Double standards are one of the biggest problems in gender inequality in the world. From birth, girls and women are trained to know how to cook because “How are you going to feed your husband and family if you don’t know how to cook?” From a young age, a girl’s toy collection is furnished with little kitchen sets or fake ovens and this in itself is an underlined way of slowly making them believe that cooking is a befitting and necessary activity. However, as much as we are aware of the females’ responsibility in a kitchen at home, why is it different when men start cooking as a career? The culinary industry is a male dominated place, women are still an exception. It’s funny how “women’s work” becomes something more respectable when a man is doing it.
I noticed this when I worked in a restaurant kitchen and realised that the men that worked there as chefs were all at the top as Head Chefs or Sous Chefs. Women usually work at the bottom or as Pastry Chefs as we are stereotypically seen as people that make things look pretty. Working in a kitchen is like working in the military as the work we do is very tough. There is a lot of foul language used but most of it is very sexist. Words like “bitch, slut, whore, skank, pussy and cunt” are usually used by the male chefs. When a woman has tough skin or has a strong personality, she is called a bitch or crazy. Even crazy bitch if you like. Most women end up working with their heads down and try to work as hard as they can to get to where they need to be.
Some of the most successful chefs in the world are men. You don’t need to do research on that, just switch on the TV. As much as there are a lot of females on cooking shows, they are mostly cooks, not chefs. “Cooks are (based on hierarchy) subordinate to chefs and therefore this positions women as subordinate to men overall and a woman is in the top position as just an exception” says Elizabeth Roscoe. They are doing shows whereby they are teaching (presumably women) people at home how to cook for their families and little casual parties, looking pretty in makeup. Whereas the males will come out guns blazing, sweating bullets because they are doing the “real job” of cooking in a restaurant because it really is that difficult. It immediately shows the assumption that women cannot handle such scenarios. Just so the women can fit in, they usually wear their hair short, no makeup, to give a masculine appearance. They do this to be taken seriously, to be one of the boys. It’s as if removing all traces of femininity will make your position in the kitchen more legitimate.
Shockingly, many women in the culinary industry refrain from being seen or labelled as a feminist as they feel that it could take away all their hard work. The word “Feminist” carries a great amount of negativity for a lot of people. Most women say “Women just sound so angry and they want men’s sympathy instead of just working for their success.” Thing is, WE DO WORK HARD, sometimes even more than men. Someone said “I need feminism because calling out misogyny is still referred to as ‘whining'”, which is true and that is what leads to the anger. We are angry because we are tired of being underestimated because we are female. We are angry because we are tired of being oppressed because we are female. We are women in a man’s world and it shouldn’t be that way.
Women need to PROMOTE, ENCOURAGE, and EMPOWER each other, and so do men. We are all equal and none of us should be oppressed because of gender.