Food has Rules. Sex Doesn’t.

Oct 30, 2012Heal from the past

My friend JR Vassar highlighted a quote from Adam and Eve after the Pill by Mary Eberstadt. It struck me:

“The rise of a recognizably Kantian, morally universalizable code concerning food—beginning with the international vegetarian movement of the last century and proceeding with increasing moral fervor into our own times via macrobiotics, veganism / vegetarianism, and European codes of terroir—has paralleled exactly the waning of a universally accepted sexual code in the Western world during these same years. Who can doubt that the two trends are related? Unable or unwilling (or both) to impose rules on sex in the wake of the revolution, yet equally unwilling to dispense altogether with the moral code that has traditionally afforded large protections, modern man has apparently performed his own act of transubstantiation. He has taken longstanding morality about sex, and substituted it onto food. The all-you-can-eat buffet is now stigmatized; the sexual smorgasbord is not.”

What it means: Food has rules. Sex doesn’t.

Take note of what’s around us. All sorts of moral values about what is evil to eat and what is joyfully permissible. We are food legalists, prescribing what is correct, then judging others’ consumption based on our own pet food theories. Food has become increasingly moral.

At the same time, we’ve let go of every sexual boundary. Teens are “doing it” whether they know Jesus or not. Legalism doesn’t rule the day, by any shot. Now, we can do anything any time we please without considering the moral implications of our actions. In fact, we demand that there be no moral penalties to sleeping around. Except that there are.

I don’t have any revolutionary truth to extract from these two tendencies. But I found the observation fascinating. We’re bending toward food fascism and elevated levels of sexual promiscuity. It’s sad. And weird.

I should feel bad about eating evil wheat, but not think a moment about sexual promiscuity. Strange.

q4u What about you? Have you  noticed this trend? Is food a moral issue? Why? Why not? Why do you think the rules of sex have been discarded?