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Introducing Target’s ‘Gender Inclusive Gingerbread’ Christmas Sweater
We are pressing cookie cutters in whimsical shapes, old-fashioned simple shapes, and once-a-year shapes into soft buttery dough. Here, gingerbread man with heart from Hammersong/LaCuisine.
(Photo by Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

And so the baker chased this seemingly enchanted Christmas confection as it leaped from the cookie sheet and out the front door, all the while mocking him with a sadistically scornful chant.

“Run, run, run as fast as you can,” the baker heard it say. “You can’t stop me, I’m…”

Suddenly, the cookie stopped dead in its tracks, appearing distraught as it pontificated how best to identify itself. Alas, it finally sang out: “The gender-inclusive gingerbread person!

Over at Target, the world-famous Gingerbread Man has been given a makeover in the newly featured “Gender Inclusive Gingerbread” Christmas sweater, available now for the price of $29.99. Behold:

As the image shows, the new “Gender Inclusive Gingerbread” (fill in the blank) has no unique features distinguishing itself from the average Gingerbread Man, and yet, the Target online store literally bills it as the “Gender Inclusive Gingerbread Long Sleeve Sweater” with absolutely no accompanying description as to what classifies it as “gender-inclusive.” It’s as if the very utterance of Gingerbread Man (or even Gingerbread Woman) is in itself offensive. So what do we get? A sweatshirt with a character that looks exactly like the Gingerbread Man but is instead described as gender-inclusive.

Target is also not the only establishment catching wind of this new trend. According to Mirror, a coffee shop called The Tannery in Auckland, New Zealand, decided to put its own brand of gender-inclusive cookie by calling it the “gender-neutral person.”

Gingerbread men often become a staple in our diets at this time of year but one cafe has ditched the traditional treat in favour of a more inclusive biscuit.

When a customer at The Tannery in Auckland questioned why the human-shaped snacks were called ‘gingerbread men’ and not ‘gingerbread people’, owner Andre Cettina was inspired to make a change.

The label on the jar has now been changed to read ‘gingerbread gender-neutral person’.

“It was completely tongue-in-cheek at the start,” the owner said of this creation. “We’ve had a lot of people commenting saying ‘stop being so pedantic, it’s just a biscuit.’ I had to reply to them going, ‘did you miss the whole point?’ It used to be that 90 percent of the time we sold [the gingerbread biscuits], it was to kids. There’s a lot more people buying them now, which is quite funny.”

While some found humor in the cookie’s name change, others on Facebook blasted it as another PC gambit run afoul.

“PC gone mad, always been gingerbread man, why change now. It’s a biscuit, not a living creature. I find this all so sad!!” one user said on Facebook.

“Me too! Soon we won’t be able to use the term human, we’ll all be hupeople,” another commented.

Others felt the gender-neutral cookie opened an important conversation. “Not sure why people getting so mad. This is a conversation starter, and these issues won’t be dealt with until we are open to talking about them,” said another user.  “People getting mad about this completely miss the point of what it could achieve. It isn’t ‘PC gone mad’, it’s an opportunity to take a good hard look at yourself and your feelings around a sensitive topic and do some real introspective work on why you feel the way you do.”

The Independent also reported earlier this year that U.K.’s Co-op would be featuring “a gender-neutral version of the sweet treat” while asking customers to coin a new phrase of identity.

“Our Food team is adding the final touches to a new Co-op gingerbread person, but they’ve yet to come up with a name,” the Co-op website read at the time. “The plan is to give our new gingerbread fellow some seasonal costume refreshes – a distinctively Christmassy look for December and something rather spooky around Halloween for example. So they’ll need a name that works for any time of year. We also need to ensure that the name is gender-neutral too.”

Last Christmas, an elementary school principal out of Nebraska also argued that students should use the term “Gingerbread People” instead of Gingerbread Man as well as the term “Snow People.”

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