When Betty Friedan first burst onto the national scene in 1963 with the publication of The Feminine Mystique, few may have anticipated she was launching what would eventually be called the “Second Wave” of women’s so-called liberation.

“First Wave Feminism” dates to the women’s suffrage movement – a decades-long battle that finally resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Modern sensibilities make it hard to reconcile that it took well over a hundred years to enfranchise women to vote and enjoy the same privileges as men when it came to property rights.

Betty Friedan captured national headlines when her book was published, but she was no overnight sensation. Her career and social reengineering campaigns had started two decades earlier. Her training included a fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, an institution that would become famous for its liberal and progressive professors and ideals.

Second-wave feminism was rooted in many things, of course, including men who failed to live up to their responsibilities as providers and protectors. Friedan would later express frustration that a boyfriend discouraged her from continuing her graduate education. Everyone’s background shades their perspective, and it seems there were plenty of these types of influences that would manifest during her later career.

Friedan’s militancy left little middle room, writing, “The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way.”

That absolutism would lead many to abandon the traditional roles that women for multiple millennia had happily embraced. One such role was serving as the family’s primary caregiver and homemaker.

Dr. Casey Means is a Stanford-trained medical doctor and Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of the metabolic health company Levels. She’s also the associate editor of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention.

Writing yesterday on X, Dr. Means raises a provocative point.

“Of all the unintended consequences of the feminist movement,” she writes, “perhaps the most generationally damaging was the implicit push to outsource the role of a primary food-preparer in the family, and the outright disrespect for the role.”

Dr. Means goes on to note that feminism wound up reducing food preparation to a “second-class subservient role and the embodiment of wasted potential.”

In short: the movement somehow convinced women that cooking was a burden and maybe even an insult, especially when contrasted with what they could accomplish outside the home.

As a result of this cultural shift, a whopping 70% of meals are prepared outside of the home and only 33% of them are consumed together as a family. Dr. Means then connects the dots, correlating all of the outside meals with a combined overweight and obesity rate of 75%, including 30% of children being diagnosed as being prediabetic.

“By families giving up control of food management, we have handed over our power and potential to corporations with misaligned incentives (profit>health), and entered the biochemical trap of chronic disease under the guise of ‘empowerment.’”

Dr. Means’ argument and observations are medically and biologically, not theologically or sociologically, driven. But everything affects everything else.

Demonizing, diminishing, or demeaning fundamental caregiving responsibilities like cooking comes at a significant price. There’s no question cooking for one’s family can become tiring and tedious, but it’s difficult to overstate its importance.

“Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil — this is God’s gift to man,” wrote Solomon (Ecc. 3:13).

It’s the wise family that champions and celebrates its cooks, establishing the kitchen as a centerpiece of sociability and fellowship.