It’s foolish for me to pretend that being a woman in the kitchen isn’t a challenge. Its a dichotomy, a struggle to balance. Sometimes I hate that it is still an issue. Sometimes, I love that it is still an issue-in that it gives me an opportunity to prove everyone wrong.
How do you know when to put down your guard and when to Put up your Dukes?
I can throw out nasty one liners and curse like a pirate too, but I choose not to. To be honest I have caught myself participating in this on more than one occasion and it just sounds tacky out of my mouth-vulgar. I decided that on this level, I am NOT one of the guys, nor do I yearn to be and I have finally learned to stop trying. I was told 3 times this week that I’m”already one of the guys”- which felt like a big “attaboy”. Silly, yes.
Growing up Circa mid-80’s early 90’s America, we were taught we could become anything we wanted as long as we tried hard enough. I never wanted to let my Bra-burning women’s right’s activist aunts, mothers and grandmothers down. Hence my 8 year stint trying to fit into a “young ball busting female corporate professional” mold in which I didn’t belong. Shoulder pads, Big Hair, Baby Boom, 9-5, stilettos on the feet, tennis shoes in the bag, Jane Fonda, doing it all, kicking butt and taking names, these are the images I grew up with, they shaped who I am.
Now, I’ve chosen a profession in which I am greatly outnumbered by my XY counterparts. It doesn’t scare me, and usually doesn’t bother me. I can lug around 2- 60 lb stock pots, clean the deep fryer, and lift the 50 lb box of veal bones above my head in the cooler along with the rest of them. (Thank you Zuzana bodyrock.tv )All with a french braid and lipstick. My dad taught me that regardless of sex, one should always have a firm handshake. He showed my sister and I that we should be just as physically strong as our counterparts (or my brother), I think this was based more on learning self sufficiency than anything else. But we also learned that we should be comfortable to have doors opened, to have chairs pulled out, and to cross our legs when we sit.
Call me old fashioned, but most of the time I miss chivalry- as long as it is outside the kitchen. That doesn’t make me any less strong, less female protagonist or appreciative of everything our ancestors have done for us.
My biggest fear is putting of an image of being delicate or not working just as hard as one of these guys, so while in my REAL life I appreciate Chivalry (Yes, please open my doors and take my coat.) I don’t appreciate it in the kitchen unless I am in dire straits- I can do it all by myself, Thank-you-very-much. So, it might seem silly to insist on doing these menial tasks all by myself, like lifting the stock pot onto the burner on my own. If I slip just once, if I allow the possibility of a perception in that I can’t do the dirty work on my own, then I feed into the stereotype that I am struggling so hard with everyday. Every move matters, and the buck stops here, dammit.
So, I’ll continue to put up my dukes and keep the roaring to a minimum…. we don’t want to scare anyone, now do we?