Bravo TV is without a question a LGBT safe zone. Complete with a wide variety of reality shows that host about 45% openly gay contestants, it is hard to call the network or its programming homophobic or even heteronormative. But last week this well established fact was called into question by Ashley Merriman on Top Chef.
If you missed the show, the group of 16 remaining boys and girls were broken down into teams of by gender to do a bachelor and bachelorette party for a couple complete with twists and turns that make it a worthwhile TV show. But the thing that took me back was Merriman’s distaste for the challenge because she can’t get married legally. The other three openly gay chefs on the show (if not more) didn’t touch on this issue and Ash Fulk was even able to make a self-effacing, somewhat homophobic joke without worrying about his rights being called into question by this challenge.
My position on marriage equality is well documented and taking to the street, soap box or blog to fight for equality is a great thing. But I am a little confused about this protest. I can only assume that Chef Merriman will open her Seattle restaurant to a wedding party and she would provide food to a client who was hosting an engagement celebration. So why now put up a fight in when she is on TV? Platform or not this seems like a silly way to protest a serious issue.
In other marriage equality food news, Ben & Jerry’s is celebrating Vermont’s celebration of marriage equality (the law goes into effect today) with a slight twist on a favorite flavor. For the rest of the month lovers of the vanilla-malt-fudge-covered-peanut-butter-filled-pretzel-nuggets classic will need to order Hubby-Hubby. While I love Ben & Jerry’s for no other reason than they make some really fantastic ice cream, this kind of simple, consumer-based activism makes me smile. Here hoping that they continue to sell B&J south of the Mason Dixon.
No word yet on a lesbian wedding ice cream.
Finally—while not really food related but kind of because the essay explores a “wife’s job” in the “traditional sense”—I suggest reading this past weekend’s “Modern Love” in the New York Times. We read of two women who were married, had kids and call each other wife. They wanted to raise political awareness by using the term wife but it gave way to a term of practicality and life together. One (the author and self described more culturally womanly) is the bread winner and the other (the author describes her as “butch” and has been known to enjoy power tools) stays at home with the couple’s children. The author notes that she gave birth to both kids. I found the story to be both well written and thought provoking. On side note, the author is working on a book about fatherhood…