Behind our summer barbecues lies a primeval gender tussle for power as man struggles to dominate this summer ritual. A new survey commissioned by Calor found that whilst it is accepted by both sexes that men own the barbecue territory and do the majority of cooking, there is dispute about who actually does the majority of work for the event.
More seriously, two thirds of women questioned in Calor’s survey believed that men take control of the barbecue because they like to be the center of attention when cooking alfresco. They suspect the motivation behind their partner’s eagerness is pure ego.
But according to consultant psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, the root cause is more pre-historic and the man’s obsession with controlling the barbecue could stem from a primeval obsession with fire as well as an attempt at regaining power in today’s female empowered society.
He says: “As society becomes healthier and safer, more ‘civilized’ and politically correct, man’s need to express what he was originally designed for is suppressed. So, the barbecue is one of the few opportunities for man to satisfy his love of gadgets and to recreate the cave-side ritual.
“The barbecue is now one of the only legal opportunities for man to play with fire. And because in prehistoric times fire was the vital resource, he who controlled the flame controlled woman. Hundreds of thousands of years on, this survey finds modern man – the ‘barbecue beast’ – still flexing his muscles in front of the barbecue in a contemporary pantomime of his former life as hunter-gatherer.”
Man’s love of the barbecue is clear, with two thirds of female respondents saying it is usually the man’s idea to have a barbecue. The results also revealed how men are more likely to experiment with food on the barbecue and subsequently find greater confidence in the kitchen from learning in the great outdoors.
However, behind every successful ‘barbecue beast‘ stands a woman who in reality does all the hard work and preparation, but without much recognition. 78 per cent of women say they do all the food shopping and 86 per cent say they prepare the majority of the food when planning a barbecue.