People never seem to tire of discussing the role of women versus men in the kitchen. There are books, columns and incessant panel discussions on the subject. While there are some hard truths -- such as the fact that the restaurant industry is largely dominated by males -- there are obviously many talented, hardworking and dedicated female chefs. That last sentence shouldn't even have to be written, except for the fact that a new ad for "MasterChef Australia" (embedded below) seems to have set feminism back at least several decades. But it isn't just females that should be offended by this ad -- males are also reduced to silly, out-of-place archetypes as well.
Here's the ad in full for your viewing [dis]pleasure:
Now, let's dissect several of these lines:
"The average woman cooks 1,000 meals per year. Men can't compete with that." Let's first note that this woman is described as a "1950s housewife," a title that she presumably is cool with, given that she seems to certainly be going for the old women-belong-in-the-kitchen notion. After all, 1,000 meals per year comes out to about 2.7 meals per day, which certainly is a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Also, where is that stat even from?
"All the top chefs in the world have one thing in common. They're all men!" So it's pretty clear from this line and the previous one that the women competing in this show are considered home cooks, whereas men are given the loftier title of "chef." Also note that the men appear to be barbecuing, because nothing says "I'm a talented chef" like throwing some raw meat on the grill. [No disrespect to people who barbecue -- it certainly does take skill, it just doesn't represent how most male chefs cook daily].
"Men are more experimental. A woman can multitask." Alright, this is just dumb.
"Women are better at presentation. We're used to grooming ourselves." So because women brush their hair, they can create prettier dinner plates...? Also, so glad that "Daddy's Little Princess" is participating in this. But what happens when the hot stove ruins her manicure?!
"When a man puts his mind to a job, it always turns out better." Are they actually claiming that men are better than women at...everything?
"Men should really stick to barbecues. You know, the simple stuff." Hahaha men are dumb this is soooo funny.
From there, the lines just turn absurd...like the Men's team claim that men have better focus and the Women's team claim that men are only good at one dish (how does that even make sense?).
People have been upset recently about the demise of quality food television, claiming that too many shows are more about entertainment value rather than good food. If there was any doubt that that was the case, "MasterChef Australia" has succeeded in putting the nail in the coffin. You know who makes a good chef? Someone that doesn't stoop to silly gender divides as a meaningless construct to determine how good his or her cooking is.