Thursday, April 19, 2012


I like to bake, not everyone does, but often don't have the time required to start from scratch.  It's odd the things we judge women by.  I'm old enough to remember Geraldine Ferraro's vice presidential run in 1984, and the news reports of someone asking her if she could bake blueberry muffins.  Is that a requirement for vp candidates? 

So perhaps I am a little oversensitive to references to women and baking.  Mitt Romney kind of stepped in it yesterday when he sat down at a picnic table in Pittsburgh and asked asked if the cookies were homemade.  He looked at one of the women at the table when he asked.  Then he said they probably came from a 7/11 bakery or something.  (see video here from wpxi).  

The optics of this are just bad.  Women may still be the household cook most of the time, but men are a lot more involved with meal preparation than they used to be.  There's no reason to automatically assume a woman was responsible for the food.  Also, why assume something had to be homemade?  When is the last time Romney cooked anything?  Time devoted to baking is a poor measure of a woman's worth.

And why diss 7/11 bakeries?  A lot of people, myself included, have been known to pick up baked goods at mass retail outlets.  As it turns out these particular cookies were from a well-known local Pittsburgh store, the Bethel Bakery.

It reminds me of John Kerry's "cheesesteak moment" in 2003 when he asked for Swiss cheese on a cheesesteak.  Incidents like that just demonstrate that a candidate is out of touch.  Many Americans have bought food at a 7/11 at some point.    Generally speaking national candidates try to fit in with the masses; this won't help Romney in that regard.

It bothers me that questions like "did you make these or pick them up at the 7/11?" still get asked, especially of women.  I like to bake but that isn't my greatest selling point as a person.  I know a lot of women who don't bake and they manage to contribute to society in a number of ways. 

Note to anyone going to a picnic or potluck:  Don't assume women are responsible for the food or that it's okay to look down your nose if something is store bought.  The most acceptable response when people put food in front of of you is "Great!  Thanks!"

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