A man in the kitchen is a cause worth celebrating as it's still a rare sight. But finally, we are having a conversation long due that women need a helping hand with household chores, including cooking. Men are finally entering the kitchen and learning to cook, but somehow this always ends up in a mess that requires more effort on women's part to deal with. The sink is piled high with dirty dishes, there is a splatter of slick oil all over the stove and the spillage finds its way to every nook and corner of the cooking platform. After a man is done cooking, his partner, mom or sister then ends up wondering, was it even helpful, or did it somehow put more tasks on her to-do list?
No one comes forward to clean the kitchen
Many moms and dads these days take it upon themselves to teach their sons how to cook as it is a basic life skill and not a gendered duty. But teaching sons how to cook is not enough, the training also needs to include the task of keeping the kitchen clean during and after the chore is done. I have seen it in many homes- while men do cook up a tasty meal, they leave the kitchen so scattered and unorganised that women prefer to cook themselves rather than spending enormous time, effort, and energy to clean and reorganise it. So while boys do come forward to cook, no one will raise a hand to help with the cleaning afterwards.
Why? Because cleaning up a mess is a boring and tedious job. And secondly, tidying up is largely seen as a woman's domain of expertise. So while stereotypes are being squashed in the kitchen, they are not been entirely shown the exit door.
Cleaning kitchen after cooking is unpaid unwanted labour
Women are seen as machines who never get tired. A woman handling the house as well as working is seen as the 'ideal woman' who is put on a pedestal for all the labour she puts in on a daily basis. But they are humans, not robots. They get tired too, both physically and mentally and the worse part is, they are not paid even a dime for all the hard work that they do on the home front.
Expecting someone to pick up your finished utensils is dehumanising as well as establishing the dynamics that women are meant to serve the family. The reiteration of the domestic roles of women in their household often leads to society perceiving them as house machines. Men need to understand that women do not have a choice when it comes to performing unpaid labour, and to create equality every person needs to take turns to perform all sorts of chores.
Suggested Reading: Office Space Like Kitchen For Women To Feel Relaxed? Why?
We need to stop celebrating men for doing the bare minimum which is too little of a help when you compare it to the entire &list=PL7q0plMPm0wvyd-gLBLB56QvkvSCphFhT&index=30&t=3s">burden of duties that falls on women. Mere cooking and leaving everything out of place for women to come and assemble is not really helping. It is putting women in a tough spot where they are expected to praise the men and must also deal with the guilt if they feel what they are doing is not enough.
So dear parents who are encouraging their sons to cook, please teach them that cleaning up afterwards is also an important aspect of performing kitchen duties. Do not try to escape them by playing the gender card, because then we are back to where we started, but with a lot of mess to deal with.
Views expressed are the author's own.