Rethinking Gender Roles on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving!  Time for you to join Mom and Grandma in the kitchen – for the whole day!  Yep, cooking that bird, making all the fixings, a least a couple pies.  Time to don an apron and lend a hand!

I have never really joined in the kitchen fun.  When I was small enough I joined my Dad, great Uncle and brother in front of the TV.   I would set the table, help clear the table, clean up, and serve up dessert. I don’t enjoy cooking.  There are a few dishes I do well, and everything else seems to be by chance.  Luckily for everyone who joins us for Thanksgiving, my boyfriend is a great cook.

All the ads I’ve seen on TV recently about holiday planning, cooking, baking, all feature women in the kitchen. This is not an accurate picture of how holidays come together at homes around the country.  Why put so much emphasis on mom and grandma in the kitchen, cooking the turkey, baking pies? It’s an image I’m already tired of, but I know it will continue through New Years.  Or the Super Bowl.  Don’t women do all the shopping for the Super Bowl?

Why are we still so focused on mom in the kitchen and dad in front of the TV on holidays? Beginning with the knowledge that every family is not like this, it is wrong to constantly push this image.  I spent much of high school and college bored on holidays, and wondering if there was something wrong with me for not being interested in helping with dinner.

I have since learned, of course, that I don’t have to love or even like cooking just because I’m female.  I’ve also learned I can be a feminist and enjoy cooking.  I really wish I did enjoy it too.  Are other young women figuring this out though?  Are boys participating in food preparation today?  My boyfriend is making our dinner, as usually happens with holidays in our home.

I hope at some point advertisers and the media realize they are not representing a large section of American families, or how many celebrate the holidays.  We have moved on from the Norman Rockwell days, for which I think we can all be thankful.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and find much to be thankful for.

Originally appeared on Fem2.0


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