Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declares that food security exists when all people have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. This is taken to understand food security in four measures: availability, access, utilization, and stability. The focus of this paper will be on access which concerns the affordability and allocation of the food supply (Ahteensuu & Siipi, 2016). I argue that social pressures on food choice, which I call food impositions, limit one's access to sufficient and safe foods by encouraging undereating in women and unhealthily high volumes of meat consumption in men. People of color are also subject to food impositions which identify certain places of food sale as "white spaces" and thereby discourage certain eating habits in communities of color. More generally, food impositions interfere with individual preferences which is an issue of sustaining food insecurity, but also interferes with identity expressions through food choice. Food impositions come in two forms both of which play the same, harmful role in our dieting practices. Positive impositions, which tell individuals what to eat and negative impositions, which tell individuals what not to eat. I will also respond to two objections. First, that this overgeneralizes the term "food insecurity." Second, that some food impositions are necessary or good.

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