There’s an article in the Daily Mail today about how wonderful home-cooked food used to be. Until feminism came along and decided everyone should be obese. Because women today, they just won’t cook. And it’s not what our great feminist leaders intended. When people talk about how “the feminist movement began in Betty Friedan’s kitchen” they meant that it was because she was so happy there. She did all her best thinking in that kitchen. Anyhow:
The modern ladette culture is not quite what the strident feminists of the Seventies had in mind. Both Germaine Greer and Fay Weldon have spoken out against such male impersonation.
Greer wrote that the point was to change the male system, not join it. It was touching to watch her in the Celebrity Big Brother house making stock from the bones of the previous evening’s roast — an act with all the practical, economical purpose
of a Fifties stay-at-home mum.
First of all, I’m sick of the economic argument. You don’t save money by cooking food from scratch. It’s most likely much healthier than popping a Lean Cuisine in the microwave for dinner, but a Lean Cuisine costs $3.00. Making meals with fresh produce costs more, at least in my experience. I’m sure it does become more cost efficient if you’re happy eating the same dish night after night (if you’re by yourself) but that often isn’t all that appealing. It seems like much of the time when I’ve decided I’ll make some weird thing involving blueberries I just end up paying for a carton of blueberries that then grows moldy in my fridge.
And honestly, isn’t this more about time constraints than wanting to show that we’re independent women? Yes, women entering the work-force probably did mean that there are fewer one-income families where the wife stays at home cooking. But there are also a lot of jobs where a full day means working 5 to 9, not 9 to 5. And at the end of a long day people – male or female – don’t want to spend more time cooking. They just want to eat something. Preferably something that tastes good. Pizza. Pizza sounds nice. Maybe Chinese food.
But mostly, we don’t cook the way we did in the 1950’s simply because we don’t have to. They didn’t have microwaves. We all have microwaves. All of us. And we don’t even think they’re going to give us cancer anymore. And if you give people an option of doing something difficult in 7 minutes without really thinking about it or doing something for 45 minutes concentrating intently, they’re going to take the 7 minute option. It’s what people do. Is it necessarily the option that yields the best results? No, it gets you a Lean Cuisine (though I really do believe their potatoes and broccoli one is delicious). But it doesn’t have anything to do with women being independent.