Cookies and consent

Just because I baked you cookies, doesn’t mean I gave you consent

Disclaimer: This article is part of the Spectrum’s special addition on sexual assault awareness. As a result, this article covers content that may be triggering to some readers including sexual assault and consent. Please read at your own discretion. 

Just to be clear, I have not been severely and explicitly sexually assaulted, but I am sure that many of us can relate to the discomfort of someone making some sort of attempt to or comment about touching us in an unwelcome and inappropriate way. Or perhaps, someone has mistakenly conflated your friendliness for interest. 

If you have been keeping up with the Variety section, you would know that I typically write light-hearted recipe articles. However, this issue of this paper is more serious, and the latter problem is the one I most often encounter myself. Therefore, I have decided to integrate the two because: just because I baked you cookies, does not mean I gave you consent. 

The world I see today is so devoid of kindness and love. Those of us with softened hearts can often feel overcome with compassion for others in light of it all, and this is a beautiful thing that should never be discarded. 

The fact that super soft-hearted gestures can lead to harassment and assault is bananas. 

However, because of the rarity, it can often not be seen for the plain friendliness that it is. I have often felt the desire to do nice things or bake goodies for people I have met to show an appreciation for the friendship that they have given me. These gestures have sometimes been interpreted differently than what was intended. 

This has resulted in experiences that have been uncomfortable and disheartening to say the least. 

Social media and instant messaging has not been of much help, either. This extremely impersonal form of communication gives people this strange sense of detachment from responsibility when it comes to their actions and words. They take liberties they otherwise wouldn’t when speaking to you in person and maybe even go as far as sending distasteful images that you definitely did not ask for. 

Does this mean that you should stop baking cookies for people? Absolutely not. Cooking is a joy to be shared with the world and the people in your life. Also, I want to be clear that you are certainly not at fault for someone developing the wrong idea. These unwarranted gestures are forms of harassment toward you from another person.

 If you did not explicitly ask for them or consent to them, they should not have been enacted.

However, for my own sake, I have learned that I have to have the strength to counter these inappropriate gestures with clear and defined boundaries. Maybe I shouldn’t be as forgiving as I am, but I used to be much worse, simply ignoring these uncomfortable issues and hoping that they dissipate. 

Sometimes, I even went so far as to blame myself, thinking, “Surely they are only thinking I want this because of the gesture I gave them.”

This was, looking back in retrospect, clearly the wrong way to handle the situation as it then typically escalated to incite even greater discomfort. So, please do not be afraid to put your foot down, because you made a friendly gesture, yes, but that was not your consent. 

And I urge you all to be cautious when you interpret the intentions of someone else, for it is possible both to send and receive cookies. As with most things in life, communication is key. If you feel like you are being sent some kind of love signal, ask and do not assume. 

Because I am who I am, I would not be able to leave you without a recipe, especially since I spent this whole time bringing up cookies over and over again. 

I chose a super soft banana cookie recipe because the fact that super soft-hearted gestures can lead to harassment and assault is bananas. 


  • 2 medium sized very ripe bananas, smash ‘em; should yield ~1 cup
  • ¾ c. softened butter
  • ¼ c. white sugar
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour


  1. Preheat that oven to 350ºF and either line your baking sheet with parchment paper or make it greasy. 
  2. Cream together your butter and both sugars until well blended. Then, mix in your egg and vanilla.
  3. Add all of the dry ingredients, and finally the mashed banana. Mix well until you have a fairly sticky dough. 
  4. Scoop onto the pan in desired size and bake for 8-10 minutes. They will still be pale when they are fully cooked. Browning indicates that they have been overcooked. 

Share these and any other cookies you have made with each other, but remember that they are not an invitation to anything more than simply eating them. 

“Making someone feel obligated, pressured or forced into doing something of a sexual nature that they don’t want to is sexual coercion. This includes persistent attempts at sexual contact when the person has already refused you. Nobody owes you sex, ever; and no means no, always.”

― Miya Yamanouchi

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