The Weight of Womanhood: How Embodiment of Femininity Predisposes Women to Deficits in Nutrition and Mental Well-being
American culture has shaped the standard for feminine ideals for decades, their main source of oppression therein being embodiment. By indoctrinating women from birth into identifying and functioning as bodies, they effectively subdue their minds and their agency. This state of mind is dangerous for women because it promotes restrictive eating, manic dieting, and other nutritional habits that create deficiencies in the body. This is compounded by the profound connections between the gut and mental processes. Thus, the effects of socially constructed feminism on diet subsequently affect mental health, poor diet promoting mood disorders and neurotransmitter malfunctions. With chapters leaning into existing literature on the gut microbiome as it affects mental processes, major works of feminist commentaries on embodiment and social construction of gender ideals, and descriptive data analysis on food-choice motivations as collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), I conclude that all of these components intertwine to entrap women in a biological cage. Wherein, they are disproportionately disadvantaged both psychologically, socially, and nutritionally. Because of the ways these components overlap and involve each other, women stuck in an embodied sense of self face long term and debilitating consequences.