Women are involved in food preparation as a result of the pressure from dominant cultural practices which may be viewed as a measure of gender inequality and women’s subjugation in the household. Food preparations and dietary practices have been seen to constitute a natural role for women culturally and traditionally. Most times, food preparation is used to perpetuate unequal gender relations in a family setting however if channelled properly it could serve as a source of employment for women and be used to create a nuisance value for them. From time immemorial it has been observed that women as primary actors are responsible for food preparation in the home and community at large for instance in the Gullah community. In the Gullah community historically both men and women played important roles in preparation and procurement of food items.
Food preparation in Gullah households tends to be gender delineated and organised according to respective tasks. Each successive task tends to be gender delineated for instance both men and women may engage in food procurement which means the man may farm and harvest but it has and would always be the role of the woman to cook. In this community men engage in activities such as hunting, fishing, gardening and meat preparation, some women may also take part if they wish to participate in these activities.
It is important to note that although most men have a little knowledge about cooking in every household, men rarely cook regularly in the household. Women more often take responsibility for cooking and feeding and they appear to be custodians of food rituals and practices which enhances the group’s survival. Women are more likely to be associated with cooking which is gender specific and considered a woman’s domain as a result their daily life have not received much analytical attention and not only have they been largely excluded from the process of knowledge construction and the work of food preparation has also been devalued and rendered invisible because of its dominant view of biological role for women. In Gullah, cultural practices and tradition always leaned towards girls cooking and during church functions women who are known for their skills in preparing particular dishes are usually asked to prepare foods but I have been asking myself why men were not asked to prepare the food. A professor at university of California brought her infant to work so she could nurse the infant during work and her baby was squealing which was interrupting her meeting with a student and she was wondering and screamed ‘where were the children of her male counterparts’.
This her question led to the supposition that the reason why half the doctors, lawyers, accountants and business people are not women is because men do not share domestic chores with their wives. It was observed that a woman does majority of the parenting job most times in addition to taking care of the house. In most marriages, the woman’s job is considered a mere job in contrast to a man’s career. Even when women work in reality her office job is considered as the first shift and after she comes back from work she is likely to continue her second shift. In marriages, men and women come with gender ideologies which are a product of their child hood, habits and culture. Most times every discrimination faced by women have an element of culture. House work is a career and not a woman’s primary responsibility as a mother said Hochschild Arlie who disputed the biological gender oriented presupposition that house work is a woman’s natural role.