Why Are Men Who Cook Looked Down Upon?

Posted by Arunchandra c in Society
February 17, 2017
Editor’s note: This story is in response to Youth Ki Awaaz’s topic for this week – #GenderStereotypes to smash ridiculous rules around gender imposed by patriarchy. If you have an experience to share, write to us here.

Why are women considered to be the ones who should cook in a house? We get to see more men than women, as chefs in popular TV shows, five-star hotels. These men have a huge fan base, which largely consists of a female audience. Yet, we often get to hear the stereotypical statements from prominent faces on how a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Why do we say that, when men are the ones who dominate the cooking space?

I grew up in a small town, located in a state which calls itself 100% literate. Yet, statements made against girls who were bad at cooking were pretty common. If you need a good husband, you should cook better. If you don’t know how to cook, how will you survive in your husband’s house? You will have a bad time at your husband’s place.

This place, in this regard, is not any different from other places in the country. It’s the same as any other place, as far as these kind of statements are concerned. I must say that I am a man who knows how to cook. I learned cooking easily during the tough time when I had to survive with little savings. I was easily able to pick up, thanks to my mother, who made us do a little bit of kitchen work during my childhood. These are the truths on which I will base my arguments on. I am sure that most men, who have cooked for a lot longer, will agree with me.

Most men cook out of necessity than out of interest. They cook, either alone or in a group, while staying in an apartment enjoying their bachelorhood. I have heard a lot of friends say that they are planning to get married so that they can have proper food. Seriously? I felt like asking, “are you degrading yourself as a cook?” or “do you just believe in the stereotype that women are the ones who can cook properly?” These men don’t realise that they are enforcing the statement which is often made: a woman’s place is in the kitchen’.

During the period when men had to hunt, they handed over cooking to the women, as they had to spend time gathering food outside. When we moved over to a much-developed society, we still continued the same practice. I remember that at my grandparents’ place (dad’s parents), men of the family used to sit on the veranda for the food without doing anything, while women of the family spent their time in the kitchen, in the smoke and dirt, preparing the food.

I am not saying that men should cook food for women, but don’t get married just because you want a woman to cook for you. If you are planning to get married for the same, you should rather get a domestic worker. I am not necessarily looking for a girl who can cook, but someone whom I can connect easily with.

So yes, cooking is looked down upon because it isn’t considered glamorous as women in the family have been doing it for a long time. Yet, as a person who cooks, I have a lot of fun doing it.

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Image source: Norimutsu Nogami/ Flickr

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