Embodiment of Gender in Food

What is the physical experience of doing gender in a kitchen?

You are invited to participate in my ongoing research project exploring the embodiment of gender in foodwork. In this project, we are putting the theory of performative gender into practice: When I do a foodwork task (chopping vegetables, for instance), how am I ‘doing’ gender?  Am I performing gender in the way I hold my knife, in my stance, in the noise I make while chopping?  If you are intrigued by these questions, consider taking 10 minutes to reflect on your gender performance in the kitchen by participating in this research activity.

To participate in the project, download the recording and listen to it as you perform a routine kitchen-based task.  As you perform the task, the recording will guide you in a reflection on your physical experience, with opportunities to sense for how gender is embodied in your actions.  Previous participants have had the most success choosing a foodwork task that they do regularly so they can focus their attention on their bodies, but choose whatever activity works best for you. Your task could be anything that you can perform for the full 10 minutes of the recording: peeling potatoes, setting the table, stirring soup, sifting flour, wiping the counter, chopping an onion, etc.  Once you have completed the activity, feel free to share your reflections and feedback on this website, and to share the activity with others.

This project is still in its pilot phase, and I am looking to constantly refine the project to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible.  Some people may be made uncomfortable or upset in a meditation on the physical embodiment of gender; please know that it is not my intent to make anyone uncomfortable or upset. If you do not enjoy the experience, or do not find it meaningful, by all means, stop the activity at any point.

Once you’ve done the mediation, I’d love to hear about your experience.  Share your thoughts and feedback here!


Here’s the audio for the guided meditation:


Want some more information? Read my theoretical grounding for the project here.