I’ve got a whole article devoted to questions of cupcakes, feminism and sexism in the world of food over on The Kitchn this week. Here’s a little excerpt:
I asked my friend Lisa Knisely for her opinion. I was introduced to Lisa when she worked at the magazine Render, and I respect her opinion on these topics, as she’s well-versed on the complexities and nuances. Beyond holding a PhD in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, she works as a freelance writer and tackles these topics on a daily basis.
“Baking, particularly of the domestic sweet and pie variety (as opposed to the uber-fancy and technical professional pastry chef kind), is a kind of culinary work we particularly associate with a feminized form of care and nurturing in our culture,” says Knisely. “I think a lot of baking businesses employ a kind of gendered marketing and ideology to advance women bakers and it makes sense that they do because many of us have powerful associations of baked goods with love and care from women. And that kind of love and care through food is powerful, awesome, life-sustaining stuff that should be celebrated.”
“But,” she went on, “I don’t see why men shouldn’t be doing about half of this kind of culinary care labor, too. If men were half of the cupcake makers in our culture, either domestically or professionally, that would change the whole field of gender identity and kitchen politics.”
I would agree with Lisa. As a culture, we love to define people and put them in boxes, and that certainly happens with professions. There are many professions which people assume are inherently male; the language that we use is a good reflection of this. For example, why when we read an article about a chef, do we assume that the chef is male? Female chefs are just chefs after all, just like female filmmakers are just filmmakers and female pilots are just pilots.
Read the full article here (I’ll warn you, it’s a long one!).