It's summer–so it's time for liberals to take a swat at the backyard barbecue.
Usually these attacks focus on the horrors of air-pollution from steak sizzle. But Slate writer Josh Brogan has found a new reason why grilling is bad for society: It makes men feel more masculine. And heaven knows, we can't have masculine men! Here's Brogan on the anxiety he feels when he so much as looks at his two-pronged fork:
I’m uncomfortable with the pleasure I take in something so conventionally masculine. Looming over the coals, tongs in hand, I feel estranged from myself, recast in the role of suburban dad. At such moments, I get the sense that I’ve fallen into a societal trap, one that reaffirms gender roles I’ve spent years trying to undo. The whole business feels retrograde, a relic of some earlier, less inclusive era….
On the one hand, there’s the peculiar alchemy of sun and smoke that makes summer days sprawl. On the other hand, it bears the stain of unintentional masculine cliché. Gathered around the coals with beers slung low, we’re all but enacting a myth of the American man, telling a story in postures and poses. No longer mere Ph.D. students, we have become bros.
Like all good liberals, Brogan blames the conjunction of seared meat and manliness on mega-corporate capitalism and its sinister advertising octopus:
Where women felt “they could just use their stoves,” men could be more easily persuaded to try out a new device. Adweek’s Robert Klara traces a direct lineage between these early commercial overtures and more recent ones. “Whether the product is a Swift-brand T-bone in 1960 or a Weber S-470 today,” Klara writes, “the man at the grill has always served up the branding.”
And of course gender discrimination has got to be in there somewhere:
Unlike most other traditionally “feminine” forms of domestic cooking, grilling typically happens outside, and hence in the public sphere. The putatively masculine quality of grilling may derive in part from the old public-private gender split. In that sense, it shares a common cause with the belief that women belong in the home.
Now, Brogan might strike you as a great big (roasted) wienie who ought to go back to grad school and stay there. But that's because you actually believe that masculinity is a good trait in a man. Silly you. You're about as out of date as lighter fluid.