When Andrew Hook posted pictures of his two-year-old son’s birthday present on Reddit he thought he was showing off his craftsmanship and his handiwork. But the storm of comments that followedquickly spiraled into a heated online debate over gender roles and how we reinforce them… I wrote an article about it last week:
Mr. Hook bought a used entertainment center from his local Goodwill for twenty dollars. When he was done applying odds and ends, a little paint, some elbow grease, and a fir bit of imagination he had built a deluxe play kitchen for his son. The play center features brightly painted burners, a refrigerator, an oven with a transparent door, and a nice shiny sink. Owen, Andrew’s son, was ecstatic when he received the homemade gift. Unfortunately, it did something else for some of the redditrors who commented.
While there were many positive comments, a great number of people called Hook’s son offensive gay ames, and alleged that the boy’s infatuation with kitchens was demonstrative of homophobic tendencies. Some even chastened Andrew saying he was making his son into a homosexual by encouraging this kind of behavior. The internet knows no social grace… bravely, Andrew Hook took his accusers head on.
His reply was rather blunt: He told off those detractors directly, then proceeded to explain that his son has an ongoing interest in kitchens and cooking. Owen often expressed a desire to help with food preparation at home. When the family visited their local science center and children’s museum the boy gravitated to the children’s kitchen areas. Hook continued on to assert that if his child chose to play with dolls, that would be Owen’s choice, not his. And who really gives a shit? If a boy wants to play with dolls, let him have all the dolls in the world and if a girl wants to play with tools, get her out there and teach her how. Don’t be an asshole, and let people be who they’re going to be…
Besides, Owen is only two. The boy’s been known to get excited about playing with something as mundane as a broom. Driving his point home, Mr. Hook declared that to refuse children toys based on such arbitrary nonsense as “gender appropriateness” (whatever that is supposed to be) will only breed resentment within them. In light of the homophobic slander of those Redditor’s who provoked Hook’s furious and awesome response, it may serve us well to look at a couple of the chefs the public as come to admire. The idea that kitchens are only for women is absurd and is a gender biased slander that just reflects ignorance. I cook for girls all the time, and guess what? They love it. There’s nothing gay about watching a woman get titillated eating a meal you cooked for them. And how about these guys:
Anthony Bourdain brought the public into the very masculine world of the professional restaurant staff when he wrote “Kitchen Confidential.” He has been known to risk more than his reputation filming television shows in places that are sometimes downright hostile. Bourdain is a man’s man, and it was the restaurant business that brought him together with his wife Ottavia. And nobody is about to call out Gordon Ramsay, of “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef” fame, for exhibiting effeminate behavior just because he spends time in the kitchen. That’s how you get the crap beat out of you. Not only does Gordon frequently exercise a vocabulary that is far from genteel, but he regularly competes in Ironman triathlons and marathons with his wife of nineteen years. Go ahead, tell those bad boys they ought to wear pink aprons. Perhaps there is another famous chef on the horizon, but don’t worry about Owen Hook’s choices. His father says there is a tool bench in the works.
Anyway, two-year-old Owen has nothing to worry about. So he likes cooking? Thats AWESOME! because most people like eating good food whether the chef who cooked it is gay or not. I say cook away, my boy! Finding your passion that young leaves you a lot of time to perfect the art.