The feminist who wants women to get back in the kitchen
Rosie Boycott, London mayor Sadiq Khan’s food-policy adviser, has suggested that the UK’s obesity problem is partly caused by women ditching their traditional roles as housewives.
The self-proclaimed feminist is leading the mayor’s patronising ‘food strategy’, aimed at improving the health of Londoners. In a recent interview, she said obesity has been ‘fuelled by the fact women work and that we have changed things and we have allowed this huge change to happen’. Boycott even took some of the blame, referencing her involvement with the 1970s feminist magazine Spare Rib: ‘I said “don’t cook, don’t type. You’ll get ahead.” We lost it. Schools gave up cooking. Everyone gave up cooking.’
What a change of heart. Boycott’s call for women to get back in the kitchen is staggering. She is insinuating that women who have chosen to pursue a career should feel guilty about not cooking for their families. Not only that, she is also suggesting that those of us who had working mums were neglected – dubbing us a ‘lost generation’ of overindulged fat people who are too quick to reach for fast food and processed meals.
You would imagine that this sexist argument would rankle feminists. But Boycott’s advice is largely in keeping with the hectoring nature of contemporary feminism. Just like Boycott, feminists are obsessed with telling women what to do, how to dress, what to feel, and now, what to eat.
Of course Boycott is wrong. Feminism isn’t to blame for people getting fat. But it is to blame for producing hectoring, intervening bores like Boycott, who think it’s acceptable to tell women what to do. Feminists of the past fought for women’s freedom to live their lives as freely as men – whether that was in the kitchen or in the workplace. Perhaps Boycott needs to be reminded of that.
Izzy Lyons is a writer based in London. Follow her on Twitter: @LyonsIzzy