Cooking, she told me, is a way of oppressing women.

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Feminism
Tags: , , , , ,

Sometimes, I really need to step back, examine my insane life, and appreciate it. I don’t know why I run across so many loons, from tharkis to OBL fans to God knows what else, but there you have it. My life, people. All this on top of my studies and university politics which I always avoid and somehow get embroiled in.

But of all the strange things to hear, being told that cooking is a way of oppressing myself as a woman just takes the cake. This is how it started. For about the past 8 years or so, I have this tradition where I make breakfast for my dad on Father’s Day, and dinner for mom on Mother’s Day. My dad’s birthday is on the 18th, so he’s a total child about his two consecutive special days. Sometimes, I bully him into going out for breakfast, but this time, I decided to stay in.

So a few days later, I was discussing what we did for Father’s Day with a friend of mine, and I told her that I made my dad breakfast. All of a sudden, she goes really quiet. Then she responds with, “Ghausia, do you cook for your dad often?”

Well duh, is the only response I can give to that. Here’s something I don’t normally mention a lot, my family’s delhiwalas, at least a weaker version of them. The only thing we have in common with proper delhiwalas in fact, is the food. I grew up surrounded by different aromas wafting throughout the house. Yes, I realize other people did as well. I’m pointing this out specifically because delhiwalas are known for being excellent cooks, plus we love to cook as well. Since I was ten, I’ve been cooking on my own, I learned everything I know from my mom and aunt, and lets face it, I’m a fat chick, I like my food. my friends and family love my cooking as well, so I’m always cooking, but seldom for myself. 😀

So then this girl tells me, “Ghausia, don’t you realize that by cooking so much, and even that for a man, you’re confining yourself to the role of a submissive female whose place is in the kitchen? You’re a step back for women everywhere. You’re always acting like a feminist, going on and on about equal rights, but you’re the one who’s the worst thing that happened to feminists.”

Its very rare for me to actually be stunned speechless, but this was one of those times. What do I even say to such an accusation? I mean, I’ve been on the receiving end of psycho-fems before, being that I used to be the typical Pakistani female when it came to marriage and self-confidence and going out and shit, but this was truly staggering for me.

My explorations on Twitter have introduced me to a lot of really great women who work for women’s rights in Pakistan. I used to abhor feminists-maybe it was something to do with them yelling “WHY MUST YOU SHACKLE YOURSELF IN THE CHAINS OF MARRIAGE AND PATRIARCHY?!” at me so much, or mocking me for being daddy’s little girl- but despite that, I was well aware that these women were not what feminism is all about. Hell, I’m beginning to realize I’m pretty feminist myself, to my chagrin.

But be that as it may, I am dead certain that no sane feminist would ever tell you that your hobbies are a self-imposed prison of patriarchy and submission. Forget feminists, no one in their right mind would think that.

This isn’t even the first such “feminist” (and I use that termloosely)  I’ve come across. Like I mentioned before, my low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence, combined with a lifetime spent around girls, had me very timid and shy. Hell, I still am shy, but I remember how terrified I was when I first started attending uni. However, I think it took me about half a semester to be comfortable in my skin. But during that time, there were plenty of opinionated girls telling me that I was confining myself by not talking to boys, that I was imposing a prison upon myself by doing so. In fact, even now, I’m told the same thing simply because I have more female friends than male. I’m encouraged to talk to more boys because its my right to do so. I already talk to the guy friends I have nonstop, I can’t handle any more friends, do you know how difficult it is to juggle so many friends?!

Then, there’s the fact that I used to be pretty pro-marriage. I had my perfect wedding planned out (if you’re lucky, you’re on my FB friends list and can see the note where I described it :D) I had the guest list and food down, typical girly stuff. I got a lot of pitying looks for that, a lot of sad head-shaking and becharis since I wasn’t priveleged enough to think marriage was beneath me.

Its deeply saddening that such individuals exist at all. Instead of having this weird form of extremist mentality, I wish such women understand the concept of equal rights, because God knows we could all use more women working towards that goal in Pakistan. But if you think that by cooking, by cooking for your dad or a male friend, by enjoying cooking, you’re being misogynistic, or you’re obstructing equal rights for women, then honey I’m sorry, but you need to go look up feminism in the dictionary, and understand what it truly means to be a feminist.

  1. Amna says:


    That girl be crazy.

    I love to cook. I’d do it more often if it weren’t so hot…and the ingredients I want not as hard to find (I realllllyyyyyyyyyy want to make chimichangas and burritos and tacos and nachos with guacamole and sour cream but there’s no way, FML)…and omg I love food. Food is the best. I’ve started exercising too though, because I actually want to fit in my clothes again. It’s been three days. I’ll tell you how that goes.

    • Ghausia says:

      I’m pretty sure she is. 😀

      Duuude! I make burritos and tacos all the time, and nachos is a staple at family gatherings! its not ethnic Mexican, I know, but its still pretty good. We get jalapenos here, sour cream, salsa, even nacho chips, omg I so want to make my famous chili for you now. 😀 And yeah, I cut down on the cooking in the summer as well, but during the winter I go insane, plus the sardi is for such a teensy period of time that I’m frantic to cook as much as possible while the weather’s pleasant.

      Its been four days since my vacation started and my mom finally brought up the gym reference to me today. 😀 I’m doing my best to get out of it, I’ll tell you how that goes.

  2. I like me some “oppression” of a sunday afternoon with nothing to do. ^_^

    Okay that sounds perverted to my ears. I meant cooking!

    I even embroider too sometimes. [*gasp* *shock* *horror*]

    • Ghausia says:

      Hayee you embroider?! So cool! I used to like making things out of beads when I was little, my dad used t oget me a new set of beads from every business trip. I still have my favorite necklace with me. 😀

      I used to be a totally generic girl man, my school fucked me up. 😀 Thank God I went to college to DCW, where there were girls that weren’t studying just to get married.

      We should talk offline kise din or something so I can tell you about the pardaposh khawateen that came to see me, the thing I’m always referencing to. God that was horrible.

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