UHDS looks to illustrate gender spectrum with gingerbread people

Hannah Haney

In an effort to educate students about gender and sexual identity, University Housing and Dining Services and The Pride Center will host “Gender Our Cookie” in Arnold Dining Hall today from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., where students decorate gingerbread cookies to illustrate the gender spectrum.   

In addition, there will be an informational slideshow running constantly in the dining hall explaining the basics of gender theory, and since it is running on loop, students may walk into the event at any time and walk away with a lesson learned.

According to Tara Crockett, Leadership Liaison at the OSU Pride Center, said that there will be “gingerbread person” decorating, a presentation about the gender spectrum from the Pride Center and representatives from the Ethnic Studies program to talk about their classes.

“Think of it as a crash course on gender theory,” Crockett said. “Educational, fun and tasty.”

Brandi Douglas, Interim Assistant Director of Diversity Initiatives and Programs, said that the idea of decorating cookies during the event derives from a popular educational infographic called “The Genderbread Person.” The infographic uses a gingerbread cookie as a model to teach about the deconstruction of gender into certain components.

“Using the image of a gingerbread cookie, we are able to talk about the spectrum of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, etc.,” Douglas said. “We talk about how these identities are not as linear as we assume them to be, and like the cookie we are decorating, all of us have the opportunity to identify ourselves in any way we choose.”

Delfine DeFrank junior in food science and technology plans on attending “Gender Our Cookie.” According to DeFrank, the intention is to create one’s gender expression on the cookie, choosing exactly how you want to define that cookie. She believes it is important for people to see outside the commonly accepted gender binary— the classification of gender into two distinct forms of masculine and feminine.

“Gender is very fluid— that’s what the event is trying to to portray,” Defrank said. “There’s a learning aspect that comes with making the cookies.”

According to Crockett, this year marks the first time that Gender Our Cookie will be held in a dining hall instead of a residence hall. All students are welcome and encouraged to attend.

“It’s gonna be open to the public this year, which I think is a lot better because it will be more extensive.” Crockett said.

There are also vegan and gluten-free brownies for students to decorate and eat.

“We partnered with OSU Catering for this event and they have done a wonderful job making sure we have enough cookies, brownies, icing, and edible decorations for the event.” Douglas said.

Douglas believes it is important for students to attend Gender Our Cookie because students have not had much of an opportunity this year to engage in the conversation surrounding gender on campus.

“I think the UHDS Community Relations Facilitators noticed that and wanted to give students the opportunity to learn more about gender in an environment that is fun, educational and informal,” Douglas said.