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Gendered Chocolate Mythologies: From Montezuma to Plain Mr York
journal contributionposted on 08.02.2021, 01:32 by Emma Robertson
Chocolate remains a source of fascination in Western culture. It has become so imbued with symbolic meaning, so mysterious in its hold over consumers, that even purportedly scientific studies find it hard to detach themselves from the gendered, often sexualized and racialized mythologies surrounding the commodity. In my own research, I wanted to understand how these mythologies of chocolate production and consumption came to exist, and how they have circulated, specifically in relation to the chocolate industry of my own home city of York. My encounter with the Latin American region thus came not through any existing expertise, but through exoticized imperial tales of Spanish “conquest” and “discovery.” From Montezuma to Plain Mr. York, chocolate fictions have too often rendered invisible women’s productive labor and agency at every stage of the chocolate commodity chain.