Yes I am a Feminist Part 3: The Kitchen the secret place where eroticism & power lies

Sep 20, 2010 @ 12:53 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 0 Comments

“The erotic functions for me in several ways, and the first is in providing the power which comes from sharing  deeply any pursuit with another person. The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic or intellectual, forms a bridge  between the sharers…”-Audre Lorde from the Essay Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power

This weekend I made a culinary masterpiece. I made chicken and shrimp pasta with Alfredo sauce. Both the chicken and shrimp were well seasoned and when they were married together it was simply divine. Lately I have been exercising serious passion for cooking and I have been playing with recipes and its actually been both cathartic and shocking to me that I have embraced cooking in such a positive manner. Growing up the eldest and only girl-child in my family I never truly felt that I was parented the same way in which my brothers were parented, because of this I harbored resentment for anything that was considered “woman’s work” or anywhere that was designated a “woman’s place.”  With that said the bane of my existence was the kitchen. I hated that space. Everything in that space screamed domesticity and in my mind domesticity was synonymous with slavery. In hindsight I realize how extreme and ridiculous that conclusion was, but in my mind it made sense at the time.

When I first moved out on my own I discovered my real issue with the kitchen, I was intimidated by the kitchen. As women we have all heard the trite saying that a way to a “man’s heart is through his stomach,” if you truly dissect those words what is truly being said that if I don’t cook like an iron chef  that my man is going to leave me for a woman with Paula Dean cooking skills? As women we have to be fabulous, be knowledgeable of sports, bring home the bacon, and make a 7-course meal too? In my mind that was a bit over whelming  and that also further compounded my fear of the kitchen. Being reared in a West-Indian family it appears that a woman’s worth is severely measured by her culinary skills. Therefore from an early age I simply resolved myself to be an academician rather than be Betty Crocker.

Its not until I took a couple of feminist based literature courses in college and I started reading and discussing with other women did I then realize that the kitchen is a powerful space that should not be begrudged. There are many women from all walks of life academics, career women, and “regular” women who love their kitchens and love to cook. The kitchen is a sacred place for a woman. For many women its the only place where she can be left alone and has complete power. It doesn’t matter if a woman is exercising her power in a boardroom or in a kitchen its still POWER. The kitchen is one of the places where a woman can manifest her love for her family, lover, or herself. Recently, I  have been on a quest to eat better and live healthier and therefore I stay away from processed foods and I cook everything I eat to ensure its healthy and I am nourishing my temple with the right ingredients and even when I am making a simple chicken salad it turns into a meticulous orchestrated labor of love. I no longer view the kitchen and cooking as lowly tasks that real feminists don’t engage in. I have read several works from extreme feminists who view anything that appears to be “woman’s work” as tasks that women should shun away from. I think we need to reclaim the power, prestige, and purpose of the kitchen. It can be a slavish place for some women, but for others of us who cook out of genuine love and joy its a liberating place. Feminism is about choices and I chose to reclaim my power one meal at a time.

Categories: Venus vs Mars

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