The Junk-Food Bribers

Jamie Oliver talked the British government into spending four billion pounds on a healthy school meals programme. It was reported that many mothers were responding to this by smuggling junk food to their children through the windows. Doubtless these mothers justify their behaviour in terms of their “love and concern” for their children, because that is what they always do, just as governments always justify their party interests in terms of “national security”; but are we then obliged to believe them?

Perhaps we should rather see the mothers’ response to Jamie Oliver’s reforms as evidence of something we should have seen before; that they were filling their offspring with malnourishing and toxic unfood not exclusively because there was nothing else available or affordable, but for some other reason. The offer of healthy meals appears to such mothers as an opportunity to curry favour with their children, so that they subvert the offer and receive their due reward, the immediate emotional payoff of smiles and gratitude; that is, Jamie Oliver’s project actually raises the value of the junk food bribe, and thus presumably the value of the fix to the mother who is so dependent on her child’s greasy grin.

Patriarchal societies have generally held that mothers ought not to be allowed to bring up children beyond a certain age, because they are devoted to gratifying their children’s whims at the expense of their development into adult human beings, all for the sake of the satisfactions they take in the infantile bond. The belief of such societies that fathers are more clear-sighted, consistent, objective, long-termish and thus ultimately more altruistic is quite possibly false, but the question is whether such a view is any more distorted than the current and opposite orthodoxy.

Posted on August 16, 2011 at 10:54 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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  1. Written by urban
    on August 17, 2011 at 00:13

    It is easier for fathers to accept that the sprogs must develop into independent, responsible adults–for everybody’s sake, not least the children’s–than it is for mothers due to a simple and non-controversial biological fact: those children were once actually part of her body. Now that’s intimacy.

    So I think it’s easy to understand how difficult it must be to accept that such intimacy is over. That as soon as that umbilical cord is cut a process of increasing separation unto death has begun which must progress. It is both necessary and good.

    I’m sure it must be painful, but hey, suck it up and do right by your issue. Either that or don’t issue any. You’re not up to the task.

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