Taking The Sex Out of The Gingerbread Man

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A cafe in Auckland introduced the gender neutral gingerbread people
A cafe in Auckland introduced the gender neutral gingerbread people

What if you are told that the Gingerbread Man is no longer a man? The Co-op group announced sometime in April this year that the company, which has diversity and inclusion embedded in its core values, that it is announcing the gender neutral gingerbread people to replace the famous Gingerbread Man.

Following that, a cafe in Auckland decided to introduce the gender neutral cookie this Christmas which has sparked a debate on social media.

Now, what is funny is the fact that the \”gender neutral\” cookie has one head, two hands and two legs, just like the traditional cookie from the 15th century. Well, probably the gender neutral one is a little darker, may be to support people with darker skin tone (well, I can\’t say people of colour or the blacks as that might trigger another controversy).

The traditional century-old cookie
The traditional century-old cookie

Gingerbread dates from the 15th century. Figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century. The Gingerbread Man is also a fairy tale about a gingerbread man\’s escape from various pursuers and his eventual demise between the jaws of a fox. There are several movies and animated cartoons with featuring the same character as well.

This cookie, which has a humanoid face, with a stubby feet and hands do not really represent the features of a man. We all know that the Snowman does not necessarily have to be a man, and it is just another way of referring to a human being.
The rise of awareness to accept diversity and inclusion has inarguably prompt the company to jump on the bandwagon like Thomas the Tank Engine cartoon that introduced female characters to empower females. This is a way to educate young kids that the females have an equal role to play in a society, and this effort is certainly applaudable.
However, eliminating the need to identify human based on their biological gender takes things to whole lot of different level, which we are not ready for. Most importantly, we are trying to erode the identity of someone with an XY chromose, by saying that man is not a valid identity of gender.
Several months ago, I watched this Ted talk which is simply mindblowing and probably a subject that won\’t sink into the mind of many. The way we think about biological sex is wrong. Researches have proven that an intersex person doesn\’t fit the standard definition of male or female. What is even mind-boggling is how our bodies can exhibit the \”male\” or the \”female\” attributes that help us to be identified as \”men\” or \”women\”, but our DNA can say otherwise.
To add to the complexity, this scientist is trying to raise our awareness on the biology of gender, and how people can no longer be classfied according to the male and female classification alone based on our sex chromoses (XX for females and XY for males).

When the human body has proven to be so complex, and if inclusion and diversity are something that we would genuinely like to uphold, shouldn\’t gingerbread man exist alongside with the other genders of the gingerbread?

The LGBTQIA community exists for a reason, and we stopped identifying them as \”gays\” in general starting from the mid 80\’s. It is also not right to call any of this community member as \”non-straight\” as that is a sign of being non-inclusive.

And that is what the Co-op is doing. It is being non-inclusive by creating a gender-neutral cookie, which clearly defies the whole purpose of it doing so.

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Thappad: What does it take for a woman to be slapped by her husband?

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Thappad\' trailer: Taapsee Pannu delivers a hard hitting message of ...
Taapsee Pannu delivered a though-provoking message through Thappad!
Image credit: Times of India
As I have cleared some of the works I had to complete on my to-do list, I decided to take a break yesterday and watch a nice movie. I love watching movies that have social messages embedded in them and hence, I picked Ponmagal Vanthal, in which the female lead fights against sexual harrasment and violence against girls. While I think that the movie is definitely above average, I think the social message wasn\’t sent across strongly. The movie could have portrayed how girls and boys should be taught to differentiate the good and the bad touch, and how boys should be raised to respect women. These elements could have been incorporated in the film.
So, while I still have the 7-day free trial on Amazon Prime Video, I decided to stream some other good movies, and Thappad came on the recommended list. I am someone who needs to know the storyline before I watch any movie. The plot I read on Wikipedia made me so curious I started watching the movie immediately.
As I am writing this post, I am watching the movie and it will end in about ten minutes. I love the dialogue delivery and I think the movie is impactful because it is well-written. So, the title of the movie means \”slap\”, because the female lead who is homely, amicable and caring got hit real hard on the face in the midst of a family event as she was trying to calm her husband down in a heated argument with his bosses. She files for a divorce soon after, as her husband did not apologize for the incident and the families think problems \”bound to happen\”, so she was expected to move on and make peace with the husband and family. 
I had to pen my thoughts immediately as we, Malaysians, have recently seen the popular YouTuber SuguPavithra\’s incident where her husband hit and tried to harm with a sickle in a hospital compound and how an Associate Professor was murdered by her husband who strangled her to death using a head scarf.
My immediate thought when all these issues surfaced was why is it always the womenfolk who get abused by men, usually the husbands? While I agree that there might be issues in the family and even in the movie I just watched, the man was having an argument with his bosses and the wife came to calm him down, but she got hit and not the men.
I think we all get angry and furious and it is alright to vent our frustrations out but why is it always women on the receiving end of the frustrations? Men don\’t slap men in arguments. Women don\’t do that either in most cases. 
In the current world, girls are given equal opportunity in terms of education and women now are working and having careers of their own more than ever before. We are free to choose our field of study, and the career path we think fits our life the best. We may get into heated up arguments with our parents but we do not get abused by the men in our households. So, why should women tolerate abusive partners and get hit once they are married and really, what does it take for women to be slapped by their husbands? What makes it absolutely necessary for a grown man to think that he has to hit his wife when her parents and siblings have not done that to her all her life? And why do families still wipe the whole incident under the carpet, and often say that they should move on, like in the movie Thappad?
I think we all don\’t even think of asking our partners if they slap or abuse others when they get angry because, come on, what a silly question that is! We assume that our partners would not do that until it actually happens and we let the reality sink in. While I think divorce shouldn\’t be the only solution to problems couples face, and that it is okay to give a chance for the one at the wrong end to repent, I feel that there should be a clear stand point made so that the victim does not get abused again.
What do you think about this post? I welcome your thoughts and views!
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