories or offices have limited time, meaning that little time available is maximally utilized. Working for long hours requires energy generating foods. The problem is that the working class has no time to prepare a healthful meal between shifts or during lunch break. Therefore, they choose convenience food or fast food products, which are readily available. One can consider fast food consumption as a habit because workers who need a quick meal to save time to complete their job start to choose fast food every other day when the workload is overwhelming. Soon, this economy of practices develops in such a way that even when people are not busy, they will still prefer taking fast foods consciously (Bourdieu, 1984).

Perception also plays a crucial role in the choice of a meal. Moreover, the social class limits the choice that one has. There are foods that certain social classes associate with a gender or a type of work that one does. For instance, people who have physical jobs perceive certain foods as inappropriate to them in the sense that they are digested fast, hence making people hungry soon after a meal. For that reason, such workers would classify it as the food for children or women, as it is light and healthy as opposed to heavy and energy generating meals that tradesmen need.

From the social reproduction perspective, issues, such as the kind of lifestyle people live, influence their choice of food and, in the given case, fast food. Furthermore, according to Bourdieu (1984), the socialization also plays a vital role in fast food consmption. Depending on lifestyles, people have the habit of classifying others, as well as positioning and comparing themselves with others. For instance, when people join others for a meal, the majority if not all of them choose their menu based on their peers’ choice. Consequently, whereas many people are able to change the choice of food depending on the person they are with, fast food uptake can become popular among certain groups of people, like colleagues.

As mentioned earlier, when people have a demanding job, where they have little time for lunch break, or when people live away from their families, they have no time to prepare own food. Most such individuals prefer a quick meal at nearby fast food restaurants or even dial them for a delivery. Being alone or working on shifts are significant contributors to dining at fast foods restaurants. This lifestyle makes it almost an obligation for individuals to depend on unhealthy foods.

Furthermore, people have different careers, which are unique in many ways. For example, bodybuilders are conscious about their physical appearance; thus, one would expect them to take many fatty foods and fast foods. These people form a class of their own, which can easily influence new entrants in the group, making them adapt to the group’s perception of maintaining the required body physique.

After an uptake of junk foods, weight and obesity start to become a problem for many people. To mitigate the effect of unhealthy eating, the gym becomes a part of the daily activities for some individuals. As they try to burn fat through exercising, the gym becomes a secondary habit. Therefore, they are trapped in the cycle of eating fast foods, then trying to minimize the effects by exercising. Body schema changes over time and the desire to maintain good look continues entrapping these people.

Merton’s Perspective

One can say that fast foods are popular among many people in the society based on the attitude towards life and food. People who either love or detest these foods will do so depending on the pure perception. Certain groups or classes will rally support for their position because there is support from members with similar views, needs, or interests in the first place (Merton, 1938).

The negative aspects of fast foods can be associated with increased lifestyle diseases that have rapidly increased. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes are among other lifestyle diseases that have scientifically been associated with foods. Proponents of a fast food lifestyle may try to mitigate the effects of excessive fats through exercise. However, it makes no logical sense to eat harmful foods and then to make efforts eliminating their effects. These ostensibly irrational social effects will persistently continue even when more people are diagnosed with heart diseases, high blood pressure, or obesity simply because of repeated patterns in the society.

The positive aspect of fast foods is the fact that people in offices and factories require meals evenly within their limited time. Fast food happens to favor them in their seemingly tight schedules. People’s productivity depends on the energy level in their bodies and fast foods are a quick source of that energy. Thus, the need for, interest in, and purpose of fast foods uptake play an important role in this aspect.

Functionality aspect of fast foods can collaborate with the fact that food is essential for human survival, without taking into consideration its quality. Thus, eating to enable someone work is what drives the majority of people to fast foods restaurants, even though they are quite aware of possible health effects and risks. 

In their servings, most fast foods have literally all the components that foods should have. However, the consumers have little consideration of their mode of preparation, quantities of various components, and effects. The fast food restaurants driven by competition have come up with different familiar menus, comprising the same huge amounts of calories to meet the demand of emotional social class.

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