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Pop Culture

The Wiggles cast is expanding to promote diversity

 

Australian children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles will welcome new cast members next month. 

Four new members will join Anthony Field, Emma Watkins, Simon Pryce and Lachlan Gilespie. They are from a vast range of cultural backgrounds. Ethiopian – born Tsehay (pronounced Suh- hai) Hawkins, Indigenous ballerina, Evie Ferris, John Pearce, who is Filipino descent and Asian – Australian Kelly Hamilton will be the new members.. 

There are also new characters: Shorley Shawn the Unicorn, Officer Beaples and Bok, the hand puppet. They are non – binary.

The Wiggles accused of going ‘woke’

Not surprisingly, the changes have caused some backlash. Liberal Senator, Matt Canavan is critical of the move. He told The Australian:

The Wiggles are free to do what they like. It was nice while it lasted. But you go woke, you go broke.

Former Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director, Lyle Shelton also attacked the move. In an article published by Eternity News, he savaged the non – binary characters and attacked the use of a rainbow umbrella as a prop. 

Writer and former Australian Defence Force officer, Catherine Mcgregor,  condemned corporate ‘virtue signalling’ as an “absolute insult”. 

Is promoting diversity to children a bad thing?

How does promoting diversity affect children?

Children are naturally curious. Not only that, according to Beyond Blue, promoting diversity to young children can enhance their own self – esteem. It also helps children work out their own place in the world. 

Promoting diversity to children can happen in a number of ways:

  • Allow situations where children can listen and learn from people of various cultural backgrounds
  • Be a role model by being respectful towards people yourself
  • Schools and early education services can translate newsletters and notices to other relevant languages
  • Allow children access to a variety of media that explores people from other cultures. 

Gender identity

Let me say this once. Yes, children DO know about gender at a young age. 

According to healthychildren.org, many children develop their understanding of their biological sex and their gender identity between the ages of two and four. 

It’s this time that children also observe and pick up on gender roles. Many children who identify as gender diverse develop their sense of identity around the same age as cis – gender children. 

Parents can promote gender diversity to young children in a number of ways: 

    Give children books and puzzles that show non – stereotypical gender representations
    Allow children to play with a wide range of toys, regardless whether they are ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ toys
    By age of six, children play with other children and toys that fit their gender identity. Parents, caregivers and teachers should support these choices. 

Stop fear mongering about diversity!

Let’s stop fear – mongering about diversity. People are different, get over it! 

No, children are not ‘brainwashed’ to be a certain gender.

A four – year – old is not ‘too young’ to know their gender identity. 

 

Yes, let ‘children be children’. And let children be themselves, regardless of their ethnicity or gender.

What do you think of the upcoming changes tovThe Wiggles? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Uncategorized

PATRON ONLY: The history of The Wiggles

In 1991, Anthony Field founded The Wiggles.

According to New Idea, Field dedicated The Wiggles’ first album to his niece Bernadette. She’d tragically died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1988. At the time, he was touring with his original band ‘The Cockroaches’. 

The Wiggles formed

Field was studying Early Childhood Education in the late 1980’s when he met Murray Cook. 

Field, Greg Page and Jeff Fatt met through music. Fatt played keyboard for the ‘Cockroaches’ and Greg Page was their roadie. 

In 1991, initiated by Field, ‘The Wiggles’ released their first self – titled album. Field dedicated it to his niece Bernadette. 

Field also came up with the band name, after a song he’d written. 

Their first song was Get Ready to Wiggle. 

The Wiggles sold 100,000 copies, despite scepticism. Cook, Fatt, Page and Field had to produce the album themselves. No one would agree to invest in them. 

Due to The Wiggles’ successthings started to turn. The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), printed and distributed the album. 

The Wiggles explode

By the late 1990’s, The Wiggles’ career exploded. Everyone wanted a piece of them!

In the mid/ late 1990’s (1996- 1997), the Wiggles started their own TV show. It was featured on the ABC. The 13 – part – series was eventually bought by Channel 7 and Disney Australia.

‘The Wiggles’ gained international attention. They performed in Disneyland in 1998.

Amazingly, The Wiggles’ songs also reached non – English speaking audiences. Their songs were performed in Cantonese and Spanish. 

Unfortunately, by mid 2000’s the original Wiggles started to disband. In 2006, Greg Page left the band after being diagnosed with a chronic illness. 

Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt left The Wiggles in 2012.

Cook has revealed to New Idea that he got very tired of touring:

We toured constantly for ten months of the year for 21 years! I think I was just tired of that part of it. Sometimes, in the middle of a tour, I’d wake up, not having slept much, thinking. ‘Do I have to get up?’. It was quite tiring. There’d be times when you’d be counting the days until the tour was over. 

The original characters

If you know The Wiggles, you know about their beloved characters. 

Since 1991, ‘The Wiggles’ have featured four main characters. They are: Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword. 

Dorothy the Dinosaur

Dorothy is a beloved green, yellow spotted dinosaur. Opera singer, Carolyn Ferrie voiced the character. She started playing Dorothy when she started going out with Anthony. 

According to Wiggles Fandom, Ferrie voiced Dorothy from 1996 – 2001, 2005 – 2009, and 2010 – 2018. 

Corrine O’Rafferty has played Dorothy since 2017.

 

Henry the Octopus

Jeff Fatt came up with Henry the Octopus. He played Henry at first. Then, Paul Paddick took over the role.  

 

Wags the Dog

Anthony Field originally played Wags the Dog. Paul Paddick ended up playing the lovable dog.

 

Captain Feathersword

Captain Feathersword has been a Field family affair. He’s been played by both of Anthony’s brothers, John and Paul. 

Captain Feathersword added humour by tickling The Wiggles cast with his feather sword. 

 

 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Victoria faces bullying crisis

Girl devastated as she is bullied by a group of girls
Image: iStock

Trigger Warning: bullying

According to Herald Sun, students in the Australian state of Victoria are facing a bullying crisis.

Bullies told a girl to “f-ing kill yourself” in a viral video. The victim attended Greater Shepparton Senior College.

This isn’t the first incident. Bullying has been a huge issue across the Greater Shepparton area. One parent said:

I freeze every time I get a call from the school because I’m worried something has happened again.

As a result, parents are calling for more schooling options. The local government conducted a survey where 94% of parents said they needed more options in the area.

Cyber – bullying skyrockets during pandemic

Teen gets bullied via text
Image: iStock
Cyber – bullying has exploded across Victoria during lockdowns. Children as young as 12 have been victims. Victorian police have warned that bullying has “…serious consequences in the real world”.

Social media companies have failed to stamp out bullying

This infuriates me. Parents have alerted social media platforms like Instagram and SnapChat about bullying content. Unfortunately, social media companies haven’t acted appropriately. Social media companies haven’t taken harmful content down.

Social media companies need to be held accountable. Governments need to introduce laws holding social media companies responsible for what’s posted. If users flag bullying or illegal content, they should be forced to act. If companies fail, they should be heavily fined at minimum.

 

Bullying becomes discriminatory

Children are facing racism, sexism and homophobia. That really hits me hard.

It’s disheartening. It should be a thing of the past. I really hope that victims of such abuse can find at least one adult that they can trust.

Fighting bullying seems to be a never ending battle. That we are losing.

We need more mental health professionals

Late last year, I wrote about the mental health crisis facing Australian youth. Anxiety, depression, ADD/ ADHD and conduct disorder diagnoses are on the rise.

Just looking through Google, it’s clear to me that Australian schools need more psychologists and/ or social workers.

The Liberal National/ Coalition introduced a program to employ chaplains. Apparently it’s cheaper than employing psychologists or social workers.

The National School Chaplaincy Program is still around, despite controversy  My concern is chaplains’ potential lack of training and education of chaplains, compared to social workers and psychologists. Will chaplains be able to deal with complex mental health issues that children are facing?

While chaplains can attain a Bachelor degree in Social Work or Counselling, they often obtain  Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care.

In contrast, an Australian social worker needs a Bachelor in Social Work at minimum. The Australian Society of Social Workers then assess aspiring social workers. Some social workers also gain a Master’s degree.

To be a clinical psychologist, the process is even more intense. According to the Australian Psychological Society, students have to complete a Bachelor degree in Psychological Science, plus an extra year for clinical study or an internship.

I’m not trying to disrespect chaplains. They can play a role in helping young people. However, psychologists and social workers can deal with complex social and mental health issues.

It’s time to take bullying seriously. Enough is enough.

If this post has raised any issues for you, feel free to contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or http://www.lifeline.org.au

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636