Ruth Eleanor Sidey


Don’t Just Hope for a Better Life. Buy into One A Critical Analysis of Idealised Domesticity

This dissertation, through an analysis of Nigella Lawson’s latest kitchen, highlights the conflicts that arise between the ‘ideal’ and the ‘real’ in the domestic sphere. Idealised constructions of the domestic have been utilised since the dichotomy between the home and the place of work was established. These curated environments have been used variously to promote consumption, national identity, and an aspirational ‘lifestyle’. Nigella’s performance of a ‘perfect’ lifestyle, in the wake of her widely publicised divorce, is dissected and placed in historical, social and political contexts. The author concludes that Nigella willingly places herself within traditional domestic ideals and stereotypical gender roles, presenting an ultimately pleasing femininity. Her image, through a form of retrospective imagining, conjures up images of an era that promised a ‘better life’ through social mobility. This nostalgic image serves to mask an uncomfortable truth; that achieving our aspirations is now is often blocked. The gap between the ‘ideal’ and the ‘real’ is in fact a glass wall which can never be penetrated, and the ‘perfect’ remains in the idealised, unachievable realm.