Tuesday, November 16, 2010

feminist cookies

I finished the #$%^ report for Excruciating Faculty Committee, and it got me thinking about hidden service costs. Case in point: cookies.

Here at Tiny U, we have a wonderful weekly potluck tradition. It's a great time to hang out with faculty from around campus, let the kids run around together, and just relax. Faculty try to out-do each other by bringing wonderful dishes to share. Sometimes, Dr. Mr. Palimpsest makes his signature bunt cake, but usually we stop at the grocery store on the way to the party and buy a package of feminist cookies, or some feminist chips and dip, or even a feminist six-pack of beer. Honestly, I like to cook, and I can make some pretty good stuff, but I promised a friend that I would never cook anything for a faculty event.

In grad school, I was friends with an administrator at the university's museum. One evening, she was up at 11pm frying chicken for the museum's end-of-semester party the next morning. She had had a long day, she was tired, she was frustrated, (she was writing a dissertation at the time!). And there she was, standing at the stove, grease splattering everywhere, fuming because every time the faculty got together, the women would cook cheesecake and chicken dumplings and pasta salad, while the men would bring a bag of chips and a 2-liter of coke. Her husband made the mistake of coming in and asking why she was up at 11pm frying chicken, and she had a complete breakdown, crying and screaming.

The next day, she made me promise never to bring anything to a faculty event that I hadn't bought at a store. She called this her "feminist statement" (hence, "feminist cookies").

Honestly, whether you're male or female, you may be surprised how much taking that little pledge can change your life. You don't have to bring sophisticated food that shows off your highly-developed tastes - you're making a feminist statement! You don't have to prove you can cook - you're making a feminist statement! You don't have to feel guilty that you put so little effort into the departmental get-together - you're making a feminist statement!

Try it. The feminist cookie are fine.

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