pumpkin spice

Pumpkin Spice: A Searing Defense

I’ve been seeing a lot of hate for delicious flavors lately. Who would ever hate a delicious flavor? you think. I struggle to imagine such a curmudgeon myself. These people must be on strict diets or have medical conditions preventing them from enjoying such treats, we initially guess.

No, they just have a weird grudge against pumpkin spice.

For these weirdos, pumpkin spice is a statement. It represents consumerism, or people who like to wear leggings as pants (nothing wrong with this), or people who blindly follow the mainstream trends. Thanks to this crowd, there is a certain stigma attached to pumpkin and other seasonal flavors such as gingerbread or eggnog. If you enjoy such flavors, you are all of the above.

Why?

Nobody ever complains about seasonal beers. Many a burly man has walked into a bar and asked for pumpkin beer. I know; I’ve heard it often. How come no one ever calls these guys “basic”? Maybe because beer is inherently manly and therefore good and not something to make fun of and disparage.

There is a popular image that has been floating around the internet lately that states that bacon “culture” is celebrated while pumpkin spice “culture” is shamed, making the point that masculinity is something to take pride in without even a second thought, and femininity is shameful. Calling it “bacon culture” or “pumpkin spice culture” is a bit dramatic, but you can’t really deny that the commentary is accurate.

If a woman goes out and orders a salad, men typically believe that this is “all for show” or that she can’t enjoy herself. If a woman goes out and orders a normal filling meal, career misogynists such as MRAs have fun comparing her to various animals and gleefully speculating about how much she will weigh in the future. Now, we have something else to chide her about – flavor! If a woman dares to order something pumpkin flavored, she is “basic” or “blindly following the consumerist trends.”

On the other hand, men (or those with a masculine gender identity) can enjoy going out in public and eating or drinking whatever they want, as long as it isn’t too feminine (like a pumpkin spice latte). Again, feminine equals shameful. Don’t worry, though – flavored beer, along with that beer that tastes like a Christmas tree, is perfectly okay.

For every pumpkin spice product, a bacon counterpart exists. Bacon scented candles. Bacon liquor. Bacon envelopes. These are seen as “awesome” and “crazy” (in a good way). Do a search of “pumpkin spice products” and then of “bacon products” and notice the difference in the language used in these search results. Language is a subtly powerful tool, and word choice (in discourse, literature, and media) influences all of our opinions. Who’s the sheep now?

Another common argument against the seemingly political statement that is pumpkin spice is “don’t try to rush my summer! It’s still summer until September 22.” When they are walking down the street in December, freezing, snowflakes sticking to their knit hats and scarves, do you think they believe it is autumn? If someone asks them what season it is, will they adamantly insist, “it’s still fall until December 22!”?

For you season essentialists, summer vacation will need to be renamed to late spring/early summer break. Additionally, in 2008, Easter fell on March 23. For those who celebrate, you would know that this means that half of Holy Week was during winter that year; yet, Easter is very much considered a “spring holiday.”

Of course, with these examples in mind, the official ends and beginnings of seasons are seen as technicalities and “splitting hairs.” However, as soon as somebody wants to sip a drink that tastes like nutmeg, the official beginning of the fall season is magically a hard and fast rule dictating what your taste buds should enjoy.

A pumpkin spice latte is just a drink. A gingerbread flavored cookie is just a cookie. Fall harvest, or apple tart, or pumpkin roll are just scented candles that smell good. These aren’t political statements or the hallmarks of consumerism or a representation of anybody’s beliefs. They are small treats, much like bacon or beer or anything else.

I will continue to enjoy the warm comfort of pumpkin flavored coffee. I will also continue to wear leggings as pants and listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving (who makes these arbitrary guidelines anyway?). Good luck trying to interest me in that beer, though.

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