Nigella and those carrots

Why are women depicted differently from men in food photography? EXACTLY. This is why I still have a hard time taking Nigella Lawson seriously. Men get to be chefs; women have to be porn stars posing with phallic vegetables.


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  1. I think it’s the media who make that sort of fuss about nigella. Most of her photos in her book are just her standing there with an apron and a spoon or bowl or some such in her hand. One or two suggestive photos and suddenly she’s all about food porn. She’s tired of that angle and just gets on with her book writing, as far as I can tell. The Nigella is a food porn star is so last decade!

  2. I’m not blaming her. But if you read the article, the media basically do it to EVERY female in the industry (with the exception of Martha Stewart). Even Paula Deen! That’s just depressing.

  3. But there are more exceptions – for example Stephanie Alexander or Gay Bilson simply rely on her expertise for her reputation – or maybe it’s generational. I’ve never been able to watch Nigella with any degree of comfort. While I’m the first to complain about unnecessarily sexist public depictions of women, I think with ‘early Nigella’ she was very complicit in the portrayal of her sexuality (and I hated the fact that she almost never sat down to eat but snacked from the fridge or kitchen bench!)

  4. Yes, in addition to the sexual angle, Nigella’s early series also played up this “naughty child” idea of female eating. One of her series always finishes with her sneaking down to the fridge at night to finish off what she cooked before. I thought it was cute at first, but it’s come to typify a trend that really annoys me. Adverts for chocolate do it a lot too, this infantilisation of grown women.

    Going back to the original premise… but it’s a “cook” vs. “chef” thing? Most of the Food Network TV chefs they’re talking about aren’t classically trained chefs. They’re TV presenters who happen to cook. Maybe that’s why their image is presented so differently to the men, who are presumed to be more serious and technical (regardless of whether they really are).

  5. The thought of seeing Maggie Beer being sexual with food has really helped my diet today.

  6. Why is that Rachel? Is she too old to be sexy? I think she’s gorgeous! And I would imagine she’d laugh heartily if it were suggested that she might get jiggy with a carrot.

    Nigella – meh! Agree with everything said above. She has been completely complicit in her image creation.

  7. She’s a good looking woman, but I don’t want to take it to second base. I love to hear her talk about food, I visited Pheasant Farm when I was in SA and loved it. I love her ice cream but not in a sexy way. However, I can live without verjuice. I love her passion about food, I just can do without visions of her getting all down and dirty about it.

    My delightful husband always asks as he passes on his way to the study to give him a shout if Nigella finally strips off while baking a cake…

  8. I never considered Nigella in this light until I found I couldn’t watch some episodes where the sensual thing was a bit OTT and I agree with you Lyn, she could set a better example sitting down to eat than scoffing from the fridge. That said, I do like her writing and have plenty of her books, just a bit more entertaining for me than say Margaret Fulton who I grew up learning from. From her I learned the basics, and I think we hold our own in Oz with the likes of Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer (who I can imagine blushing with the jiggy carrot).

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