FACULTY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA STUDIES
BACHELOR OF MASS COMMUNICATION (HONS) JOURNALISM
SOCIOLOGY – LIB402
RESEARCH PAPER: FAST FOOD AND ITS IMPACT ON ROLES AND SOCIALIZATION
NUR HANIZ MOHD NOR
MR NORSHAM FIRDAUS
9 MARCH 2010
FAST FOOD AND ITS IMPACT ON ROLES AND SOCIALIZATION
“More people recognize the Golden Arches than they do the Christian Cross”. Those were the words written down by journalist Eric Schlosser in his book Fast Food Nation. And no words written have ever been truer. Fast food franchises are so deeply rooted in a part of our daily life that we take it for granted. Advertisements everywhere show the wholesome illusions of fast food, usually coupled with subliminal messages of it being hassle-free and delicious. The advent of fast food has since then brought around issues and debates regarding health as well as a major shift in lifestyles, particularly in the United States of America, where it was born. But since the fast food franchises are widely globalized all over the World, the effects of fast food are bound to experience its effects to the shores of other countries as much as it has affected the American shores. (Schlosser, 1997)
THE ROLES IN THE KITCHEN
In Malaysian cinemas, before the big blockbuster is played, a Kentucky Fried Chicken advertisement rolls into the screen: a young girl walks into a kitchen carrying ingredients to help her mother make a home-cooked meal but creates a mess as she does so. The mother in the end decides to bring the whole family out to a KFC outlet to enjoy a hassle-free meal devoid of lengthy and messy preparations. The mass media’s power to influence society is exceptionally powerful to the extent where it presents to us an ideal way to live our lives and affect our decisions.(rayuso, 2008)
In today’s growing economy where both parents are outside the home, fast food take-outs become increasingly commonplace where the parents are more apt to replace family meals with a more quick and hassle-free alternative: fast food(Hendrick, Home-Cooked Meals Elusive for Some Working Parents, 2009). In a poll study done, 92.3% of respondents agreed that fast food was quick and most of them mentioning, “I’m too busy to cook”, a popular line among college degrees than those who were less educated (Hitti, 2008). So the answer gets pretty obvious to why it’s such a commodity among society.
But the question lies on how this will solely affect the basic role of parents within the kitchen. In traditional views, the mother is primarily responsible for cooking (Henslin, 2006) - meaning they have a certain responsibility to what goes on inside the kitchen as well as what the family consumes. Preparation of meals and lunch-boxes that were the norms of the 70s rarely exist in today’s society where economy and Women’s Rights development have pushed women to work and put bread on the table, earning them a place right next to their husbands in earning income(United Nations, 2009).
Fast food franchises offer the convenient option for these hard-earning parents by taking the role of the kitchen out of their hands. With heavy advertising aimed towards the children. They are of course, excited with the idea of having a meal in fast-food restaurants where the treat of the toy that comes with their meal awaits them. According to Alfred R. Kahn, CEO of the 4Kids Entertainment, “In research. We’ve seen the kids are clearly motivated by the toy, not the meal” (Ritzer, 2000). With promises of toys, playgrounds and easy-meals, it’s no wonder why fast food is the preference, not only for the children but also the parents themselves. It’s not hard to see where the shift in the kitchen role from the parents to fast food franchise exists.
PREPARATION AND HEALTH ISSUES
No issue regarding fast food has been brought up more times than health. It is no wonder why, seeing the very nature of...