Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Should feminists stay out of the kitchen?

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I read this article the other day and it made me go back and take a look at the post I wrote a little while back about how we need to stop glorifying the inability to cook.

The article is about how “real women” are still expected to cook and examines the role of women in sitcoms and cooking shows. It made me wonder if my original take was sexist. Did I only talk about women? I was certainly thinking about female characters like Lorelai Gilmore and Olivia Pope. I did also think about the importance of showing men cooking but maybe I didn’t make that very clear. I definitely didn’t think about the possibility that showing women who were incapable of cooking (or at least unwilling to cook) was actually a feminist act. And I really have mixed feelings about it right now.

I do not believe that a woman belongs in the kitchen. I do not think that it’s a woman’s measure of worth to serve the men and children in their lives. I don’t think that we all need to love cooking or spend as much time doing it as I do. However, I wonder if making a refusal to cook is truly a feminist act or more an instance of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. It may be levelling the playing field to have both men and women out of the kitchen but I think that’s more bringing everyone down a level rather than lifting everyone up.

As I said in my previous post, cooking is an important life skill. Food literacy is as important as any other form of literacy. What we prepare for ourselves is generally going to be more nutritious and less calorically dense than food we purchase ready-made and from restaurants. It’s better for us and better for our wallets. It doesn’t have to mean hours of slaving over a hot stove. A good home cooked meal can be as quick and simple as a vegetable frittata or stir-fry; ready in under 30 minutes.

We should be encouraging more people to get in the kitchen, not glorifying culinary ineptitude. On television we should be showing both men and women cooking for themselves, for their families, for their friends, and show children helping in the kitchen. In real life, we should be advocating to have mandatory home ec reinstated in schools. We (both women and men) should be taking the effort to prepare nourishing meals for ourselves because we are all worthy of good nutrition.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

4 thoughts on “Should feminists stay out of the kitchen?

  1. “It may be leveling the playing field to have both men and women out of the kitchen but I think that’s more bringing everyone down a level rather than lifting everyone up.” Spot on, Diana!

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  2. The fast food culture has killed the skill of cooking! I’m trying to teach my daughter what my grandmother and mom taught me. My BF is an amazing cook as well and her grandfather owns a restaurant so hopefully she will grow up understanding its something everyone is meant to share!

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  3. Since food is our basic need, cooking is a life sustaining skill.I recommend learning basic cooking skills to anyone and everyone even though one lives amidst restaurants. So, let’s just look at it as a useful skill for everyone instead of something to define feminism. Cooking is fun, educational and can lead to a healthy practices.

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