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Thought for today: Why so quick to take the guilt off the gingerbread?

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The sandwich shop chain Pret a Manger has introduced a gingerbread woman to partner its gingerbread man, explaining that a customer had asked why there were no ‘gingerbread girls’.

Additionally, the items (named Annie and Godfrey, presumably to appeal to customers of a cannibalistic bent) are now packaged as gender-neutral ‘gingerbread biscuits’.

It is unclear what the distinction is between ‘Annie’ and ‘Godfrey’ and if one gives more value for money. However, even more puzzling is that it apparently took only one letter to achieve this remarkable change of policy, when thousands of complaints about the failings of train and bus services, utilities and internet access fall on deaf ears.

It is the latest in a string of moves by UK retailers designed to appeal to changing attitudes towards gender and sex, and TV advertisements feature so many different sorts of families and diverse relationships that the viewer almost feels like the target of a Marxist re-education programme.

To ‘change the attitudes’ of future generations, perhaps we should widen children’s reading matter to include stories about snowpersons, and adapt nursery rhymes to refer to the Mortal in the Moon, the Old Party tossed up in a Basket, the Crooked Individual and Old Parent Hubbard.

But why talk about ‘person’ at all; if we really want to ginger up our attitudes to gender, why not per-daughter?

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Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Movement (Catholic University of America, 2008).

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