In the ’50s, life at home took a different tone, regardless of what cosmopolitan city you lived in. The concept of four women à la Sex and the City hadn’t quite gripped the nation. Instead, icons like Lucille Ball in her show I Love Lucy embodied wives of the times. As comedic and fun as she was, Lucy still catered to her husband Desi, and the gender roles were clear: women cooked. Men didn’t.
In fact, in one December 1952 episode, Desi attempted to cook a pregnant Lucy breakfast and all he could muster was a burnt waffle (claiming that the charcoal in it would be good for the baby’s teeth).
These days, images of women wearing aprons, cooking at home don’t dominate sitcoms. Rather, independent women can choose to cook or not cook; they needn’t be too domesticated – as that would be boring or too much of a threat to their independence.
Nobody wants to see Carrie Bradshaw behind a stove all day, for instance. Viewers want to see her in front of her laptop, earning money as a fabulous magazine columnist, and traveling to Paris, where she can sip wine and telephone the rest of her friends on her cell phone internationally – because she is a bad Beyotch. (The word Beyotch too has become an acceptable synonym for strong women, for some reason).
Now, while it’s nice that people of our times want to aggressively combat gender stereotypes, discrimination and oppression, a significant amount of young women have no clue what to do in front of the stove – and that situatioon prompts several questions.
One: should they have a clue, and if so why?
Two: does not cooking make women ill-equipped to manage families, especially if they marry a man who can’t cook to save his nose hairs?
Three: should men be significantly more responsible for cooking in the home?
What do you think?
Is the presence of restaurants and Chinese food deliveries and microwave dinners – not to mention diets, jobs, busy lifestyles and aspirations preventing us from “making an event” of eating at home, the way folks did in generations before this one?