National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Women’s enjoyment of chocolate constitutes part of a sensory construction of self that engages the senses and emotions. This presentation examines the embodied experience of eating chocolate for women in the US and the relations of materiality between the body and chocolate products. There is mutuality of effect wherein body and product impact each other as the attributes of chocolate give rise to sensory pleasure in the body while consuming the product leads women to significations of chocolate and a regime of self-care in their everyday lives. Understanding women’s chocolate consumption practices played a key role in a global confectionary company’s introduction of a new chocolate product to a specific segment of women. The network of agents engaged in carrying out the organization’s endeavor affords opportunity for tracing consumption links, struggles and conflicts among agents exerting contrapuntal force concerning performance of femininity and ideologies of gender hierarchy. At stake were representations and misrepresentations concerning the meaning of chocolate in women’s lives and the success or failure of innovation in the marketplace. This account of marketing a new chocolate product to women shows how affective spaces are generated by and for women as they and their bodies move through the world.