“You Don’t Look Like You Can Cook”


It’s a patronizing and often infuriating comment, usually said by men, though some women are culprits as well. It also makes little sense.


First of all, what does a person who can cook look like? Do they carry pots and pans everywhere? Do they braid their hair with vegetables? Do they carry the permanent stench of meat and sauce? According to our typical Nigerian values, a woman who looks like she can cook is homely. She doesn’t wear a manicure or false nails. She doesn’t wear a lot of makeup or really fancy hair. She is quiet in her personality and extremely low maintenance. She doesn’t love eating out. She is wife material.

It’s amazing that in the 21st century that we still subscribe to this way of thinking. Even though we’ve been exposed to the idea of women as multi-faceted beings who have a variety of interests in a variety of combinations, we still reduce them to tropes and stereotypes.  Yes, that ‘slay queen’ can cook. Or maybe she can’t. Why do you care?


It’s high time that we stopped equating looks with virtue.Homely looking equals virtue and glamazon equals a lack of virtue. By making patronizing comments such as “You don’t look like you can cook.”, you’re essentially saying. “Wow, your interest in your appearance doesn’t make you devoid of life skills? Wow!”


Imagine someone saying to a man, “You don’t look like you can screw on a lightbulb.” It would be called out as an absurd statement.


Cooking is an act, not a dress code, skin tone or appearance and let us not treat it as such.

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