Gender-neutral Gingerbread Person is yet another step in the world's cultural shift towards gender inclusivity.
Britain's retail chain -- Co-Op, is known for its classic gingerbread man. However, recently they decided that they would embrace the LGBTQ+ spectrum by launching a gender-neutral version of the sweet treat and have asked customers to name it, says The Telegraph. The company plans to make it available for purchase by September 2019. Though it isn't confirmed what the ginger person will look like, Co-Op has released a sneak peek of one of the possible designs. The image shows the gingerbread person wearing grey clothing and a wide smile on their face, made out of icing. They are also encouraging shoppers to sign up to the supermarket's website and send name suggestions. In fact, there is a competition from 10 April until 1 May on its website to give shoppers the chance to name the gender-neutral biscuit.
"Inclusion and diversity lie at the heart of Co-op's values and we're looking to create a character which can be used to celebrate different occasions through the year and will appeal to all our customers," a Co-op representative said. The company's news website said, "We’ll need a name that works for any time of year and is gender neutral. Our Food team will create a shortlist of the ones they think will best fit the bill and we’ll be back to ask you to vote for your favorite next month."
Some consumers are quite annoyed with this development and are of the opinion that classics should remain the way they are. Others are very happy, saying that it was high time this change was brought in.
The co-op are introducing a gender neutral gingerbread person and I am having the time of my life watching social conservatives have a complete breakdown over the gender of a fucking biscuit— Joseph Gellman (@joseph_gellman) April 10, 2019
Martin Daubney: "The gender neutral gingerbread person is a confection of the permanently offended. It's a bit of cheap PR. The Co-op is mining the trans debate to make themselves look virtuous and really they don't care."@MartinDaubney | https://t.co/sv3MZUm41c pic.twitter.com/pDTlbe7yZd— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) April 11, 2019
so far we have “gingerbread person,” “snow person,” no more “baby its cold outside,” & probs more. what’s next? santa has to be “gender neutral?” christmas colors go away bc all colors should be included? telling me I can’t hang ornaments on my tree bc its feelings will be hurt?— melanie (@_MelaniePrince) December 20, 2018
Co-op isn’t the first food chain to make its gingerbread more inclusive, says The Independent. Pret A Manger announced back in August 2018 that it would be launching a female gingerbread counterpart to go alongside its existing gingerbread man. Annie and Gofrey, would be sold together and are labeled as gender-neutral “gingerbread biscuits”, rather than men and women. The step was inspired by a customer letter that CEO Clive Schee received. In the letter, the customer said that their niece asked why there was a gingerbread man but no gingerbread girl. The female gingerbread person was named after this niece, whose name was Annie. By launching a "male" and "female" gingerbread persons, whether the company has actually challenged the "binary" nature of heteronormative gender is questionable. But it is definitely a step towards inclusivity.
It is wonderful to see how companies are moving towards gender-inclusivity, in various capacities. Many industries are creating products that can be used across the spectrum, including skincare, toys, make-up, and clothing. Gender stereotypes are getting more outdated with each passing day. Traditional portrayals of femininity and masculinity based on gender are becoming blurred, as androgyny and gender fluidity coming into the forefront. Many are choosing unisex names for our daughters, using gender-neutral pronouns to refer to other people, dressing newborns in colors other than the pinks and blues as a reflection of self-expression. We are still far from a completely inclusive world. But many drops of water make an ocean, right?