The Student News Site of Horace Greeley High School

The Greeley Voice

The Greeley Voice

The Greeley Voice

TikTok Cooking Trend: Emily Mariko, Nara Smith, Feminism, and Domestic Labor

Source: TikTok

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, a captivating trend has emerged. On platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, millions of people tune in to follow the lives of women who document their lives as mothers with domestic responsibilities, particularly cooking. Some of the most recognizable figures in this trend are Emily Mariko and Nara Smith. Mariko, age 32, is best known for posting cooking videos to her popular TikTok account, which has earned a whopping 12 million followers. Smith, aged 22, recently amassed 3.7 million followers on TikTok by documenting her cooking skills and presenting an aspirational narrative of motherhood. While viewers get constant snapshots into both creator’s lives through daily posts, what most do not know is that Mariko has a degree in neuroscience from Columbia University and Smith is an IMG runway model-turned-TikTok-star. Reflecting broader patterns of women in social media, both of these individuals with highly successful backgrounds have chosen to pursue and document the life of this trend. What appear as simple videos looking into the lives of these women, reveal a deeper narrative—one that redefines the modern definition of feminism by emphasizing that feminism encompasses diverse perspectives and experiences, and recognizing that the rigid gender roles imposed by society should no longer constrain women’s identities.

As influencers like Mariko and Smith focus their content on domestic labor, some say they risk reinforcing traditional gender roles rather than further challenging them—even if the content is immensely profitable. Having these widely-viewed videos being produced by highly accomplished and educated women with the primary focus on the glorification of cooking and homemaking may suggest to the impressionable that these activities are the pinnacle of female achievement, despite all the actions done to get to where we are today. However, it is important to note that the same social structures that place women in the box of sole homemakers, are often the same ones that do not allow for self-initiated content like Mariko and Smith’s. As the feminist movement has progressed, the ideology that participating in past gender roles has become something that is considered anti-feminist.

This is not necessarily true.

Women should be able to produce the content of their choice without having to be put in a box of “just a mother” or “just a wife” with those labels being perceived as negative. By demonstrating that they can pursue domestic labor while making a profit, Mariko and Smith challenge the notion that women have to fit a certain binary of either a homemaker or a professional. Greeley sophomore Glora Moraes, a follower of both Mariko and Smith, shares how these influencers not only challenge female stereotypes, but also contemporary notions of what kind of labor is “valuable”. She observes, “What Emily and Nara are doing is truly groundbreaking. They’re showing that domestic tasks like cooking can be elevated to an art form and a source of empowerment for women.” She believes that these influencers are reclaiming traditionally female-dominated spaces and demonstrating that cooking and domestic tasks can be both fulfilling and financially viable pursuits. When asked about the potential criticism that this trend may reinforce traditional gender roles, she countered saying, “instead of seeing it as reinforcing stereotypes, we should view it as women reclaiming ownership of domestic tasks and reshaping how society values them.” Rather than being confined by gender roles, these influencers use their platforms to challenge stereotypes and showcase the intellectual and creative aspects of cooking.

The TikTok movement led by influencers like Mariko and Smith offers a complex conversation of domestic labor within modern feminism. While some view the trend as reinforcement of traditional gender roles, others recognize how it empowers women to reclaim domestic spaces with creativity and passion. Regardless of the answer, it is crucial to preserve and progress the strides made by historical feminist movements. The gains of women before us should not be undone by passing trends that allow viewers to again place women in a box. Instead, we must be conscious of the content we consume and promote, and leverage it as a means to advance the movement further.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greeley Moderne Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *