Unless You’re a Chef or a Housewife, It’s Not Your Job to Make Dinner

Recently, I’ve noticed two things:

  • How frequently people remind me that things are much better than they used to be for women, which I assume means that my pissiness has reached reminder-inspiring levels.
  • The sheer volume of content on the interwebs about what to make for dinner, almost all directed at women, and not just women who work as full-time domestic engineers.

The latter makes me feel better about the former, because it shows that I’m not going crazy. Things are much better for women than they used to be. For instance, I’m not property, no matter what Donald Trump’s lawyer thinks. But on the other hand, all homemaking materials are geared toward ladies, and I think that stinks.

When I talk about this with my female friends who are partnered with males, I often get a lot of eye-rolling. The general feeling seems to be that it’s nice to be a feminist, but we really shouldn’t expect much of anything from the menfolk, poor dears. This annoys me not only because I don’t want to do everything, but also because I like a lot of the menfolk, and my own personal ‘folk is pretty darn competent at everything he turns his hand to.

Still, thanks to social conditioning or advertising or whatever, men frequently get an out when it comes to doing boring things like making dinner or picking up the place.

“They just don’t notice the mess,” several women told me. Or: “He’ll cook, but only if I hassle him repeatedly, and then he only makes two things, and dinner doesn’t hit the table until midnight.”

If this sounds like your situation, I submit to you that your experiences are both fully valid and total bullshit, and you should be upset about them. Dinner, if you haven’t noticed, takes time. It has to be made every single night, rain or shine, and it disappears in about a quarter the time it takes to make it, leaving only a mess, which also has to be cleaned up by someone.

In the time it takes to make dinner, you could write two bad blog posts and half a good one. You could practice a musical instrument, perhaps the one rusting in its case in the corner under a layer of dust. You could call a friend and connect with a human who doesn’t live in your household. You could read a newspaper and keep the industry alive.

I’m not suggesting that women should get off scotfree on the dinner rotation, or that there aren’t some women who love cooking and genuinely enjoy doing it, or that men are oppressing us with aprons and appetizers. I’m just suggesting that, if you’re a female and work outside the home and you usually cook, maybe you’re not doing it out of culinary passion. And maybe it shouldn’t be your job … at least, not by default.

Image Credit: James Vaughan/Flickr


Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

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