In the food world, from the fields to restaurant kitchens, harassment and violence against women are rampant—and largely invisible.
As a women-led organization focused on media and communications, Real Food Media has been closely following the wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations against high-profile media personalities and politicians. Many of these stories resonate with us personally, and we add our voices to the chorus in saying: #metoo.
Without a doubt, speaking out requires courage. But we recognize that the voices that have gotten the most attention in the media have been those with the most privilege.
Women in the fields and domestic workers, most of whom are women of color, experience high rates of sexual harassment. Often, women farmworkers are faced with threats of firing or offers for jobs in exchange for sex, and abusers know they are not likely to report harassment or even violent attacks due to their immigration status. Restaurant workers—especially tip-dependent workers, two-thirds of whom are women—are also highly vulnerable. And “kitchen machismo” legitimizes a pervasively sexist culture that many male chefs and food writers have benefitted from.
While sexual harassment clearly crosses boundaries of class and race, poverty and economic insecurity are perhaps the greatest contributing factors to vulnerability. Addressing sexual harassment requires that we pay close attention to racial and economic justice issues, in the food system and beyond. So we’re thrilled this month to bring you a #realfoodreads episode featuring Anna’s conversation with three women scholar-activists talking about land, labor, and new frontiers in food activism. All of this amazing energy is propelling us into a new year that is sure to bring us together for an even stronger, people-powered food movement.
Wishing you good food, restfulness, and peace this holiday season,
Tanya, Anna, Tiffani, and Christina