A group of adolescent boys and young men participated in the #BeFree Cook-off event in an open area set-up at Droombos Camelthorn Garden in Windhoek on 23 November 2022.
#BeFree Cook-off event aimed to break the gender myths and stereotypes concerning food preparation and household cooking by teaching adolescent boys and young men how to cook, all thanks to the guest chef Ralf Herrgott who instructed and guided the men’s cook-off presentations for the night.
The saying, “a girl who is not exposed to foreign kitchens thinks that her mom is the best cook in the world” alerts men to enduring gender role stereotypes to reminisce about its effects. Society’s prejudice of how gender roles should be like include the common one that men shouldn’t be involved in food preparation and household cooking.
Gendering of cooking
In general, men are not associated with food preparation and household cooking, hence in some cultures, men do not cook at all. A study on the changes in the gendering of cooking from 1997 to 2012 in four Nordic countries in retrospect showed how food preparation and household cooking had been assigned to women, and cooking has been linked to the female gender.
The study has shown how the gendering of cooking changed from 1997 to 2012. Men’s cooking has increased and women’s cooking has decreased over the period studied.
In addition to that, the results from the study indicated varying results among men in social classes. Men in the middle class were already cooking in 1997. However, men’s cooking from the working class and upper classes only started increasing considerably from 1997 to 2012 so they had caught up with the middle-class men.
Yet, the most recent survey of 2015 shows that women still cook more than men – the average hours per week spent on cooking by women tops at 7.6 hours while men count lower at 5.0 hours.
Male cooking benefits
If men develop skills in food preparation and household cooking, it will create a sense of independence for men not to entirely rely on women for food preparation and household cooking.
The First Lady of the Republic of Namibia, in her frank conversation with Salomon April, the governor of Hardap, emphasised that men will become independent when they can cook, and helping to reduce cholesterol diseases associated with junk foods that men who cannot cook mostly eat.
*David Junias is a researcher and loves to write in his leisure time. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org