Yes Gemma Collins, we should ‘thank god for machines’
I’ve always been wary of technology. That is until I heard of the roti-making machine – switching off sexism with an ‘on’ button.
In I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, reality TV star Gemma Collins couldn’t work out how to knit to win herself some food, and retorted ‘thank god for machines’.
My wariness of machinery and technology comes from the belief that one day they will take over humans. So I laughed at Gemma’s comment. That is before I had to make roti that evening.
‘Roti’ is the Indian name for ‘chapatti’. It is made from stoneground wholemeal flour mixed with water, and is traditionally consumed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
It is a common part of meals in Indian restaurants, and in my home most nights.
As my mother and older sister have gone away, I am the eldest woman in the house which means the roti-making task has fallen on me.
Kneading flour and water into a gooey dough; rolling the mixture into a neat ball; flattening it against my palms; and then placing the round dough-ball on to a flat surface and using a rolling pin to create the perfect circle-shaped chapatti, is my evening duty.
I was told I’d make the perfect housewife because I can make a round roti – well thanks, I think.
I have never wanted to be a housewife because as many people know, I am a journalist. The way I see it, being a housewife is actually a profession in itself.
Since my mother left for India, it has taken me two days to ‘settle in’ to my home even though I live here because tending to a house requires a lot of work and is time-consuming.
But the words ‘house’ and ‘wife’ seem to still be synonymous with each other which shows how women are still attached to the domestic sphere. And a round-circled chapatti is just part of the gooey mixture holding together the two words in floured up sexism.
Because our mothers and grandmothers cook roti every night for their husbands who return home tired after work, regardless of if the women have also been to work, the task of making a chapatti has filtered through generations as being the task of a woman.
We do not want to stop eating roti because this is a traditional, cultural food. But we should challenge the norm of it being the task of a woman to make chapattis.
Or we can find the answer in the roti-making machine. This is a machine designed to make a chapatti with the flick of an ‘on’ switch, meaning men can do it too and women don’t have to slave away over a hot gas for the good part of an hour.
Technology has a part to play in many things. In this case it may be the answer to removing sexism from the chapatti. And will save an hour of the day trying to repeatedly create perfect circles! So, as Gemma Collins said, ‘thank God for machines’.