Are women rather than men the chocolate nuts? Not really. These are stereotypes that no one refutes, but are hyped by marketers and consumers.
The perception is that women reach out for salad as well as chocolate, whereas men subsist on meat and savory dishes. The general belief is that chocolate is treated as sinful, but is irresistible to women—even the thin ones.
Do women really crave for chocs? About 40% report that they do, while 15 % of men disagree. About “half of the women [in the U.S.] who crave chocolate say they do so right around menstruation,” Dr. Julia Hormes, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Albany said.
However, chocolate and PMS are not closely associated. In a study she published in Appetite in 2011, she wrote: “These biochemical, physiological hypotheses didn’t pan out.”
Grant Achatz, molecular gastronomist and winner of the James Beard Foundation’s award for best chef in the USA in 2008, denies that there is something called “masculine food” according to theguardian. “What is a masculine presentation? Is it a giant chunk of roasted meat? What makes that manly – the caveman connotation?” he says. “Dig into periods of time or age, geographical location, ethnicity and urban versus rural areas and you will find a separation in cooking familiarity and perhaps skill. But that has more to do with society’s control over gender in general than the genetic makeup of people.”
Hence, it isn’t PMS that draws women to chocolate, but promotion. “There’s a strong influence of culture,” Hormes said. Chocolate is seen only as an indulgence, not as a necessary aid for PMS.
Interestingly, it’s only in the US that menstruating women crave for chocolate, while in Spain, men love chocs as much as women do. In Egypt, it’s not chocolate by savories that pull the crowds.
It’s also not true that men require meat, though they do need more calories and protein, due to their larger size. However, just 41 percent of the 7.3 million vegetarian Americans are male, according to the Vegetarian Times. It’s considered masculine to “protect” the planet, and promote vegetarianism. Still, the trend is slow, though sure.
Still, “we use food to make judgments about people all the time,” Hormes said. With more information, it’s possible to develop a vegetarian wave, which has nothing to do with gender, but only health.
Chocolate, then, has nothing to do with gender too. It’s not women, but all humans, who love chocolate!
Revathi Siva Kumar