A few people messaged me in the past couple of weeks linking me to this new site called 300 sandwiches. It got me thinking – is there a wrong way to date?
The “make me a sandwich” internet meme stems from the mentality that women belong in the kitchen and should serve to their men delicious sandwich meats on demand. It spread quickly as a retort to women users on message boards, internet gaming, or anywhere else it was humorous to find a woman. It is inherently anti-feminist and sexist because it degrades women to sandwich makers and “puts them in their place.” Which is, presumably, the kitchen. You can read more about that here.
The problem that I had with 300 sandwiches was – at first – the jump everyone made on this girl. I believe that it’s important that feminism includes women who want to stay home and cook for their heterosexual life partners. If that’s what you want to do – go ahead and do it. We can’t simplify this discussion to “what she is doing is wrong and she is being degraded” because that isn’t necessarily true. I don’t think I have the right to say that about another human being. I think there is an important balance between recognizing the messages we send and receive about women and traditional gender roles and how these messages are interpreted in the decisions that we make in our own lives.
I initially interpreted 300 sandwiches as an in-joke. I could see myself standing in the kitchen one day saying “yeah well, just see how you feel after I make you 900 sandwiches” and then deciding that I could and would do just that. It might be my illogical love for blogging that would power the challenge (and love of food photography) – but that’s neither here or nor there.
I avoided reading too many other opinions about the site, but I would agree with this sentiment from the author of a website called ordering 300 sandwiches. Presumably made in mocking of the original, and pretty darn funny.
“A marriage is a contract that requires the eager participation of two people, and when even a hint of subservience is laced into the deal, even in a pseudo-joking way, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.” [source]
Ultimately, that’s what I wound it down to. A poor taste in my mouth. Is it her choice to do it? Absolutely. Is it the right choice? Hell if I know. Is her boyfriend a douche? Maybe! (And this is important: After reading some of the blog in passing, I’m not certain I’d be sharing those sandwiches with him.) We shouldn’t disregard the messages involved in making the choices we make in our relationships.
While I think everyone has to choose what kind of relationship is right for them – and certain types of relationships can be right or wrong for me – I think that there are also some aspects of relationships that can be universally right or wrong as well. If I were to break down a strangers relationship and were to find a series of disrespect, minimizing feelings, an imbalance of care or affection, a lack of trust or empathy, or straight out physical or emotional abuse, for instance, I would view that as a “wrong” relationship.