Quote of the Day:
Most children’s stories are about girls and boys—and that’s problematic, according to some Australians.
–-"No Boys Allowed, No Girls Either" in today's Wall Street Journal
The city councils of Melbourne and Manningham in Australia, reportedly are getting ready to “audit” children’s books for “gender stereotyping,” according to a column at the Wall Street Journal. Toys will also be audited.
Un-woke parents and conservative-leaning media and political organizations immediately expressed alarm. But not to worry, Tania King, chief researcher on the working paper that led to this effort, says–that gender auditing stuff was just one line in a 40-page document. Harmless.
Michael Taube, columnist and former speechwriter for Canada's former prime minister Stephen Harper, read the working paper–and, with apologies to Ms. King, gender auditing occupies considerably more than one line.
The document is entitled "Building Children's Resilience through Respectful and Gender Equitable Relationships Pilot Project." The paper says that because gender stereotypes and biases develop early, "targeting young children in early learning settings offers the potential to set the foundations for equitable and healthy relationships before behaviours and attitudes become entrenched."
With regard to the claim that gender stereotyping is just a small part of the study, Taube writes:
There are specific pages and chapters devoted to this subject. This includes how boys and girls determine toys to be masculine or feminine, and how girls who play with feminine toys think about career choices, social justice and parenting styles.
Among the recommendations: “Avoid distinction on the basis of gender,” “avoid hyperfeminised toys such as Barbie and Bratz dolls,” and “use story time to introduce themes of gender equity.” The authors also recommended “a range of interesting and desirable alternatives to princess costumes” in schools and said toys should “be examined to ensure that they are not cueing gender associations in either subtle or overt ways, in their colour, shape or decoration.”
This story should serve as a cautionary tale for North American politicians, schools and educators. The U.S. and Canada have dealt, and are dealing, with controversies involving gender issues and stereotypes, but never quite to this extreme. Let’s make sure it never happens here, so that North American boys and girls will live happily ever after.
The study says it was designed to "promote appropriate attitudes and behaviours towards women is being increasingly recognised, both within Australia and globally."
What is sinister is that this is not just a bunch of kook academics. This is a government supported project.