Preview: Learn about gender roles, take some cinnamon rolls with Safe Zone 

Edmundo Rivera, Contributing Writer

Every Tuesday at 1 p.m., The University of Alabama Safe Zone Resource Center holds a meeting called Cinnamon Rolls Not Gender Roles to discuss the presence of gender roles in the social world around us, accompanied by an assortment of pastries. 


Who: The University of Alabama Safe Zone Center, and the event is open to everyone of all backgrounds. 

What: A discussion based around gender roles in popular media, with a delicious side of pastries. 

When: Every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

Where: Safe Zone Resource Center in the UA Student Center. 


Gender roles are usually not considered in day-to-day life but taking a step back to look at traditional gender roles in media can shift the way people perceive pieces of media and their influence on society. 

This same idea applies to other aspects of media, especially as the amount of representation of LGBTQ characters continues to grow. NPR reports that “80% of movies in 2020 had LGBTQ characters with more than 10 minutes of screen time,” making the understanding of the impact it has on real people that much more important. 

Lizzie Smith, the University of Alabama Safe Zone director, oversees holding and guiding the discussion every week. 

 “Cinnamon Rolls Not Gender Roles is one of our community building programs,” she said. “It’s for LGBTQ students, but also just anybody who wants to have these conversations to talk about gender and LGBTQ issues in a kind of informal capacity while we eat desserts.”  

Smith said the program was started with the intent of “educating people about the nuances of how gender shows up in social institutions, topics on hobbies and all of that stuff.” 

Discussions so far have covered a variety of topics, including how gender roles influence the appearance and behavior of villains in Disney films. It offers a unique perspective by revisiting well-known pieces of media from a new angle. 

This Tuesday, Sept. 20, the topic for Cinnamon Rolls Not Gender Roles is LGBTQ representation in cartoons.  

“When we move into October, we’re going to shift the focus a little more towards LGBTQ history because it’s LGBTQ history month,” Smith said.  “So, we’re covering some serious topics in October and then as soon as we get out of October, we go back into some things that are either going to be useful or fun.” 

Future events will include discussions about queer professionalism. In November, the Safe Zone is going to try to bring in the National Alumni Association or the Career Center to expand their conversations. 

While the event is free for students every week, Safe Zone asks that participants register online before attending.