Narratives of progress: cooking and gender equality among Swedish men
2015 (English)In: Journal of Gender Studies, ISSN 0958-9236, E-ISSN 1465-3869Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Feminist food studies have repeatedly identified a dichotomy of ‘masculine’ self-oriented cooking as leisure and ‘feminine’ other and care-oriented foodwork (meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up after meals). However, recent research suggests that there is a great deal of variety and contradiction in men’s accounts of their cooking practices. For example, men may find cooking a tedious and stressful responsibility and foodwork a fatherly duty. This article draws on interviews with 31 Swedish men from 22 to 88 years of age, and explores stories about cooking and foodwork as part of their everyday lives and their life transitions and how these relate to broader notions of food and gender equality. The data illuminating the men’s stories can be synthesised into two narratives of progress: a narrative of progress in gender equality in Sweden, where men’s participation in household labour has become taken for granted, and a narrative of culinary progress among Swedish men in general and among some of the interviewed men themselves. We agree with previous scholars who have argued for a reconsideration of the simplistic picture of men’s cooking as only being for the self and for leisure. We further show how the men express foodwork as a self-evident responsibility, regardless of whether the men find it fun or not, and that a desirable masculinity is represented by a man whose cooking skills have progressed beyond the survival level and who is more gender equal than what are perceived to be less-progressive men from previous generations and foreign cultural backgrounds.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Men, masculinities, foodwork, cooking, gender equality, progress narratives
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133621DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2015.1090306OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-133621DiVA: diva2:967900