By: Katharina Vester  

North American TV cooking shows have traditionally depicted gender and sexuality in surprisingly conservative ways. Even today, female hosts may cook for children and husbands in 1950s inspired kitchens, while male hosts prepare their food in bachelor pads for their friends coming over for a game. YouTube cooking shows, continuously growing in popularity over the last decade, provided an opportunity to depict non-heteronormative lifestyles and gender in progressive way. But many YouTube cooking shows instead attempt to imitate TV shows, including their representation of gender and sexuality, to reach the broadest possible audience. A few shows, however, playfully experiment with representations of gender and sexuality. Shows such as My Drunk Kitchen, Cooking with Lesbians or even the macho Epic Meal Time question traditional gender ideals, the gender binary, and the heterosexual economy that is traditionally at the core of the TV cooking show. This paper explores the gender play of these YouTube shows and their political potential as well as the ways in which they reproduce hegemonic notions of gender and sexuality.

Food Media
2018 Special Focus: Digital Food Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Katharina Vester

-, -, American University, United States
United States