The Place Where She Belongs

Justification includes citations.

Reflection on the project:

The kitchen has eternally been woman’s place in the home.  While men are assigned to novel, more seasonal tasks, often those that require machinery, the socialization of household duties has assigned women to repetitive, everyday tasks such as cooking.  I included a photo representing each decade from the 1910s to the present, showing the evolution of the kitchen from an industrial place to a domestic center to a place of comfort for a woman.  Originally, my vision was to chronicle the strides that women made throughout the past century.  With the advent of new technology and the three waves of feminism that have happened since, women are no longer slaves to the kitchen.  We have the opportunities to pursue our own careers outside of the home, and we can turn our home into a haven for relaxation.

When Dr. Jelen commented on my photo essay, she said, “When I first saw your essay I thought it was about kitchens, but not about the women in them.”  This statement reveals the implicit truth about women in the kitchen – that they are as much of a fixture in the kitchen as the appliances that they value.  As Elana and Esra commented, women will forever be associated with the home and the kitchen in advertising and the media.

By choosing the title “The Place Where She Belongs,” I hope to convey both sides of the argument for and against women’s progress.  The kitchen has moved from a necessary habitat for women to a place where women can enjoy themselves and entertain company, as Terra said.  Yet stereotypes about woman still linger, and it’s hard to escape the domesticity that has become her captor.  Depending on a woman’s class and background, the kitchen can remain a prison or be a place for relaxation and community.  Either way, it’s “the place where she belongs.”

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About Emily Schweich

Broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland.
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5 Responses to The Place Where She Belongs

  1. Elana says:

    Title: Her Rightful Place

    This photographic essay tells the story of a woman’s place in the home throughout time. No matter the era, women have always been viewed as “house wives” and many find their rightful place to be in the kitchen. “Cooking is the way to a man’s heart,” they say and every good wife must know her way around the kitchen. No matter how much the technology progresses, as seen in the photos, the motto unfortunately stays the same: it is a woman’s job to cook for the home.

  2. Title: A Familiar Place
    For centuries and decades the kitchen has been a place where nearly every human has been in. A kitchen is beyond a place where people cook, rather it is part of the human experience. This is the place where people come together to cook meals for themselves or for their families. It is what anyone would recognize and what everyone knows regardless of their background. The kitchen has become such an essential part of living. It can range from a designated corner in a small hut to a 45×45 room with an island and thirty cabinets.

  3. esrayagoub says:

    Title: Feminism’s Paradox
    I think the narrative is about feminism. Despite all of the rights and freedoms that women have gained, there still seem to be clear gender role divides. A women’s place is still the kitchen. The pictures appear to come from magazines or commercials. I think the story also touches on the advertising industry and there use of these gender stereotypes. Most commercials that have anything to do with cooking or cleaning have a women in the lead role, and that doesn’t seem like it is going to change.

  4. Sheila Jelen says:

    Your sequencing and selection of these photographs as a testing ground for their image text properties as well as their potential for connectedness is fascinating. When I first saw your essay I thought it was about kitchens, but not about the women in them. Perhaps it was that green kitchen that threw me off.

  5. Sheila Jelen says:

    This is a wonderful photo essay, from beginning to end. I can’t help but be grateful for the theoretical grounding in the women’s movement in your final reflection. It deepens the project and brings it together beautifully.

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