Let’s Talk – Is A Woman Ever Too Sophisticated To Be In The Kitchen?
It was just a few days ago that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari went on International television and made some rattling comments about his wife’s place being in the kitchen/the other room, in response to her international criticism of his work thus far. As expected, the entire nation hovered over it like bees on honey.
The debate on whether or not women should be stationed in the kitchen went on for days. The feminists saw another opportunity to express their ample knowledge on women’s liberation, some other people just felt it necessary to bring up the topic, is cooking exclusive to women?, I decided it will make a great topic of discussion for the Genevieve audience.
Then the picture of the first lady in the Ferragamo cape went viral and so many comments were defending her saying, she certainly had more to bring to the table than just being in the kitchen, but there was a particular comment that stood out for me, ‘She is too sophisticated to belong in the kitchen’ and that helped me figure the direction I wanted this article to take.
Firstly, I belong to the school of thought that believes a woman should be able to cater to her home and one of the ways to do that is by cooking. Maybe because my mother made it a point of duty to prepare my sister and I for traditional expectations from a man but it has stuck ever since.
However, that does not mean I believe cooking is exclusive to women because I also have two brothers who cook every other meal just as good as I will make them and I have never been mandated to cook solely to please them, my mother believes she taught them the skills for a particular purpose – to fend for themselves most of the time.
When the president made that statement, it was such a terrible thing to say, in the 21st century where women are CEOs of multinational companies, making headlines for life changing opportunities and even becoming Presidential candidates. My question is, how does her achievements/looks make her too sophisticated to be in the kitchen?
Let me rightly put, no woman ‘belongs’ in the kitchen, but that is a topic for another day. What I found very offensive and a bit derogatory is something I feel a lot of men and some women do consciously or unconsciously – they judge your kitchen skills based on your outward appearance. It is a place I am familiar with because I have constantly been at the end of the stick and so that statement struck a personal chord.
So if I may ask, what does it mean for a woman to be ‘too sophisticated to be in the kitchen’, or ‘not look like she knows how to cook’?
Does it mean you can read off their forehead, a woman who is kitchen savvy? or does it mean the women who cook naturally lose their sophistication the minute the aroma of their meal fill the room? I find myself trying to figure that out.
I know tons of women who have booming careers and still find time to cook and cater to their homes, I know women who have juggled their jobs, fulfilled their wife duties and still made out time to look ‘sophisticated’.
I will never understand the reason people think if you have your nails done, your hair is never out of place and you carry yourself like the Queen of England, automatically you avoid getting your hands dirty. You will be surprised the number of women who do all that and still come home to scrub the toilet, do a weekly overhaul of the house, and so on.
If you believe a woman’s outward appearance prevents her from executing some duties, then you are no better than the man who says her place is in the kitchen, because you both share the same myopic view and in your different ways, you are derogatory and condescending.
Let’s continue the conversation in the comment section.