Finally, there is a new food magazine with a feminist edge focused on women in the food business. It’s called RENDER.
It’s always been kind of confusing that our most celebrated chefs are men, when most women know how impossible it is to get a man into the kitchen for anything other than a beer. (Fortunately, in my house, we divvy it up so that if I make the meal, he cleans it up. Which is essentially every night. But still!)
In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan, founder and creative director Gabi de Leon, executive director Danielle Knott, and editor-in-chief Lisa Knisely dished on the women behind RENDER and why it’s going to change how we see food and chefs.
According to de Leon, the inspiration for RENDER stems from her own eating disorder that began in college—the flip side of the women-in-the-kitchen stigma. Her unhealthy relationship with food “continued to be, to this day, very disordered — that is, obsessive, restrictive, and extremely stressful.” Women have long been shunted into the role of homemaker, but shamed for not maintaining a model-like figure. So, either we cook all the time to please the demands of some men, or we avoid the kitchen like the plague in order to attract the other kind. Can’t we just cook and eat without all the bullshit?
“I wanted to change the way women were ‘rendered’ — portrayed and depicted — in food culture,” de Leon told Cosmo. “And ‘render’ is a food word, and it also alludes to how you create an artwork, and I was an art student, so I thought it was clever.”
According to executive director Knott, women just don’t get enough attention in the current food magazine landscape. “We aren’t shy about the fact that we are focusing, not exclusively but predominantly, on women and their experiences in the food industry, their cookbooks, their farms, their lives, and how all of that relates to food,” she told Cosmo.
RENDER is also tackling the politics of food in its pages. “One thing that made me really excited is that as Gabi and Danielle were talking about the magazine, they weren’t afraid to make it political,” Knisely told Cosmo. For example, one of the articles about the Paleo diet is written by a naturopath, and she analyzes who has the accessibility to really eat a Paleo diet: who has those foods in their neighborhood, how much it costs, how much time you have to put into it, whether it’s a feasible long-term eating plan, and how it’s been marketed to women as a weight-loss plan.” And she says that it’s really about how “the choices we make about how we eat are not just aesthetic or taste choices. They’re very social and political choices as well.” Just like being a women isn’t just a gender issue, but it’s so often a social and political issue. There’s definitely a long overdue trend happening here, dontcha think? And thankfully, it’s delicious.
Check out RENDER’s website here.
Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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