Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel asks a rather obvious question: “why the fuck are we still making the candidates’ wives bake cookies?” Good question. Apparently, Michelle Obama beat Ann Romney in a cookie bakeoff sponsored by Family Circle. But who the hell cares? And why is this still going on? This actually surprised me:
Believe it or not, the First Lady bake-off started in 1992, not 1952, after a terribly uppity Hillary Clinton remarked that after her husband was elected Governor of Arkansas, she chose to pursue her career rather than “stay home and bake cookies.” America did a collective spit take at her unbridled, raw, unfeminine ambition. Who did this be-pageboyed Delilah think she was, eschewing cookie baking? If every mom in America followed Hillary Clinton’s dangerous example, cookies might nearly go extinct, like the California Condor. If future Americans wanted to show their children what a cookie looked like, they’d have to drive to a zoo. No more cookies in the wild!
Cookie-bakers were offended by Clinton’s remarks because if there’s anyone who is terrible at taking criticism, it’s people who are defensive and insecure about their own choices. News outlets called Clinton’s remarks “careless” and “dumb.” Columnists rushed to defend stay-at-home moms and their choosey choices, saying Clinton’s pointed defense of her own choices was akin to attacking or criticizing them. Shitstorm ahoy!
Something had to be done. Enter Family Circle, that bastion of family-friendly popsicle stick gluing tips, to save the endangered mom-cookie and defend the bruised honor of the stay-at-home mom by going straight to the top and challenging Hillary Clinton to a bake off with First Lady Barbara Bush.
I assumed this had gone on for decades. The fact that it was started by Hillary Clinton is particularly ironic. But I agree with Ryan here, it’s time to end this ridiculous ritual that only helps reinforce the idea that the proper place for a woman is in the kitchen.