Sunday, July 12, 2009

Old Timey Sexism, In Cookbook Form!

Honey, your camp style macaroni and deviled chicken is almost ready! Just let me whip up a whimsical leafy salad with some dainty soup for myself. Whew, cooking all the man food is tough! I can barely lift this chicken leg! Thanks to Worcestershire Sauce for showing me how!


justin said...

first of all, i am a MAN, baby, and i DO like all those foods.

second of all, you can't really draw a linear comparison of sexism across different eras, the same way you can't really compare the stats of barry bonds to babe ruth. if my ladyfriend cooks me french toast on a sunday morning, should i reject it because she has put herself in a position where she is subjugated to my dominance?

fuck no, because:
1) she simply did something nice for me, and
2) french toast is goddamned delicious.

yes, i know the argument is that the '50's housewife was *forced* to make food for her man, but hell, the '50's husband was *forced* by societal paradigm to be the sole provider for his family. both ends of that stick are short, if you ask me.

finally, the dominant social paradigm is what fuels pretty much all industry. if you want to sell cookbooks in 1959, you sure as hell aren't selling them to a dude. am i glad the model has changed and women are no longer subservient to their betrothed? yeah, you bet, but again it's not an apples to apples comparison to our current society. who's to say that in 2059, people won't look back on 2009 and say that our society (which we view as leaps and bounds better than the 1959 model) was dominated by barbaric troglodytes? how would that make you feel, as someone who considers herself liberated and independent?

Lucé said...

i'm sure you like all of those foods, and if i wasn't a vegetarian I'd also like all those foods, I did at least the last time I ate meat. The point being there isn't food just for men and there isn't food just for women. This cookbook is sexist in that it adhears to ridiculous gender norms about what men like and about what women like.

And the argument that you can't compare sexism over the ages is so silly. Of course you can! That's like saying blackface, or the mammie caricature wasn't racist because that's just the way things were back then. Just because something is accepted in a society doesn't mean that it isn't oppressive.

And in 2059 I'm sure they will look back at many things in 2009 and think they are regressive and sexist! I hope so at least. I would love it if we evolved in the next 50 years enough to stop treating women's bodies as commodities. Perhaps Burger King would stop selling their bugers as man food with blow job implications.

I cook John food, he cooks me food. Erin cooks you food, and you obviously cook her food. This is great because it doesn't assume someone has a role or is expected to do something because of their gender. It's equality! We've progressed, and that's great. But there's nothing wrong with looking back at how backwards things used to be. That's how we learn and move forward.

Lizzy said...

Justin - I think you CAN draw a comparison of sexism across different eras, and you alluded to it with this comment:

"yes, i know the argument is that the '50's housewife was *forced* to make food for her man, but hell, the '50's husband was *forced* by societal paradigm to be the sole provider for his family. both ends of that stick are short, if you ask me."

Yes, that women were mostly confined to the kitchen and home in the 1950's, and that men were not to be in the kitchen and were soley responsible for the family income was inherently sexist.

While we have made great strides, our society today is still inherently sexist. Less so, but it is.

Job postings are not longer divided into "male jobs" and "female jobs", but women still face glass ceilings in male-dominated fields.

Fewer men are the bread-winners and more men are choosing to be stay-at-home dads, but that doesn't mean they aren't judged by society.

I see advertisements like this as a documentation of the level of sexism, and strict gender roles, that existed in the 1950s. And while looking at current day magazines makes me cringe, they are nothing compared to those in the 1950's.

This is a comparison of sexism across different eras.

Elisabeth said...

Justin: We've made leaps and bounds because you can enjoy your lady friend's french toast because she has a job? *wow*

LS said...

Well, it seems to me that saying that you can't call it sexism because it was the 50's is like saying that you can't call it racism because it was the 50's. Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King would have begged to differ, I think. Of COURSE you can call it sexism. Know why? Cause it WAS. That's why.

Anonymous said...

I think justin made a really good point about how sexism hurts everyone. He really acknowledges that the social structure and imperatives of the 1950's constricted and "forced" both men and women in familial roles that they may not have been comfortable with.

it seems as though justin is intimately familiar with how society and capitalism intersect to contribute to the continued oppression of women. His last comment about how it was imperative for cookbooks to take advantage of women's diminished role in order for them to hock their wares is very astute.

It is truly a shame that he doesnt seem to agree.

monyaka_a said...

what "anonymous" said, plus, both ends of the stick were and are short...why should we sit back and tolerate it?

why not try to sell a cookbook to men, in 1959 or 2009, and challenge the status quo?

raina said...

a man of quality is not threatened by a woman of quality.

I'm a little confused about this rule that we can't look at something in history and say hey, that is sexist, it perpetuates stereotypes and reinforces oppression.

When do these "eras" begin and end. On January 1, 1960 could we look back 8 days/weeks/years and say that is sexist? or do we wait til a 25 year mark - does that mark a new era? On New Years in 2000, are we then to forget the previous 5-10-15-60 years of oppressive practices? What is time? What is progress? and what the hell is an era?
And 50's housewives weren't *forced* -whatever those stars mean- to cook for their husbands. It was a cultural custom, and it is STILL a cultural custom to be a stay-at-home-mom-and-home-caretaker. Many people do not think twice about women leaving the workforce when they have kids, yes even in 2009. What IS *FORCED* is rape. women were raped in the 50's, women are raped now - here, next door, and around the world. 100% of women live with the THREAT of rape - and we rape the environment to produce all this damn MEAT - so how far have we actually come? when will we stop raping, humans and the earth? when will we realize that we can't live in harmony with the earth or each other when we constantly defend past ways of life and don't put our energy towards creating a better future (anyone heard of a saying 'we must learn from the past' ?)

ps- the social paradigm as you call it, is titled patriarchy. it's about interlocking systems of oppression.
Join us, will you, in the feminist revolution for EQUALITY! YAY!!!

raina said...

haha. the quote is


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