Food and Feminism

They are the two most passionate topics for me to write upon. Recently while I was conversing with a friend about socialism and its impact on women empowerment he quipped about an incident that took place in early 1960s in Germany. The concept of socialism was strongly creeping among young Germans post the war and in a conference  a brave woman threw a tomato at her male colleage for belittling a feminist speaker. The famous later labeled ‘tomato throwing incident’ became a culture in itself to voice political disagreement. 

A woman’s relationship with food has always been passionate and controversial. From deeming a woman’s place in a kitchen as a symbol of feminine oppression in many cultures to food opening doors beyond borders to women to become Masterchefs and become identities of their very nations. A woman’s equation with food and her role as the primary nutrition provider to the family has bigger economical impacts in various industries.

Food industry in the consumer sector is marketed to tap this very nurturing emotion of a woman. Imagining her responsible for the health and wellbeing of her family and selling to her a number of high calorie and sugar ridden ready- made packaged food as nutritious options. In many ways we are partly to blame. We like the felling of importance that somehow by placing a good looking bowl on the table we would win all the love in the world. This translates to define a woman’s self esteem in various cultures.

Cooking is the biggest form of unpaid labour. Feminism neither pushed the women out of the kitchen nor did it undermine any family values. For generations not all women were happy being bound to an unsalaried underappreciated food business in their homes. it makes no sense assigning gender roles to something as basic as food that a human being requires to survive.

When I was younger I assumed innumerable culinary roles and thrived on the compliments I received for them. There is nothing wrong in loving to cook at home and everything inadmissible in being expected to as a form of duty sometimes sacrificing your whole identity.

Food sovereignty is another blooming movement where women are taking control of what they eat. The movement has seen involvement of women as home gardeners, growing organic produces in their kitchen gardens and making bold decisions opposing consumer trends on what is fed to their family. The attempt to grow what you eat stems from the broad and eco conscious choices of sustainable living and mindful consumerism, both of which are huge learning curves for maturing women. Women with families own up more responsibilities on food than single women, study says. But the trend is slowly changing.

In your 30s its time to make some conscious frugal lifestyle changes and eco conscious decisions simply because we need an earth to pass on to the next generation and also partly because its cool to empower and take control of our lives starting from something as basic as food.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Nisha says:

    I am the cook in my house, but the husband willingly takes charge when asked. I am mostly reluctant because of the mess he makes! That should be the part of the deal too – cooking and cleaning thereafter.
    Also, I am happy with a willing, compassionate partner who can step up when need be. Hopefully the next generation will have that.


  2. Like Chimamanda Adichie says, every person must know how to cook. It is an important lifeskill. I am in love with the concept of food sovereignty, but can’t say I have taken enough steps towards it yet. I am trying a few sustainable practices, but I am a long way from where I want to be.


  3. Samar says:

    Interesting read, reminded me of tomatoes having once had their flower power moment! Will look forward to read more!


  4. Simon says:

    I like cooking, and I don’t during summer ☺️😉 Cooking is an art, everyone should know is my thought. It’s a surviving skill, somehow gender is been shoved inside and I still hear people make fun of men cooking, it’s not just here, other places also. I only wish people could change overnight 😌 interesting topic to read. Have a beautiful day ✨💐


  5. soniadogra says:

    What a splendid piece of writing. The title itself is so intriguing. I absolutely agree. Cooking is a life skill. I’m personally not much interested in cooking. My husband takes over the kitchen whenever he is home. The role reversal comes easy to both of us. Which is not to say that I think knowing how to shell out a delectable treat isn’t good. What irks me is when it’s taken to be a measure of one’s competency as a life partner.


  6. Arushi says:

    Knowing basic cooking is a life skill but yes one cannot be expected to do it and know it all because you are of a certain gender. We all are trying to incorporate sustainable choices and I hope we can make some difference. Interesting read


  7. matheikal says:

    As a young bachelor I cooked my own food and every time I put the food into my mouth I longed for better food. But that doesn’t mean that the best cooks are women, of course. Some of my friends, male, were excellent cooks.


  8. I don’t like to cook as much as I like to eat. Experimental and occasional cooking is ok but it as a routine is my least favorite. And this lockdown has forced me to do it…


  9. Very well-written post Arul. I really despise cooking and so I never do it. As much as I would like to put it down to my feminist feelings, I know it’s more because of sheer laziness!


  10. Balaka says:

    We are living in a time, when the word feminism is becoming a cuss word for many. Kudos to you for taking up this topic. Cooking is a lifeskill that everyone should pick. Cooking is gender neutral. Cooking has been a part of subjugation and then again cooking liberated many women. This is a brilliant piece of writing. Would love to read more.


  11. Food and feminism has strong great relation and love. I am not saying its only female job, men’s are great chef too but woman add their love in food.


  12. simritbedi says:

    I am so glad you wrote it Arul! Even now people expect that a girl shoud do all the cooking everyday ! I strongly feel that one should know the basics , beyond that it is a personal choice. Also people should realise that every house doesn’t have a MasterChef!


  13. “In your 30s its time to make some conscious frugal lifestyle changes and eco-conscious decisions simply because we need earth to pass on to the next generation and also partly because its cool to empower and take control of our lives starting from something as basic as food.” – I loved this. Food and feminism – a great choice of topic. I don’t exactly love cooking but that doesn’t mean I’m a terrible cook either. For centuries, women have been stereotyped. I believe that it’s not just the duty of women to do the cooking. Role reversal and chore sharing should happen. Gone are the days when men used to be the breadwinners and women used to do all the unpaid, uncredited work that won them no gratitude whatsoever. But even today, some people still cling on to the outdated concepts.


  14. Loved reading the post it true women are the nutrition provider of the family and the cooking part is majorly gone unnoticed…


  15. The kitchen affair is quintessential in life, not necessarily for keeping tummy full and nurtured but also to keep the sanity alive. I like to hide in the kitchen to get some time for myself and keep up with the ongoing life.


  16. That’s a wwell thought out post arul.#tmmreads #blogchattera2z


  17. anecdotesofmylife says:

    Agree with everything u said.I feel everyone shud know how to cook..not females only. I cook and I am growing my own too..guess I pass the test 🙂


  18. Cooking is a life skill and everyone must know it irrespective of gender.


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