Uma visão antropológica do prodigioso jejum de mulheres ocidentais

  • Carole M. Counihan Universidade de Millersville
Palavras-chave: Jejum. Antropologia. Alimento. Mulheres. Comida


No prodigioso jejum, às vezes até a morte, mulheres ocidentais expressaram uma relação específica com a comida durante quase oito séculos. Este ensaio tenta explicar esse comportamento entretecendo os finos e fascinantes dados históricos apresentados nos três livros resenhados – Holy Anorexia (BELL, 1985); Fasting Girls: The Emergence of Anorexia Nervosa as a Modern Disease (BRUMBERG, 1988) e Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (BYNUM, 1987) – vendo-os a partir de perspectivas interculturais e totalizantes fundamentais para a antropologia. Pretendo mostrar que o jejum de mulheres ocidentais difere radicalmente de outros tipos de jejum observados por antropólogos ao redor do globo e que envolve uma alteração altamente simbólica da relação universal das mulheres com a comida. Argumento que ela pode ser mais bem compreendida como um comportamento pluri-determinado, uma combinação de fatores ideológicos, econômicos, políticos e sociais.


In prodigious fasting, sometimes to death, Western women have expressed an extraordinary relationship to food for almost eight centuries. This essay attempts to explain such behavior by weaving together the fine-grained and fascinating historical data presented in the three books under review – Holy Anorexia (BELL, 1985); Fasting Girls: The Emergence of Anorexia Nervosa as a Modern Disease (BRUMBERG, 1988) e Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (BYNUM, 1987) – and viewing them from the cross-cultural and holistic perspectives fundamental to anthropology. I aim to show that Western female fasting differs radically from other kinds of fasting observed by anthropologists across the globe and that it involves a highly symbolic alteration of women’s universal relationship to food. I argue that it is best understood as a multidetermined behavior, an interplay of ideological, economic, political, and social factors.

Key Words: Fasting, Anthropology, Women, Food.


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Como Citar
Counihan, C. M. (2016). Uma visão antropológica do prodigioso jejum de mulheres ocidentais. Cadernos Pagu, (39), 15-53. Recuperado de