I go to a fairly progressive co-ed school in Northeast Ohio. We just implemented this new crazy schedule where no period is less than sixty minutes long, and there is going to be a three week period where we take only one class ALL DAY LONG. Yet, beneath this shiny, new agey exterior there seems to creep some weirdly archaic views of women.
These ideas presented themselves recently in the form of a few delicious and gooey pieces of fudge.
“Fudge” you say. “How can fudge be sexist? Fudge is chocolate. Fudge is goodness. Fudge is right.” Ah yes. How I wish. Yet, this fudge of sexism has a very specific purpose, a specific meaning. It is part of an old school tradition.
Before a football game a boy on the football team asks his girlfriend (or for lack of a girlfriend a girl he is interested in or just a friend) to make him fudge. Now, okay that sounds bad, but you’re wrong. It’s worse. “Making him fudge” doesn’t entail making fudge for just your boyfriend or your buddy. If you are asked to make fudge and you accept, you are expected to make fudge for the entire football team. That’s a lot of fudge.
My cousin, let’s call her Jane, is dating a senior on the football team, let’s call him John. So, last week he asked Jane to make fudge. She accepted, and proceeded to freak out for the three days until the day her fudgely duties arrived. The girlfriend who went before her made three kinds: chocolate, peanut butter, and double chocolate. Jane didn’t know what to do. She needed to make awesome fudge, for John’s reputation and her own. It’s no secret that the football team judges girls based on the quality of the fudge. It’s not a lasting judgement, a joke that fades, but no one wants to be associated with bad fudge. In a panic Jane baked a trial run (illegal under the never written down but well known Fudge Rules). Sources told her she had nothing to worry about, so she then spent Rosh Hashanah baking four trays of fudge. When we saw her that day at services she smiled tiredly, and told us of her new fudge making prowess. She noticed our salivating and promised to bring us a tray to eat at dinner.
I’m not going to lie. It was awesome. Yet, as I sat enjoying the buttery, sugary, chocolatey goodness, I couldn’t get the aftertaste of patriarchy out of my mouth. What does this fudge tradition imply?
Girls are homemakers. Girls are cooks and bakers and the boys they cook for are warriors who deserve a woman’s love in the form of food.
I don’t think the football boys actively have these thoughts as they eat fudge before games or when they ask their girlfriends to bake. I think their main thought is: yum. Still, these easy stereotypes played up in this tradition need to be laid to rest. Girls aren’t angels of the house anymore. Sure, some girls cook. Some don’t. Girls are fighters and warriors and athletes, not just cheerleaders. Girls should not be judged on their cooking abilities. Welcome to the 21st century.
There is a way to remedy this issue without becoming the Grinch who stole Fudge. It’s simple, possibly fun, and yes I benefit directly. The boys need to bake for the girls. Jane and I are both on the tennis team. When Tennis Districts roll around I will forgive John and the football team all their sexist leanings as long as John bakes our team cookies. It seems only fair. Jane made him fudge. He should make us food as well. Then the tradition becomes about supporting each other- not about some weird fifties housewife, dessert slavery show of affection. And lets be serious, baking cookies for seven girls on a tennis team is way easier than making fudge for 30 boys on a football team. But I want this to happen, and I’m willing to start small.
The tradition doesn’t need to disappear; it needs to change. It’s not about telling off the football players; it’s about creating a new tradition where students of both genders at my school support each other as people and athletes. It’s about baking for each other, showing warm sugary love- free of outdated expectations of the female gender.
More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Feminism, Girls
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Title IX, Gender bias, Sexuality, Equality