Sexist "First Lady Bake-Off" still occurs since cookies can allegedly predict the election
On Friday, Family Circle announced the start of its customary "First Lady Bake-Off." Traditionally, potential First Ladies submit a cookie recipe and the American public votes on the best recipe.
The contest has been recast as the "Presidential" bake-off this year because, well, Bill. Melania Trump's "star" sugar cookies are going head-to-head with the Clinton family's chocolate chip cookies. (Yup, Bill didn't even bother with an original recipe — he entered the bake-off with one of Hillary's recipes because Hillary won the contest back in 1992 and 1996, Time noted.)
Here are Melania Trump's star cookies.
And here are Clinton family chocolate chip cookies
But here's the million dollar question: Aren't there more pressing things for these political players to focus on?
This "bake-off" stinks of sexism.
Yet the whole contest was first conceived when a decidedly forward-thinking First Lady tried to defend her career aspirations. The woman? Hillary Clinton herself.
During Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign in 1992, Hillary made the following remark during a 60 Minutes interview:
"You know, I suppose I could've stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I pursued before my husband was in public life."
The American public had a meltdown of epic proportions. People called the comment "smug" and many felt like Clinton had lobbed an attack on homemakers, Time reported.
Family Circle responded to the hoopla by instituting a cookie recipe contest. Despite her cookie comment, Clinton entered the fray, and her chocolate chip cookies defeated Barbara Bush's chocolate chip cookies in 1992. They later trounced Elizabeth Dole's pecan cookies in 1996, Time noted. How's that for a renaissance woman?
Family Circle prides itself on the fact that the family of the winning recipe has also won the election each year except 2008, when Cindy McCain's oatmeal butterscotch cookies edged out Michelle Obama's shortbread cookies. Though, it later came out that Cindy McCain plagiarized the oatmeal butterscotch cookies she submitted in 2008, Huffington Post reported.
The contest is mind-numbingly stupid, especially this year.
Bill Clinton has been a vegan for the past six years, so odds are good he's not baking these cookies and sneaking licks of the butter-rich cookie dough. And if Melania Trump's Republican National Convention speech is any indication of her ethics on plagiarism, she may have lifted the recipe from the Democrats, anyway. Wouldn't be the first time a Republican played dirty in the kitchen — as noted above, McCain plagiarized her winning Oatmeal Butterscotch cookies. Tsk, tsk.
Let us free the First Ladies and First Gentlemen from their obligation to care about cookies. Baking has nothing to do with the commander-in-chief, and asking spouses (always wives until this year) to prove their homemaking abilities is plain sexist.
The President's spouse doesn't merely pick out table settings anymore — and Michelle Obama most recently changed the way Americans view the role, Mic previously reported. FLOTUS wasn't feeding hungry American children her shortbread cookies; she was encouraging kids to eat more fruits and vegetables and be more active through the "Let's Move" campaign.
If we're going to ask the potential Presidential spouses to compete in absurd activities like cookie baking, we could make it more entertaining at the very least. Why not a cookie eating contest? Or to appease the health nuts, a push-up contest? Or a carpool karaoke contest? Or hell, I want to see Melania and Bill compete in blowing up a watermelon with rubber bands à la Buzzfeed.