The Gingerbread Person Culture War Heats Up
It’s easy to see how the so-called war on Christmas helped usher in the profound stupidity and divisiveness of our current political moment. And with so many other things to yell about (bathrooms, the national anthem), most modern culture warriors just don’t not fight over seasonal Starbucks cups or scream at Walmart cashiers who say happy holidays like they used to. But if you were worried that those on the right who’ve built an entire identity around feeling aggrieved about trivial matters would put down their red hats (Santa or otherwise) and give up the fight completely, fear not.
The latest cause célèbre for anti-PC Christmas zealots is the gender of our gingerbread. Those holiday (sorry— CHRISTMAS) cookies that were once universally considered to be male have inspired increased efforts to either broaden the spectrum of gingerbread representation, or else do away with the concept of gendering these anthropomorphized hunks of cookie dough entirely.
It’s a move that’s been on the horizon in some corners of the baking world since at least August, but only as we’ve grown closer to Christmas itself has the outrage machine really kicked into high gear. Scotland’s Parliament, perhaps giving itself something comparatively sane to focus on during the ongoing Brexit fiasco, replaced gingerbread men with gingerbread persons in its coffee shop as a small but significant nod towards inclusivity.
Naturally, leading loonies in the UK were quick to express their outrage. Well-documented transphobe and bloated provacateur Piers Morgan expressed his dismay on Twitter. As did David Kurten, a London assembly member for the far-right UK Independence Party, an organization whose interim leader called Islam a “death cult” earlier this year, also tweeted that Scottish Parliament should “STOP THIS MADNESS”.
That same story inspired fervent hysteria on this side of the Atlantic as well. Perhaps desperate to fill air time without further alienating his sponsors, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson dedicated an entire segment of his show to the plight of Scottish Parliament’s neutered gingerbread men. He enlisted the help of Fox News correspondent Tammy Bruce, who more or less described the demand that she refer to non-living cookies without genitalia as gingerbread people as the last battle in a lifelong struggle against the forces of decency.
As evidenced by the fact that it’s the kind of issue that gets Tucker Carlson all frothy, it’s insane that this is a thing worth spending even a few seconds getting upset about this Christmas. Gingerbread people are not sentient beings, but cookies. They do not have (men’s) rights that are being infringed upon. They are not “obviously men,” and do not have the ability to insist otherwise.
If you asked for a gingerbread man in a bakery or cafe serving gingerbread people, I could almost guarantee you’d be given what you want without anything more than a passing reference to that establishment’s de-gendering of said cookies. Even better: If you bake gingerbread humanoids yourself, you can gender (or not gender) them however you want without saying a word to anyone about it.
There are far more important things to think about this time of year. The only reason these sorts of rebellions against political correctness gain any traction is because it’s like red meat for people whose regressive views are increasingly marginalized and out of touch with reality. There have already been enough dumb things to argue about this year. We don’t need another.