I don’t mind tucking into cooking reality television shows with my dinner every night. After a long day, it’s sometimes comforting to watch people sweat over stoves, bicker about biscuits and quake with fear at a mean judge’s raised eyebrow. So I rapidly became incensed as I watched the trailer for Masterchef Australia’s new season, where teams will be split into Men vs. Women.
As a cultural trope, it as old as time. Masterchef itself, as a franchise ever in pursuit of ratings, has to change constantly in order to maintain viewer interest. There’s the Juniors series, where children who look too small to handle knives whip up complicated dishes. There has also been a Professionals series, solely designed to break the spirits of people who already cook for a living. Celebrity Masterchef is a yearly opportunity for the washed-up to invigorate their careers.
So it’s almost not surprising that the brain boxes at Shine Australia have cooked up this fresh hell.
But what’s next? Masterchef Cats vs. Dogs?
Splitting teams along gender lines is bad enough, but Masterchef Boys vs. Girls is here to perpetuate gender stereotypes. The trailer linked above is blatant – pastel pink and powder blue dominate the set and the male and female contestants taunt each other with sex-specific insults.
Man: “Physically, we’re better in the kitchen.”
Woman: “Women are better at presentation; we’re used to grooming ourselves.”
All that was missing was a ‘Get back in the kitchen!’ or ‘Make me a sammich, bitch!’ I assume that eventually someone will actually say those things. And we’re meant to take it as a joke, because jokes are meant to be funny, and gosh, lighten up! [Read more...]