Harbottle - Chapter 10
Food-work is generally construed to be female work and women's
responsibility for the domestic arena, including cooking, has often
been linked with arguments concerning their relative subordination.
Moreover, in the case of Muslim women, research in the fields of
medicine and the social sciences (and even gender studies) has often
been influenced by Orientalist discourses, which tend to construct
Middle Eastern females to be passive and subjugated and their male
counterparts to be uncivilised and ignorant, their masculinity relying
upon a domination of their womenfolk. However, as the previous
section has demonstrated, there may actually exist a considerable
degree of flexibility in Iranian Shi'ite male (and female) roles. This
chapter explores in more depth women's performance of gender
through their food preparation tasks and shows that feeding may in
fact provide a major source of power for these Iranian women.