SOC349 – Readings – April 1, 2013
Domestic Divo? Televised Treatments of Masculinity, Femininity and Food By: Swenson
Social institutions have made the kitchen a gendered space where natural feminine and masculine
behaviors are evident (4). While the kitchen was (and continues to be) a female space, there were cook
books in the 40’s and 50’s instructing men how to cook (but they way to cook consisted of a masculine
manner) – preparing MEAT (symbol of masculinity) in the BBQ (goes back to cavemen).
Women cook for family out of care, men cooks in a professional setting for paid labor.
The shows on food network portray white males and white females more prominently.
Shows featuring men as hosts show cooking as:
A way to flex professional muscles
Male hosts make references to their previous professional setting, by wearing their white
chef jacket or making references “This is how I learnt in culinary school”, “Things smoke up
in a professional kitchen” etc.
They also reference “Science” to cooking (science a typically male discipline) p10
CONTRARILY, female hosts portray themselves as domestic cooks preparing meals for
friends and family while wearing an apron, rarely making reference to cooking
Cooking as leisurely entertainment
Male hosts do not discuss the challenges of routinely cooking for a family – but do show
viewers how easy and enjoyable it is to prepare meals for friends and family on occasion
where it is shown as a pleasurable hobby (not something you have to do – like women who
have to cook, and female hosts that show this type of cooking as something you have to do
to keep your family happy).
Some shows like Guy’s Big Bite illustrates a party setting in his show where the room is
amped with music, a full bar, giant TV, pinball machine etc.
Other shows illustrate the aspect of leisurely entertainment through comradely cooking,
where men cook (i.e. BBQ for example) to socialize.
Shows featuring female hosts show cooking as:
Domestic work done for family and friends.
BOTH male and female hosts experience cooking as a journey (where the domestic kitchen disappears) but
both sexes convey different aspects Cooking as a Journey
Females: The purpose of the on the road show is to provide trip-planni