25 August 2008

When is a cupcake not a cupcake?

What a silly question, right? What could a cupcake possibly ever be besides a delicious treat? Okay, maybe if it contains raisins or something one could argue said cupcake is dancing dangerously close to muffinland. But would you possibly think a cupcake could be a symbol for domestic subversiveness? Me neither.

We would be wrong, however. I'm not going to go into a lengthy rehash of the article or the Jezebel post about said article. Long story short -- there's a movement across the pond that has younger women embracing the '50s housewife culture as either ironic or empowering and people have their panties in a bunch about it.

Am I now supposed to feel bad because I enjoy cooking and baking? I'm not doing it ironically. I really enjoy baking because it relaxes me. It is very methodical; the measurements must be precise and you often have to do things in a very specific order. After I bake the same recipes a few times, I know it from memory and I can often just do it in a trance. Baking takes my mind off things that are stressing me out. I can just zone out to the rhythm of the kitchen.

And you know what? I get to eat the delicious results and more often than not I share them with my friends and family. Now I'm supposed to feel like a bad feminist because I enjoy this?

Should I feel weird about making dinner tomorrow night for The Boy I Currently Like? Must it be noted that the dinner is also for me? Christ. He's coming over after work and I'll have been at work all day and you know what? People need to eat dinner. Sure, we could order food and then there's no stigma about me cooking (just about who is paying, I suppose). And we do that sometimes. Quite frankly, I prefer to make dinner because it's cheaper and it's healthier. I certainly don't do it because I feel I have to or because he expects it. That's when it stops being enjoyable. Been there, done that, don't want to go there again.

If these ironic/empowered new generation of '50s housewife-lifestyle lovers want to wear frilly dresses and have tea parties, they can go right the fuck ahead. I was under the impression that feminism was all about women being able to choose what they wanted to do or not do. That doesn't mean I have to like that they're doing it in an ironic and possibly mocking fashion -- glamorizing what was actually a really hard existence for a lot of women. It doesn't mean I have to feel like I'm taking my femininity back in the kitchen. They can do what they want and people can read into it what that they want, as well.

Me? I'm going to cook and bake because I need to eat and I sometimes like a sweet treat. I'm going to cook and bake because I like to be a good hostess when people come over to my (not-always-that-clean-because-I-am-not-good-at-the-cleaning-part-of-domestic-goddessry) apartment. I'm going to cook and bake because it's better for me and it's cheaper. And I'm going to cook and bake because I like doing nice things for other people. And if you think that makes me a bad feminist, you can go fuck yourself while I stuff my face with cupcakes.


Emily said...

Uh oh, I unironically baked a cake for a friend's birthday this weekend. It wasn't even out of a box!

Hope I didn't set the women's movement back 50 years.

Anonymous said...

Damn.. now I want a cupcake!

Jess said...

Nice job, Emily. You've screwed us all. I mean, it's not like I baked pumpkin bread on Thursday night to take home for my family because they all love it so much.

Also, I'm so making cupcakes this weekend. I'll save one for you, JP!