How to Respond to Sexist Jokes About Women in the Kitchen

November 4th 2015

A Facebook user's post countering an anti-feminist meme is going viral.

The original meme reads:

“Men cooking… because the last generation of mothers didn’t teach their daughters shit.

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The meme not only blames a whole lot of moms, but plays on the outdated stereotype that women belong in the kitchen. That's why Facebook user Ciara Joy “corrected” the meme by crossing out and rewriting it.

Ciara Joy's viral Facebook memeCiara Joy, Facebook - facebook.com

Joy wrote:

“Men cooking because you’re living fucking beings who need to learn how to make your own damn food and not rest on thousands of years of oppression of women to justify why you can’t take care of yourself."

The new version of the meme has been shared on Facebook nearly 40,000 times since it was posted on November 2.

In addition to being sexist, research shows that the original meme simply isn't accurate; the stereotypical "men in the workforce, women in the kitchen" doesn’t hold true anymore. According to Forbes, the number of women enrolling in universities has steadily increased since the 1970’s, and today, more women than men are walking away with diplomas.

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Meanwhile, more men than ever are taking on roles that were assigned to women in the past. The Pew Research center reported that in 2014 that the number of fathers who are at home with kids has nearly doubled since 1989. Meanwhile, the New York Times reported in 2007 that for what was “probably the first time in American history,” more than 51 percent of women were living without a spouse.

It’s a trend of independence and partnership. And as the framework of the nuclear family shifts, traditional gender roles dissolve.

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In 2008, a paper analyzing trends in U.S. home food preparation and consumption was published in the Nutrition Journal. The study looked back more than 50 years at how many people cook, and how much time they take to do it.

The study found that there as a significant reduction in the number of women cooking, but the decline occurred between 1965 and 1993. Esquire Magazine notes that 1993 was the year that the Food Network hit the air, and after that point, the amount of women cooking slightly increased. Since then, the numbers have plateaued and remained steady.

The consistency hasn’t been the same for men. The paper showed a significant increase in the number of men who cook, with 14 percent more men cooking their own food than they did in 1965, and the numbers continue to rise. Today, there are entire social sites devoted specifically to male cooks because they are cooking more. Some sites like the Cooking Husband invite men to the stove. "Who says men can't cook?" is the site's tagline.

The paper published in Nutrition Journal also found that everyone, regardless of sex, shifted towards eating outside the home throughout the last few years because some people simply don’t have time to cook anymore.

In reality, no one should be shut out of the kitchen or forced to stay there.

Now, who’s hungry?

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