The Restaurant World Is (Still) Sexist
Time magazine has pissed off the international restaurant world. They’ve alienated female chefs. Oh wait—they forgot them altogether. The recently released November issue is titled “Gods of Food: Meet the People Who Influence What (and How) You Eat.” A bro-centric series of culinary stories about key influencers in food, the content includes a list of 13 “Gods of Food” (no female chefs made the cut) and a visual “food family tree” of heavy hitters who have pioneered the current restaurant scene. You won’t find ladies in there, either.
Like a bad train wreck, Time issue editor Howard Chua-Eoan—the dude who edited this entire package—recently engaged in an offensively revealing interview with Eater’s Hillary Dixler to explain the sausage-heavy content. When asked about including groundbreaking female chefs to the “family tree” flow chart, Chua-Eoan responded, “the chart came about because men still take care of themselves. The women really need someone—if not men, themselves actually—to sort of take care of each other.” The chart failed to include key influencers like Alice Waters, Barbara Lynch, Anita Lo, Elena Arzak, April Bloomfield, Clare Smyth, and Dominique Crenn, for starters. And when it couldn’t get any worse, he added that the Time editors, “did not want to fill a quota of a woman chef just because she’s a woman. We wanted to go with reputation and influence.”
The issue and Howard Chua-Eoan’s recent interview are revealing by-products of the pervasive sexism that continues to exist throughout all aspects of the culinary world. Or in the words of New York chef Sarah Jenkins, “the relentless circle jerk between the media, PR agents, and the chefs or countries who employ them than any kind of reflection on what’s truly happening out there in the real world.”
London chef Margot Henderson—chef and co-owner of Rochelle Canteen, and wife of chefFergus Henderson—decided to call bullshit. Here’s her response to Time, the reality of women in the kitchen, and why she believes media will continue to promote men before women.
David Chang, René Redzepi, and Alex Atala look quite charming on the cover of Time, don’t they? I think that most of these chefs set out to become famous, putting themselves in front of newspapers. I think that women are getting on creating great restaurants, but men feel that they have to change the world. Australian chef Stephanie Alexander has one of the top restaurants in the world. She has now—admittedly—stopped cooking, but the people that she has taught are incredible. Her cookbooks are incredible. That’s the thing: women are better food writers than men, aren’t they [laughs]? And they often stop because they’re so successful and brilliant at writing books when the men aren’t [laughs]. That Time editor… what a wanker? To not even include Alice Waters in this piece? It’s pretty shocking.
If you think about it, women didn’t really start working in kitchens in the culinary world until about fifty years ago. We’ve got women like Angela Hartnett and Joyce Molyneux, one of the first female chefs to win a Michelin star. Angela is one of the chefs that influenced a whole generation of young men who went on to have great careers. Maybe men are better at taking? They recognize the good things that they’re doing and go with it. In all of these media focused articles, they’re often based on geography. Ferran Adrià is an amazing chef who has undoubtedly influenced food in this generation. David Chang is great, and so is René Redzepi, but it’s just that the hard hitting punch line of tacking the name “Gods” on the cover of Time, and the Time editor’s recent interview where he alludes to not including women—on purpose—is offensive.
What Not to Wear This Halloween
Oh, Halloween. The worst night to get a cab and the best night to take home a slutty Disney princess. Is it really a holiday, since we don’t get the day off from work? Of course it is, because when else could you get nudity in massive quantities, enough facepaint to excuse you for bringin home a five, and cauldrons full of shame the next day.
Before you skank-it-out at a house party, leave your credit card at the bar, or turn into a weirdo roaming graveyards, you’ll have to pick out a Halloween costume interesting enough to spark a conversation with that five. You’ll have to navigate the thin line between offensive enough to be clever and overcompensating with complete stupidity. For those not smart enough to use all three digits of their IQs, we’ve brought you a guide on what not to wear on Halloween, so when you only pick up your sexy pizza-slice costume off the floor the next morning and not also your dignity.
Who sells that? Amazon.
What’s it supposed to be? A “realistic black Kenyan man”—perfect for doing the Harlem Shake (um, what?).
Why shouldn’t I wear it? It’s racist.
What kind of person wears that? A bigot.
Who makes that? aleXsandro Palombo, for his website humorchic.com; a “daily society portrait blog, the best illustrated fashion chronicle, a point of view about costume, politics, culture, society, and celebrity. aleXsandro Palombo is the father of fashion satire, visionary artist, author, and critic.”
What’s it supposed to be? It’s a T-shirt of Amanda Knox holding a bloodstained knife.
Wasn’t she acquitted of murder? Yes.
What kind of person wears that? The kind of person who believes they are the “father of fashion satire.”
Insane Clown Posse Is Being Sued for Sexual Harassment
Once I started writing about Juggalos, it became very difficult for me to stop defending them both to my friends and on this site. Every little bit of news from the world of Insane Clown Posse’s hardcore fans—They’re suing the FBI! There’s a Facebook for Juggalos! Some Juggalos covered Ariel Pink!—gave me an opportunity, which felt like an obligation, to try to find some way to defend those scrappy Faygo guzzlers to the world. This attitude really set in after I took Danny Brown to last year’s Gathering of the Juggalos—everyone on the festival’s staff, and Juggalos generally, were unbelievably nice to us the entire time. Since then, I’ve been generally pro-Juggalo, which is not always an easy position to take.
When I was at the Gathering, I met Andrea Pellegrini, who was acting as ICP’s publicist and legal counsel. She was the one who hooked me up with my press passes and drove me around the festival grounds in a weird little golf cart. Pellegrini told me she’d started working for ICP a few years ago, and it’d been “a wild ride so far.” She also gave me probably the best advice I got the whole week: if a Juggalo says “woop woop!” to you, you sure as hell better say it back. She was courteous and helpful, though maybe a little stressed out from handling PR at an event that looks more like a lost Salò blooper reel than an annual music festival.
This week, some of the less savory details of her “wild ride” became public, as Pellegrini filed suit against ICP and a handful of staffers at their record label, Psychopathic Records, in Oakland County circuit court. She cited “a consistent culture of sexism and sexual harassment,” and accused them of wrongful termination and infliction of emotional stress, among other things.
According to Pellegrini’s 17-page, 86-count formal complaint (which you can read in full below), her four-year tenure as an ICP employee was marked by “constant and pervasive harassment… including having a large dildo given to her while at work, and being presented with ‘vagina tighteners.’ [She was] mocked, belittled, and the subject of sexual advances from top level persons at ICP’s label, Psychopathic Records.” In addition, Pellegrini was “asked to do illegal and/or unethical things at her job, including [being asked] to obtain automatic tommy-guns for a photo shoot.” According to the statement, she refused to break the law, and when she reported the sexual harassment she was unceremoniously canned.
The details of the document make for some pretty crude reading. Pellegrini was repeatedly called a “bitch” and a “cunt” by her supervisors, and a coworker named Dan “Dirty Dan” Diamond pulled her hair, told her he “had a fat cock,” and said he’d “like to fuck her.” This guy also gave her a dildo in a velvet bag for her birthday after learning via Facebook that she’d recently become single. The allegations go on and on, and even include things I didn’t know existed, like “vagina tighteners.”
Andrew Dice Clay and His Spectacular Wrongness
If the name Andrew Dice Clay has any significance to you, it is, inevitably, as the blockheaded, spectacularlyleathered obscenity-dispenser who once looked like some combination of Mad Max and Liberace, who now looks like the guy who lives downstairs from your grandmother and can get you a great deal on calling cards. The perfect avatar for all that slimy, bicep-smooching late-80s male machismo, slicking his hair back in every reflective surface, winking at girls in skirts and when the girls snort in disgust he holds up his arms with a “WHATS-A-MATTA-HONEY?” and then tugs on his crotch and lights another cigarette. The definitive representation of the swaggering, filthy, bombastic “I’M HERE, WATCH WHERE YOU’RE WALKING” New York City, a place memorialized in heavy-handed Spike Lee montages, scored to car horns and relentless come ons, all intolerance and impatience and flamboyance, every accent like bad parody.
Andrew Dice Clay is that man. He is so that man. He is throwing you against a motel minifridge and he is chewing the button off of your jeans. He is shouting in your ear as you place his takeout order, and he is telling you to make sure they don’t forget his extra fucking ketchup, sweetheart. But he is also something else. In a sense, Andrew Dice Clay is the greatest comedian you’ve never heard of.
You’re a Pussy if You Think There’s a War on Men
For some men, women—especially feminists—are terrifying. Not in the normal oh-my-God-I-can’t-ask-her-out-what-if-she-says-no way that middle schoolers and characters on Friends experience, but “afraid” in the sense that women will take their money, try to get pregnant on purpose, invent false rape claims, and use feminism to generally abuse men. In this narrative, men are either an oppressed minority (or about to become one), or have to “fight back” against feminists to preserve their rights.
If you want to see what this kind of thinking looks like, take a dip into the river of the Men’s Rights section of Reddit, where a bunch of dudes go to complain about getting raped by women and talk gibberish about how their “clans” are getting attacked by “Statism and Feminism.” Currently, some of the most popular posts on the subreddit include a complaint about how if you owe more than $2,500 in child support payments you can’t get a passport (in the Men’s Rights universe, deadbeat dads are often victims of a misandrist court system); adiscussion, inspired by a Walking Dead plot point, about how getting beaten up is worse than being threatened with rape; an account of some guy squabbling with an obscure feminist blogger (these guys are always getting into internet beef with feminist bloggers, and vice-versa); and a screenshot of some gobbledygook about patriarchy that probably sounded smart to the high-schooler who wrote it. Like a lot of Reddit, the Men’s Rights forum is a way for predominantly white, predominantly rich young men to pat themselves on the back for how smart they are. It gives them something to do, I guess, and it gives the Shit Reddit Says subreddit something to react against.
But the idea that feminism is harmful to men, and women have declared war on people with penises, isn’t confined to Reddit’s nether regions anymore. It’s now mainstream enough for Fox News’s website, which published an awful, troll-baiting op-ed about “The War on Men” written by Suzzanne Venker. Her thesis is that while women want to marry men, men don’t want to marry them because, “Women aren’t women anymore.” She goes on:
“Women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.
Now the men have nowhere to go.”
What she’s describing is a pretty standard anti-feminist narrative: The evil feminists “convinced” women to want things like the same careers and pay and power that men had (they didn’t really want these things, see, but they were persuaded otherwise), thereby causing them to lose the status they were too short-sighted to have valued.
Many of us like to think that we’ll stand strong and act decisively during a crisis, but until we’re put in one, it’s impossible to know we’ll react. That conflict may affect how we view victims of sexual harassment, according to new research.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer McCreight
Being an atheist is a hassle, but being a lady atheist can be the pits. Not only do you have to deal with Christians saying you’re going to hell all the time, your beliefs will undoubtedly put you in close proximity with “enlightened” male unbelievers who will unabashedly hit on you and maybe even make rape jokes because, well, there’s no God to punish them. Atheist blogger Jennifer McCreight became well versed in godless misogyny when in 2010 she devised a stunt called “Boobquake” via her blog that called on women to dress immodestly for a designated day (April 26) in response to Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi’s claim that things like female cleavage and bare legs cause earthquakes. Of course, Boobquake went viral. The unfortunate by-product was that Jennifer’s instant internet fame resulted in a deluge of hateful, misogynistic emails from fellow nonbelievers.
Once again she took to her blog to respond, authoring a post that called for a “new wave” of atheism that concerned itself with feminism and social justice. And again Jennifer’s ideas exploded all over the insular, male-dominated world of atheism blogs. This led to her setting up an online forum that concerns what has come to be known as “Atheism+.” She plans to continue what she’s doing without compromise, despite objections from the same sort who said nasty things about her boobs. I called her up to see how the fight was going.
VICE: When did you begin getting hassled by sexist atheists?
Jennifer McCreight: When I first started going to atheist conferences, I was warned to avoid certain speakers because they were known for going after younger women. I was often approached after I gave talks, and people would make really lewd, sexual comments to me or basically be talking to my chest.
Then you wrote the post that begot Atheism+.
I basically said that we have to fight back against this. We need to make our own space where we don’t tolerate that kind of discussion or people trying to silence each other with really hateful things. I was actually surprised to see that people were excited about it.
It’s been pretty divisive—I’ve read some blogs that really don’t like the idea of Atheism+, or the message board you’ve created around it.
The people who have been really hateful in the past are obviously pretty cranky about it. They see it as being exclusionary toward white people or men, but that’s really not the point. We have a lot of white men who are happily participating. It’s a space where we can talk about feminism, race, or social-justice issues, and not have people come in with slurs or threats. I think some people feel threatened by that.
Is it fair to say that, on the whole, atheists aren’t that crazy about feminism?
I think, for some people, atheism is the one minority identity they have. They’re not gay, they’re not black, they live in the United States, and a lot of them are middle-class or higher. Being an “atheist” is the one thing that they take on as their cause, and they think it’s the most important because it’s the only one that affects them. It puts their priorities out of order a little bit. Once you’ve figured out God doesn’t exist, that’s great! But there are other irrational things you might believe in, like sexism.