Turn on a comedy movie, and it’s usually there (insert trite line about Hollywood creativity). Go on social media, and it’s there, too. People often approvingly nod-and-wink to the alleged “joke” of trapping someone beneath fart-laden sheets — apparently an amusing rite of passage, a perfectly sane heteronormative couple’s bedroom ritual that a woman can reasonably expect to be subjected to by her SO.
Third wave feminists can be seen laughing at this crap as well. The ultra-progressive Urban Dictionary considers it one of the funniest inventions ever, awarding 1376 upvotes and only 146 downvotes (at time of writing) to the pig who uploaded it. (He’s even named “Shithouse man” to make it even more of a slap in the face.)
All of this is happening even while the sexism is openly baked into the very assumptions of something based on subjugation of women in the most intimate of places. And that’s the most painful truth about the sexism baked in a Dutch oven.
The concept of the Dutch oven goes back to an age before women’s liberation, before electricity, and before even the industrial revolution. Western society needed ways to track and control women in the misty pre-smartphone dawn, and also cried out for means of physical discipline that didn’t leave a mark. It was, after all, considered uncouth to show up to Sunday church with a bloody wife — wife-beating being associated with mohammedans and all that white supremacist snazz.
The post-Crusades western world was, in other words, the perfect misogynistic primordial soup for the rise of the horrific ritual of trapping and torturing your own wife with your flatulence.
So where and when did it start? Our investigation can further narrow down its scope by noting the fact that people historically used to sleep in bed clothes, unaided by what was to become tents of abuse. The duvet of down traditionally used to trap and effectively gas your woman was first used by the Vikings, but because they were a feminist society where women regularly fought just like men, she-cademics say we have to go further ahead in time to connect it with noxious bedroom persecution. They therefore estimate the Dutch oven was born in early to mid 18th century Germany. Thomas Nugent, an Englishman on a grand tour then passing through Westphalia, observed with surprise:
There is one thing very particular to them, that they do not cover themselves with bed-clothes, but lay one feather-bed over, and another under. This is comfortable enough in winter, but how they can bear their feather-beds over them in summer, as is generally practised, I cannot conceive.
If only he knew how unbearable it could get — for women.
The Dutch oven is domestic abuse, and it ends here
It ends here, because I’ve already got you reading all the way to the conclusion and you’ll have to admit there can no longer be any appeals to ignorance on the subject of improvising Hitler-style gas chambers for your bedmate.
We are going to stop normalizing this gross practice — even by association. Hard bail on any recipes calling for a Dutch oven from now on. (You really think the male editors who gatekeep cooking don’t maniacally smirk as they type out those two words?)
The Dutch oven ends here, because wife-misting — the more pernicious cousin of wife-beating — is no longer welcome in a safe and inclusive society. The practice is performance of male domination for patriarchy. It is sexist, it is domestic abuse, and we are designating it forevermore to the scrap heap of history.
P.S. Protect yourself from the coming data-powered panopticon by getting a VPN.