A good friend of The Bakeriarchy recently shared some exciting news with us: she and her husband are expecting their first child! It was a moment of joy and ecstatic, gif-filled celebration emails. Within minutes we broached that ubiquitous topic that barrages expecting parents until the little bundle of joy pops out:
“Are you finding out the baby’s sex?”
One important thing to note about the semantics of this specific question: We’re not asking “Is it a boy or a girl?” We are asking about the baby’s biological sex. What’s the difference?
Sit down and have a cookie (like one of the crazy delicious ones below), because we’ve got some explaining to do.
Two terms that are often conflated nowadays are “sex” and “gender.” It’s easy to get them confused because, for most of us, they were taught as synonyms way back in middle school sex-ed. But these two words describe profoundly different ideas.
Planned Parenthood defines “sex” as “our anatomy as female, male or intersex; it includes our internal and external sex organs, chromosomes, and hormones.” Pretty straightforward, right? Just a biological matter of X and Y chromosomes.
Now let’s see what they had to say about “gender:”
“Our gender is our biological, social, and legal status as girls and boys, women and men. Each culture has standards about the way that people should behave based on their gender. For example, many cultures expect and encourage men to be more aggressive than women.”
Did you catch that? Gender—that is, our roles as men and women—is defined largely by our culture’s expectations. In that sense, gender itself is a social construct. Biologically female humans are not genetically inclined to like the color pink and bake cupcakes, just as biologically male humans are not hormonally hardwired to play football and avoid outward shows of emotion. They are merely cultural expectations that fulfill our need to categorize and assimilate into an antiquated idea of normalcy.
And that’s why we aren’t actually that interested in whether or not our friend’s baby is male or female. Why would we want to place yet another limiting factor on this exciting new life? Maybe the baby will be male but love rom-coms. Maybe it will be female and throw a wicked curveball. As long as it is happy and healthy, who cares?
The less importance we place on gender, the less power we give it to control our lives and decisions—from what we wear to what career we pursue. Why worry about the question of boy versus girl, when there are more important things to worry about…
“Ginger Is a Construct” Cookies
Makes 2 ½ dozen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 T nonfat dry milk powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 10 T unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar, plus more for rolling
- ½ cup uncrystallized candied ginger, chopped
- 8 oz cream cheese, room-temperature
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- additional chopped candied ginger for topping
Preheat oven to 375°.
Whisk flour, powdered milk, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a small bowl. Whisky egg, melted butter, both sugars, and molasses in a medium bowl. Mix dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture until combined. Stir in candied ginger until just incorporated.
Fill a shallow bowl with a mixture of brown and white sugar in equal parts. (We also like to mix this up before we start prepping the dough and add a bit of the chopped ginger… The spicy, sweet ginger flavor infuses into the sugar and is basically amazing.) Scoop out dough—roughly two tablespoons per cookie—and roll into balls. Roll in sugar mixture and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2” apart.
Bake cookies, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until cookies are puffy, cracked, and just set around the edges, 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar—adding the sugar in thirds—until smooth. Add ginger and allspice and mix until combined.
Spread a generous spoonful of frosting over the cooled cookies. Sprinkle with remaining candied ginger, and enjoy!