Analysis of "We Are What We Eat" Book by Shelley Rosenstein


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“We Are What We Eat” is an exhibit depicting the international battle against malnutrition. There are many aspects of malnutrition, one of which is eating too little. Out of the entire global population, over 800 million people struggle to eat an amount sufficient for their health, energy and even survival. Many also do not have access to food and water safe for consumption, which usually results in illnesses, disabilities and deaths. Another portion of the population is dealing with overconsumption. Eating unhealthy, processed foods that lack nutrients in quantities much larger than the required daily amount is an issue greatly contributing to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Malnutrition is a worldwide, present issue that is only worsening with time.

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Rather than a particular event occurring in the image I chose, I believe “Puffed Food” by Liu Bolin is more of a statement regarding this global issue. To represent malnutrition, the photographer has decided to focus on the overeating aspect. This was made evident through the main focus of the picture; Chinese convenience store aisle shelves filled with various packaged snacks. Standing in front, is a man who is almost entirely transparent, allowing the snacks to still be visible through his body. I believe that this is a metaphor to show that what we consume reflects on how we appear, and that our food has taken over us and our society, to the point where eating unhealthy food is almost inevitable. The saturated colour of the snacks can represent how these foods appear joyful and harmless, even though they are not.

While the idea behind the image is significant, there are surely other images that can better bring awareness and justice to our world, for several reasons. Firstly, it requires much interpretation, and in the case that a single image would be depended on, it is likely that this would take too much time and contemplation to understand completely. With its vibrant colours, and the almost invisible man, the image’s purpose and message may be deceiving. Additionally, it only covers overeating, one single aspect of malnutrition, out of the many even more common issues. The image does not clearly suggest a problem, nor a solution, and so I would consider this image to be a statement more artistic than helpful.

Second Harvest is an organization dedicated to collecting excess food across Canada and sending it to social service and food hubs, to provide meals for those in need. Gathering food that could have gone to landfill is an excellent solution to eliminate hunger in our country as well as an advantage for the environment. Creating a positive impact on my community would incorporate raising awareness about malnutrition and Second Harvest through social media and by contacting a local paper to help spread the word. Another method would be to encourage myself and those around me to eat healthier by buying more locally produced foods and substituting certain foods with healthier alternatives, and to inform others of the benefits of doing so.

After examining the list of the many careers in the United Nations, I came across one that struck my interest. A career in Public Information revolves around communication within the United Nations, the public and the media on behalf of the organization. Creating audio-visual productions to provide information through radio, videos or photography for example, is also a common responsibility for one working in this department. Experts working in Public Information must constantly develop their communication methods to ensure effectiveness, understanding and efficiency. It is their job to design, present and campaign messages in the structure most suited to represent the specific UN department or mission. The messages broadcasted need to be perceived in the exact manner they were intended.

Public Information workers are all experienced, fluent in oral and written English and French, and have received a high school diploma at the least. They must be creative, collaborative and expressive to properly communicate to their audiences. This field has different sectors, each with their own educational requirements. The professional positions of Public Information require a Master’s degree or an equivalent advanced university degree in Journalism, Communication, Broadcasting or other similar disciplines. A separate option is a first-level university degree in addition to two more years of credentialed experience. The Field Service positions demand a high school or equivalent diploma, as well as training in fields related to media including shooting and editing film/video, sound and lighting and camera operation.

The main method to prepare for this occupation would be to follow a career path in my current and higher education. Courses like advertising, public speaking and foreign languages would benefit me in my preparation to work in Public Information. The Social Media and Event Planning internship would also guide me in the direction of this occupation. It involves assisting in the planning and executing of events, and other tasks requested by the supervisor. Requirements include the enrollment or completion of certain graduate school programs, computer literacy, and good communication, teamwork and customer service skills. Working in the UN would allow me to promote change and work towards ending global issues for the benefit of our world.

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