Cooking & Gender: Men, Women & Stereotypes

This’ll be a fast post.

Why are women considered to be the ones who SHOULD cook in a household, but in a professional setting, there are more men who are chefs, than women?

I’m an avid fan of Top Chef, Top Chef Masters… okay, any kind of cooking show in general, and whenever I hear comments from women contestants such as:

“So.. it’s just me and the guys again.. which, is normal for me, as is the nature of our industry!”

Susan Feniger – Top Chef Masters Season Two Contestant

(whom I ADORE by the way!)

And other various:

“Well you know how it is, being the only woman in the kitchen.”

“I’ve had to fight tooth and nail to be seen as a respected chef, who is a woman.”

“We [women] just have to be tougher in the kitchen, and we’ve taken a lot of crap.”

“They will tell you point blank: You are a woman, you will never become a chef, you should just stay in the bakery. So I’ve had to really fight my way through to the top, to be respected.” — I believe this one came from Cindy Pawlcyn (Another Top Chef Masters contestant from Season One)

So what gives, world?

Why are women stereotypically told that their place is in the kitchen when they’re growing up, but men are the ones who dominate the culinary arts?

My mom used to tell me:

If you want to catch a husband, you better know how to cook

… or …

Don’t you want to be able to cook for your family and your husband?

(That one made me retort: “I’d like to think my future husband could carry his own weight and feed his family and his own darn self if need be!”)

The sad thing was that I never hated to cook! It was more out of spite, that I refused to cook. (Yes, childish and silly I know.)

When she finally gave up the nagging and guilt-tripping, I eased back into cooking, which seemed to surprise her, as I never seemed to show an interest in cooking as I was growing up 😛

In our little world of two, BF is the one who is the far better chef than I.

He of course, has had more experience, not having rebelled against his mother and her pleas to be a good wife who should know how to take care of her man’s belly.

But I ain’t too shabby, if I do say so myself! 🙂

What about you?

Were you ever pressured to cook, for reasons OTHER than just having a basic, practical working knowledge of how to cook?

I’d love to hear the perspective from any men who are lurking regarding the subject!

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.