In paternalistic S.Korea, “sexy cooking men” break kitchen barrier

(REUTERS) – Fifty-three-year old Lee Jin-soo is cooking up a chicken and seafood stew tonight in this all-male cooking class in Seoul.

They are some of the growing number of men in South Korea who are taking on roles typically handled by women.

Lee says he’s trying to change his authoritarian and domineering attitude.

I was an extremely scary father and authoritarian husband, he admitted. Taking cooking classes was a turn around.

The kitchen was once seen as off-limits for men in South Korea.

According to a survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, South Korea ranked last amongst countries for sharing household chores.

But now- as reality TV showcases more and more male celebrity chefs- the act of cooking has become more palatable for the opposite sex.

Researchers say pop culture and demographics are helping break down the gender barriers.

SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW AT KOREAN WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE, LEE SOO-YEON,

“Men could not show their interest in cooking when the stereotype of gender roles remained stubbornly persistent. But as our society gets more tolerant about men cooking, men started to take more interest and this can be seen as a desire of self-expression.”

Still researchers say that while men may be more interested in making dinner, they have yet to master washing the dishes.

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