Reproductive rights activists in North Carolina have been rallying outside Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) mansion, protesting his recent decision to approve a controversial package of anti-abortion provisions attached to a transportation bill. So far, the governor has refused to meet with any of the protesters to talk to them in person. But he has attempted to placate them with baked goods.
On Tuesday afternoon, McCrory — along with four of his security guards — came out of his mansion’s gates to deliver a plate of chocolate chip cookies to the crowd of pro-choice protesters. He handed the plate to one of the activists and reportedly told her, “These are for you. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you.”
The gesture wasn’t well-received by the reproductive health activists frustrated with the governor’s recent legislative decisions. The protesters, who considered the move to be condescending, didn’t eat any of the cookies. Instead, they slipped the plate back under the mansion gates along with a note reading “We want women’s health care, not cookies.” They also began a chant: “Hey Pat, that was rude. You wouldn’t give cookies to a dude.”
As Slate’s Amanda Marcotte points out, it’s understandable that offering up this type of baked good may have come across as offensive to the women’s health protesters. “Next to sandwiches, cookies are probably the most potent edible symbol of the belief that women’s role is to shut up, give up their ambitions, and return to the kitchen,” Marcotte explains. “While it’s unlikely that McCrory was deliberately trying to tell the protesters to know their place, that’s how the gesture reads.”
On Tuesday afternoon, women’s health supporters began tweeting about their disapproval of the incident by using the hashtag “let them eat cookies.” CNN reports that they were unable to confirm whether the governor made the cookies himself — but McCrory’s deputy communication director said he probably didn’t, since he’s busy focusing on issues like the state economy.