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Cafeteria Food: Institutionalized Sexism on a Larger, Financial Scale

None of us are denying that women have been fighting a patriarchal society for a long time in order to achieve equality. However, I have recently noticed a new form of sexism prevalent among Denison University’s campus that is financially affecting female Denisonians. Cafeteria Food.

            I was eating with one of my guy friends one day in one of the cafeterias when I noticed that his plate held about double the amount of food on my plate even though we had ordered the exact same meal. I thought it was odd, but shrugged it off as a mere coincidence that he would get more. But then I noticed that it kept happening. I was very interested, so my friend and I would get the same meals to see if it always happened. And sure enough, my plate size was almost always significantly less than his to the point where when we both asked for bacon for breakfast, he got four strips and I got one. It is interesting to note that after discovering my plate was always smaller, I would casually glimpse at the plate of the person in front of me to see if the pattern continued. Sure enough, every time I was behind a girl we would get the same, small sizes. But every time I was preceded by a boy, I got half the food that he did.

            This continuous pattern has prompted my friends and I to ask why would we get less than anyone else? Humans are socialized to think of women as a specific figure. This is why the campaign for celebrating various body types is important, but nonetheless most people still have a single image of what a woman “should” look like. By giving women less food, the cafeteria workers are imposing this body type on Denisonian females and although I am sure it is unintentional, they are perpetuating that women should be eating less than their male counterparts.

            When women are fed less than men, but are required to pay the same price, the food system at Denison is financially punishing female students. I will pay $7.50 for a pasta bowl where the pasta barely covers the base of my bowl and can be devoured in all of 10 bites meanwhile males at Denison will pay $7.50 for a pasta bowl that is heaping over the edges and is at least double the size of the “women’s portions.” Thus, my money as a female Denisonian is costing me the same amount as men, but I only get a fraction of the rewards and product. Women are therefore punished financially simply for being women.

            Women deserve equality in every sense of the word. When sexism like this is institutionalized and the afflicters do not even realize that they are oppressing others, women are punished in many ways. Whether it is body image problems or financial repercussions, it needs to be changed. Female Denisonians deserve to have the same amount of food as male Denisonians. It is not okay.

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