Queensland senator Larissa Waters, who represents Australia’s Greens party, has extended her support for the No Gender December campaign, which aims to increase awareness about the gendered marketing of toys right before parents begin shopping for their children’s Christmas gifts.
But Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, along with Senator Cory Bernardi, have criticized Waters as well as the campaign.
The campaign was initiated by Thea Hughes and Julie Huberman and its goal is to break gender stereotypes for children by changing the way they think about toys. Waters believes that in toy stores where the “separate aisles of pink and blue” appear harmless, but actually perpetuate stereotypes and inequality for children. She said the long-term effects of this can lead to “very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap.”
The campaign’s website is not just about awareness – it wants change. Its pledge, which has so far been taken on by 362 people, calls for the Parliament and Senate to “uphold Australia’s support of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child and legislate against the marketing of toys along gender lines.”
But Abbott said that he certainly doesn’t believe in that kind of political correctness.
“Let boys be boys, let girls be girls - that's always been my philosophy – and above all else, let parents do what they think is in the best interests of their children," he declared.
Conservative senator Bernardi backed the prime minister’s views and said that “to say you're giving a boy a truck or a hammer is somehow leading to domestic violence and gender pay gaps is simply bizarre," he said. He also told reporters, “I hope that Santa brings Senator Waters some common sense for Christmas.”
So far, people’s reactions range from one extreme to another, where some offer their support to the campaign while others make humorous comments at its expense:
#NoGenderDecember where greens & freaks make statements that highlight their stupidity. Let kids be kids! Larissa is smoking the good stuff— Just a view (@dangerAries) December 2, 2014
Need to buy a non gender specific Christmas tree #NoGenderDecember. Can only find phallic shaped ones— daniel ford (@3ofJacks) December 2, 2014
Buy kids the toys they want, not the ones they're expected to want. It's not political correctness. It's human rights. #NoGenderDecember— Sir Render Monkey (@yinyangman69) December 2, 2014
These tweets show what is in actuality a serious issue being trivialized by the statements of the political parties involved. Ironically, if you were to ask a child about what kind of toy he or she would want for Christmas, they would very wisely ignore all of these “bizarre” politicians and just go for whichever toy they wanted.