The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Can’t cook, can’t read maps

Oh dear, it seems that not only is it “not unreasonable to suppose that women might be less good at mathematics and physics,” (thanks Stephen Hawking), apparently we can’t cook either.

Irritating British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has declared that women, unlike men, don’t know how to cook these days, and “once declared that he would not employ women in key roles because the menstrual cycle rendered them effective for only three weeks a month.”

And a study has shown women will read novels by both men and women, but men will generally only read novels written by other men. Which is why people like JK Rowling and PD James publish under their initials. (I didn’t realise PD James was a woman, or 85 years old either, but there you go.)

Not that I take the comments of one guy renowned as a great chef but a real tosser, and one guy renowned as a genius but a grump (or a tyrant according to his ex-wife), and think this necessarily says something about society in general. (Actually, if I was Stephen Hawking, I’d probably be pretty damn grumpy too).

But it’s not just comments like these that are bad – sometimes the reaction is just as disturbing. "Women are much more passionate than men in the kitchen and cook from the heart while men are more mathematical, and women don't throw pots and pans."

I’m sorry, but I find that just as irritating as being told that I can’t cook in the first place. It’s just buying into that whole women are nurturing and intuitive, and men are logical and angry and blah, blah Venus vs. Mars blah.

I’m instantly suspicious of anything that attempts to explain the world in terms of a simple dichotomy, as if there were only ever two choices, two ways of thinking or being in any situation – male/female, black/white, left wing/right wing… Can’t we have some nuance in our lives? Some complexity? I reserve the right to be logical, intuitive, emotional, passionate, calm, nurturing, selfish, crap at maths, good at reading maps, a haphazard cook, an occasional risk taker, an over analyser, and a whole lot of other things which I believe have everything to do with being a human and little do with my chromosomes or girly bits.

Anyway, maybe I’m just overreacting. Must be because I’m a girl.