Detail in classic Aussie cookbook from the 80s causes a stir

It is likely that if you were born in Australia during the 1980s or 1990s, you spent your birthdays pulling out the Women’s Weekly Cake Book and telling your parents what you wanted.

If you’re lucky, they might give you the famous swimming pool, the duck with chips in its beak, or even the racecar track.

The cakes in the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book have been the source of good memories for many Australians. However, some of the recipes suggested today may cause a few eyebrows to be raised.

The book, which was published in 1980, has been sold over half a million times. The company decided to reprint the book 30 years later due to its popularity.

The boys’ section includes things like helicopters, trucks, and trains, while the girls’ pages have some more controversial inclusions, such as a stovetop, sewing machine, and sewing basket.

The reprinted version has received hundreds of five-star reviews. However, many Australians have noticed some “outdated stereotypes.”

One reviewer said, “The cake designs are very sexist in the modern eyes – sports cars and rockets for boys, and sewing machines, tea parties, and stoves for girls.”

This cake book is out-of-date. Another person said that it was also sexist, which is typical of the era.

They did say that the pictures were “pleasant” and that the cake designs looked “totally attainable.”

Members of a group on Facebook dedicated to book fans have also pointed out this gender divide.

One member asked: “Was anyone amused by the fact that the majority of the ‘cakes’ for girls were stereotypes from the home, such as sewing baskets, ovens and sewing machines?”

One woman revealed that her mother would not make anything “sexist” as a kid, which “pretty well cancelled out half the girl cakes.”

Pamela Clark seems to be aware that the gender division in the book is not something everyone likes.

In 2018, when she spoke to ABC, she revealed that the inclusion of a section for boys and girls caused quite a stir at the time the book was published.

“We had separate sections for boys and girls.” “We’re talking 1980 now,” Ms Clark stated.

“The test kitchen was ringing with calls from people asking, ‘How could you separate boys and girls? You are so sexist.

“And that was in the 1980s.” quoted Carly Dober as saying that it is fascinating to reflect on the past of “gender appropriateness” in children.

She said: “Not many know that historically, pink was a color for boys. This changed decades ago, but it still remains the same today.”

When you see these pictures, it is very disturbing to evaluate the toys that were being marketed towards young children and parents in an attempt to enforce gender roles.

Ms Dober stated that the photographs in the cookbook clearly show that, at that time, the role of the female child was that of a housewife.

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