About 15 years ago, I stood in front of a group of about fifty diverse university students, both male and female, from all over the world, and asked, “How many of you are feminists?” One woman in the back sheepishly raised her hand.
I walked to the blackboard. Chalk in hand, I wrote the word ‘feminist’ on the board. I underlined it and said: “Describe a feminist.” Immediately, they began to holler out words, shouting over one another, as I quickly jotted down their words.
“Masculine” “Militant” “Man-hater” “Ugly” “Hairy” “Doesn’t shave underarms” “Bitch” “Mean” “Violent” “Angry”
“Okay” I said, writing the word ‘feminine’ on the board, “Describe someone who is feminine.”
“Soft” “Gentle” “Dumb” “Girly” “Quiet” “Sweet” “Pretty” “Submissive” “Weak”
I wrote it all down.
“Now, Describe someone who is masculine.” They responded, I continued to document.
“Strong” “Powerful” “Competitive” “Rich” “Brave” “Tough” “Athletic” “Smart” “Winner”
I stood back and let them look at the headings and the words they used to describe each. I gave them a few minutes to look at the board and let their beliefs sink in.
“I repeated the words, ‘feminist,’ ‘feminine,’ and ‘masculine’ and asked, “which description does our culture value the most?” At once and together, they answered, “masculine.” Some of them began to look upset.
I let the discomfort pervade the room for a few minutes. Slowly and quietly, I took out the dictionary and read them definition of feminist.
Feminist: noun A person who believes that women should have social, political, legal, and economic rights equal to those of men.
I paused and repeated the question, “How many of you are feminists?”
Every hand in the room went up.
I’m often amazed by both how much (and occasionally how little) has changed since that day. I recently stumbled upon this wonderful video made by the bloggers at Mom Life. Check it out by clicking here.
You’ve been visiting this blog for a while. Do tell… are you a feminist?
While you ponder that thought, let me tell you about this cake. It starts with a confession – I don’t like carrot cake- at all. I especially don’t like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. So, I set out to make one I did like and I have to tell you, it’s fantastic.
I’m also looking forward to making the dark chocolate version of this cake. If you prefer the dark chocolate version, try substituting purple carrots for golden carrots, dark chocolate for white chocolate and take out 3 tbs. of flour and substitute cocoa powder. If you go with the dark chocolate version, you may also want to try vanilla instead of lemon juice in the frosting. Let me know how it turns out.
P.S. Lisa over at Anali’s First Amendment just informed me that 94 years ago today, US women earned the right to vote. It wasn’t handed to them. They truly struggled for it. Watch this and you’ll get a glimpse of what women went through. Makes Lady Sybil’s outing look a bit tame.
White Chocolate Honey Roasted Golden Carrot Cake
8 oz. (240 g) golden carrots (about 5 or 6 medium carrots)
2 tbs local honey
1 c (175 g) good quality white chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut)
14 tbs (275 g) unsalted butter
1 c (135 g) flour
1 pinch sea salt
1 1/4 tsp (6 g) baking powder
5 large eggs, separated
pinch of cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 425º
Wash, peel and slice carrots. Toss with 2 tbs. local honey and roast for about 10-15 minutes or until tender.
Remove from oven. Turn off oven. Cool carrots for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, melt the butter and white chocolate together. Cool.
(Be careful not to burn the chocolate or it will separate. Typically, I put the butter and chocolate into a glass or ceramic bowl. cover with plastic wrap and microwave for about 45 seconds on high. I then take it out of the oven and stir, letting the residual heat of the bowl melt the chocolate. If necessary, I’ll return the bowl to the oven, microwaving and stirring in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.)
Puree carrots in food processor with 2 tsp. local honey. Add egg yolks and process. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and process until smooth. Set aside. (Note: everything needs to be cooled at this stage because if you add hot ingredients, you may cook the egg).
Measure the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350º 180º C. Thoroughly butter and flour a round angel food cake pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar. Begin whisking on low speed. Gradually increase speed to medium. When the eggs begin to get foamy, increase the speed again and slowly add the sugar. Whip until soft peaks form. (Soft peaks are formed when you pull the whisk away from the mixture and the egg whites stand up but remain shiny and flop over a bit at the top. The egg whites will begin to look like marshmallow fluff / marshmallow creme.)
Fold the carrot, honey, yolk mixture into the whipped egg white mixture.
Sprinkle the flour mixture on top and fold just until the flour is mixed in.
Pour cake batter into the pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool completely. Remove from pan. Frost with Honey Lemon Frosting (below).
Honey Lemon Frosting
26 tbs (375 g) butter, slightly softened
2 c (220 g) organic powdered sugar
2 tbs (35 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tbs (15 g) white chocolate, melted
1 tsp local honey
Additional powdered sugar, set aside, if needed
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed.
Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. If frosting is not thick enough, add powdered sugar until a smooth, creamy consistency develops.