Betty Crocker's Bourbon Balls and Feminism
Recently while making dinner, absorbed in a routine set in motion almost eighteen years ago, I couldn’t help but reflect on where I am today. More than twenty years later I am a mother, a role I once thought of as not particularly challenging, nor respected. A job often stigmatized by other women, a job I took on despite myself.
I remember Gloria Steinem’s voice coming out of the tv as a kid growing up in New Jersey. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, quotes like ‘a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle’ seeped into me without much notice. Protests were being covered by journalists. Women were holding signs for EQUALITY and EQUAL PAY. As they marched, their impassioned voices were broadcast into living rooms across America, while I tried to perfect somersaults on our scratchy shag carpeting.
Decades later Feminism has grown to encompass more than voting rights and equal pay. The systematic de-masculinization of men, endless causes and demands have forced me to question the Feminist Movement as well as the impact it’s had on my life. The bite of Steinem’s words still sting ‘housewives are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites’. Even though years ago, I wasn’t particularly interested in becoming a mother, let alone a mother who cooks and gets married, I did. Surprisingly, I landed on my feet despite my decisions. The funny thing is, I’m just fine, but instead of being content with that fact, I feel betrayed. After decades of life experiences, educating myself, pursuing a career, getting married and having children I’m more confused than ever of the Feminist Message and I’m not alone.
Are the differences between a man and woman truly a social construct or simply synergistic? “Gender is socially constructed” serves as a general rhetorical tool for feminists to protest any norms that limit them in ways they feel are outdated or arbitrary. But the argument that gender is socially constructed leads towards conclusions that feminists seldom embrace. After all what is the end game for Feminists? When has the ideology gone too far? If we do away with the social constructs of gender, is the conclusion then that being a woman is the source of oppression? Should we then do away with the female sex?
Going forward, maybe Feminists who are given a platform to inspire change need to to be cognizant of all women, while certain ideologies are challenged regularly and more vigorously on stages of equal visibility.
After all is said and done, if I were given the chance to go back in time and talk to myself as a young woman I would say: “Believe in yourself and follow your dreams whatever they may be; being a mother is an honorable job and nothing to be ashamed of, and men are not the enemy. ”.
On a lighter note, back to the kitchen. I wanted to share this recipe with you. It is from my yet to be released collection of recipes titled The Little Vegan Dessert Cookbook.
These candies remind me of my parent’s holiday parties. Revised from Betty Crocker’s Cooking American Style Cookbook dated 1975. I used a smooth blended whiskey to give them a little extra kick.
-2 cups vanilla wafer cookies crushed fine
-2 cups pecans chopped fine
-2 cups confectioners sugar
-1/4 cup cocoa powder
-3/4 cup blended whiskey
-1/4 cup corn syrup
-granulated sugar for coating
-cocoa powder for coating
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix wafers, confectioners sugar, pecans and cocoa together in a bowl. Stir in the whiskey and corn syrup. Shape into one inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and/or cocoa powder and place on cookie sheet. Transfer candies to airtight container and store for several days before serving.
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