"For goodness sake, this is social engineering gone crazy...
Leave kids alone to be kids. Stop trying to destroy kids’ childhoods..."
That is an example of the furious reaction from parents in Victoria, Australia where the local city council has announced plans to audit children’s books and toys with a plan to ban them from kindergartens, schools and libraries if they don’t meet strict gender guidelines.
The Herald Sun reports that the local government's justice warriors were inspired by research from the Australian National University that showed children were influenced by gender stereotyping, and urged a ban on the terms 'boy' and 'girl'.
The research suggests educators should “minimise the extent to which gender is labelled” and avoid telling children what girls and boys should do.
Parents reacted angrily to the story on social media...
“This needs to stop. I’ve got a two-year-old daughter (yes I picked her gender based on what genitals she was born with) and she plays with cars, trains, tractors, Barbies, dolls and uses her imagination and pretends she’s cooking food or being a doctor...
Let’s just let kids be kids.”
Billie Deborah Chin wrote:
“Banning the availability of anything, or taking choice away, is definitely the wrong way to go about making classrooms gender neutral. It should be about making everything available to everyone.”
We leave it to Ron Wilson from Smooth FM, who told Sunrise “it’s about inclusion, not exclusion” but that it’s important “boys are boys and girls are girls”.
“I wouldn’t be banning things, but I would be including more things for everybody to be involved in. When you’ve got kids, you suddenly realise that boys are boys and girls are girls and viva la difference. I don’t want to see androgyny out there.
“I don’t want to see our children just being children. The fact (is) they are boys and girls and they are different and there’s no question about that. We should celebrate that...
I think we need respect. We don’t need social engineering.”
Following the uproar generated by the report, Melbourne City Council very quickly responded...
"Our libraries aim to promote diversity, not censor books," adding that "none of the books mentioned in media reports have been banned. The books mentioned are in stock at City Library."
So Winnie The Pooh and Thomas The Tank Engine are safe...for now.