Thursday, June 17, 2010

Misplaced Priorities

I just breezed through this article on

This comment in particular stood out for me:
In a recent article “The Food Movement, Rising,” in the New York Review of Books, writer Michael Pollan makes a strong case that the American family meal is threatened, partly because women are busy with full-time jobs outside the home, but also because “foodwork” is underappreciated in today’s world. In the book, “The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics and Civil Society," author Janet A. Flammang, also argues that we need to change our current views of kitchen duties.

What bothers me the most about this passage, which is the focus of the article, is that the responsibility for food preparation primarily falls on women.  Sure, men grill, but who goes to the grocery store, marinates the meat, prepares the sides, and then cleans up afterward?  I'll give you a hint:  it's usually the same person who agonizes over whether or not to vaccinate their children on schedule, which preschool is the "best" fit for each one, and how to most effectively discipline each child. 
It always burns me to read articles like this that point out how different positive aspects of family life erode after the mother returns to full time work.  Don't get me wrong.  I understand that in our current state of affairs, mothers must go back to work for financial reasons.  I also understand that many mothers choose to work for personal reasons (and her mental health is a perfectly valid reason).  And yes, until recently, women were responsible for childrearing and food preparation.  But you don't throw women under the bus while giving the men a free pass.
I'm talking about quotes like this:
...fathers don't view planning and preparing the family meal as valuable as other duties...
There are plenty of articles explaining why obesity increases, or children's behavior suffers, or what have you because both parents work.  I'd like to read the articles that propose some real solutions.  And I'd also like to know how these researchers plan to change men's attitudes so that we mothers don't shoulder all of the blame anymore.

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