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Let’s Give Thanks! (To the Reality of My Situation)

Now that Halloween’s over everyone is geared up for the next two holidays which break our budgets and also break my sanity. Whenever people ask me what is my least favorite holiday, I say Thanksgiving and they are instantly confused. There’s free food and spending time with the family, what’s better than that. My reality is a little bit different then a picture perfect family gathered around a dinner table, instead of opening up a can of yams, my family opens up good ole patriarchy.

Family at the dinner table at the Thanksgiving day.


The women in my family are expected to do all the cooking, while the men sit around and watch football, and since I do not cook as much, I’m left questioning what my place is during Thanksgiving. If you wanted to be a smart ass, you could simply say, well eating of course, but my problem is a little bit trickier than that. My family puts cooking on such a pedestal, that if you’re a woman and not helping cook then you’re deemed less valuable.

cooking

I am now twenty one and playing the I’m too young to cook card, is getting pretty old. It’s not that I can’t cook, I’m just never going to be as good of a cook like my mother, my aunts, or even my sisters, and quite frankly I don’t care to be. Last Thanksgiving, my aunt videotaped me making corn bread and thought that was the most impressive thing, but I literally put the mix into a pan and baked it, it’s nothing noteworthy. Now I don’t want to say that I’m not appreciative for the cooking, because it takes a lot to slave in a kitchen all day, but I don’t want to be expected to do that just because I’m a woman. I will help in the kitchen, if that’s needed, but also I want everyone to help the women in my family who work so hard to make the meal. I don’t see my Dad being mocked because he’s making the turkey, or my aunts complaining about the men not helping. I just want a little bit more of equality in the kitchen, and lastly I don’t want my worth to be determined by what I can do with the ingredients.

happy thanksgiving

5 Responses to “Let’s Give Thanks! (To the Reality of My Situation)”

  1. hearmeroar12

    My family never EXPECTS me to cook, per say, but it is always expected that I “help”. That includes, but isn’t limited to, mixing batter, stuffing mushrooms or turkeys, literally cooking things, stirring, getting things out of the fridge (or putting them back), setting the table…you name it. While my brother has to help set the table, he doesn’t have to do any of that stuff my family expects me to help with. Whenever we have Thanksgiving at my house, all of the women cluster in the kitchen around the finger foods, checking timers and such, while the guys are in the living room watching sports or in the basement playing video games. They don’t help cook. It’s strange that I’ve never thought about it before…those are some pretty clear cut gender roles, right there. Damn, dude.

    Reply
    • bestlittlelion92

      I never really realized how my families expectations lend themselves directly to those gender roles until I started getting more involved with feminist theory. I’m on the same page as you about not really realizing the consequences that our families create with these expectations.

      Reply
  2. ladylikesailormouth

    Yeah my little brother doesn’t know how to do ANYTHING in the kitchen. He called me over the summer to ask how to make grilled cheese. My parents never taught him how to cook, but they made the effort to teach me and my sister. My boyfriend also complains about how he wasn’t taught either. Granted, they could just learn online or something, but it is interesting that we don’t find the need to teach boys that skill early on.

    Reply
    • bestlittlelion92

      Yea I wish that it was a skill set that everyone would be encouraged to learn instead of relying on women to make the meals. My Dad though he makes dinner for me, he still relies on the women in our family to cook the thanksgiving dinner even if he is the one hosting it.

      Reply
  3. imagineherstory

    My mom has finally given up trying to push me into to the kitchen to learn her recipes and instead brings my best friend, a guy, who actually wants to be a chef in and is teaching him. Don’t you find it interesting however, that the majority of chefs in restaurants are men yet, it is still a typically expectation for women to do the cooking? It’s as if even in areas that women are “supposed” to do they can only perform them at a basic level so as not to encroach on men’s territory.

    Reply

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