03 March 2010

Feminist home cooking and various sundries

Slate's XX has issues, but I'm subscribed to their RSS for this sole reason: Amanda Marcotte writes for them occasionally. After reading her defense of taking time to cook from scratch, I was linked to a post of hers in which she take Pollan to task for trying to shame women into the kitchen to save the health of the nation.

As a feminist foodie, I am ambiguously uncomfortable with foodie culture, which was the topic of the XX debate. Some women were writing that foodie culture is overbearing, elitist, and has a standard most actual women who shop in real grocery stores simply cannot achieve. Which is a little true, but cooking from scratch is not actually that hard. I'm a very lazy chef, and I have very little free time on my hands. I still think, like Amanda, that cooking is a good use of my time; it's one of the few activities I can do where I get to chill out, destress, and also produce something worthwhile. I also pick up and drop craft hobbies, like crosstitching, jewelry making, and scrapbooking, but none of those produce anything as delicious and useful as wine-flavored cream sauce. I disagree with the sanctimonious tone of some foodie culture, the dismissal of young folks who like to make bread from scratch as time-wasters is no less judgmental.

And I agree with Amanda that cooking from scratch can be a feminist act. I often get odd looks from friends and acquaintances when I tell them that I like to cook and bake from scratch. As though I hurt my feminist cred by cleaning my bathroom or making boeuf bourguignon. Which I find a little puzzling; since when is eating frozen pizza and canned soup feminist? Certainly, as Amanda says, the domesticity trend has an antifeminist side, but baking break when I like baking bread is not a betrayal of my feminist principles. I don't cook or bake from my partner (who hardly even notices the difference between canned and homemade spaghetti sauce), any children, or my friends. I cook for me, because I love food and I like making it.

Various sundries:

Some douchebags in Bristol, VA are passing around a pamphlet shaming women for dressing too slutty. A memorable quote:
Scripture tells us that when a man looks on a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery in his heart. If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin. By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly. So can we really say they were innocent victims?

Latoya Peterson claims that fat-shaming is "the new Millennium bloodsport". Truer words, my friends. The commenter I like the most:
I'm convinced the pillar of American culture is just stone cold judgment. Puritans FTW!
That is my new pet theory about why people are such assholes.

A survey asked couples trying to avoid pregnancy whether how they would feel if they accidentally got pregnant. The really fucking odd results:
Forty-three percent of young men responded that they would be “a little pleased” or “very pleased” by the news; only 20 percent of women answered the same. Men also proved more comfortable with an unplanned pregnancy at an earlier age: Thirty-four percent of men 18-19 said they would be pleased. By the time they reach age 20-24, 42 percent of men said they would be pleased. And over 50 percent of men aged 25-29 would be pleased by the news. Remember: this is only among men who deemed it “important” that a pregnancy not occur at this junction.

Meanwhile, the percentage of women who would be “pleased” by an unplanned pregnancy stays steady at a low 16 percent all the way from age 18 to 24. By the time women reach the 25-29 age range, the percentage of “pleased” women soars to 29 percent. Despite the jump, women in their late 20s still lag behind their male counterparts by 22 percentage points.
Amanda speculates as to why.

Finally, the Center for Public Integrity did a study about rape on college campuses, concluding that not only do the vast majority of rapes go unreported (95%), rape victims who do report the crimes often get no justice. Rapists are often given a slap on the wrist, and hardly ever face suspension or expulsion. Huffington post reports on a case study here at Texas A&M.