Categories
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.

Categories
Culture News Retail and Marketing

#NotAllFeminists #NotAllTransAllies

Popular Australian clothing,  brand, Peter Alexander, has come under fire for pulling pajama tops saying “Boys will be boys”, after one mother complained that the slogan was sexist on their Facebook page.

Did you read that? ONE mother allegedly complained that the slogan ‘boys will be boys’ was offensive and sexist.

To be clear, I think the complaint was silly, as was the move by Peter Alexander. What next? Are radio stations going to pull the Choirboys’ song of the same name?

 

I agree with Herald Sun columnist, Sky News presenter and 3AW regular, Rita Panahi who said that the brand should not have bowed down to one complaint.

I want to emphasise this. There was ONE complaint by ONE woman. Needless to say that this is NOT representative of all women or all feminists.

This is NOT representative of tarnsgender people, non – binary people or their allies. 

This is one idiot who made one comment and Peter Alexander was a fool for such a knee – jerk reaction.

So, in the coming days, let’s not turn it into something it’s not:

  • It’s not representative of all feminists
  • It’s not representative of all progressives
  • It’s not representatives of all transgender/ non – binary people and their allies

It is only representative of one idiot who decided that a well – known saying was offensive and one idiotic company that decided to overreact to that one complaint.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

We need to stop demonising men

Former UK football star, David Beckham was slammed after he shared a picture of him kissing his daughter, Harper on the lips. Each to their own when it comes to affection. I’m more of a hugger myself. But this outrage over this non – sexual (can’t believe I had to write that) act of affection doesn’t do anyone justice.

This isn’t the first time a father has come under attack and their relationship with their daughters has been scrutinised. Last year, Arizona – based photographer, Heather Whitten was at risk of being charged with neglect when a photo she took in 2014 went viral. It was of a father nursing his sick daughter in the shower.

There is no doubt that child abuse is a scourge on society that needs to be eradicated. Demonising parents falsely — especially fathers — doesn’t help anyone.

Father with newborn baby
Image: iStock

 

Yes, there are men that do terrible things to both their partners and children. Same can be said for women, too. But to hit the roof and demonise men that aren’t abusive doesn’t help anyone and is proven to be detrimental. A lack of male teachers is a well – known problem.

Family law often leave fathers high and dry. While there is more awareness and pushes to change family law so this gender bias isn’t so strong, it still has a tragic effect. Fighting what is often a losing battle can take a toll on them and result in suicide.

Unforunately, the media plays a role in the demonisation of men. I’m not talking about fictional fathers like Homer Simpson. Earlier this year, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article from a woman who wouldn’t leave her daughter with a man. That included a male relative.

The majority  of men are good. A majority of husbands/ partners and fathers want to do the right thing by their loved ones, including children. Are they perfect? Of course not, but the majority don’t deserve this demonisation.

How do you think this mentality affects young boys? How can boys not feel horrible about who they are when their gender is constantly under fire. How can this not backfire — you tell someone how terrible they are long enough, they’re going to end up, not just believing it, but living it. How can a straight man be expected to commit to a woman? I think feminists are shooting themselves in the foot.

For the men who do their best to look after their loved ones, good on you. For those who want to commit to their partner/ spouse — *applause*. For the fathers who are committed to looking after children, regardless whether they’re with the mother or not, good on you and keep going! Step – fathers, same thing.

 

This post just got me thinking – in the U.S. it was Father’s Day not that long ago (was it last weekend?). Hope all the fathers in the U.S. had a good day.

 

What do you think about this? Do you think men are unfairly targeted, especially when it comes to children? Feel free to left your thoughts below.

 

 

 

Categories
Pop Culture

Gender stereotypes and the role of popular culture in portraying attitudes

IMG_0461
Should Snow White be analysed for portrayal of gender stereotypes?

The Victorian State Government has come under fire for the “Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships” has come under fire again for allegedly encouraging children as young as three to see if fairy tales are sexist. According to news.com.au writer and Mamamia Editor in Chief, Jamila Rizvi, the Andrews Government is not banning fairy tales, but is encouraging children to look at fairy tales critically and see whether they enforce gender stereotypes.

If Rizvi is right, that’s not a bad idea for older children, not three, four or five. Children this age should be able to read fairy tales or other stories for recreation, without having to think too much about sociological issues.

Hearing and reading about this debate has got me thinking about fairy tales, especially Disney’s adaptations and their impact on society. I grew up watching “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella”. I always wanted the videos like one of my cousins did (I did end up getting them). How did it affect me growing up? Apart from wishing magic wands and magic carpets (i.e. from Aladdin) were real, it never really had an impact on me.

 

In terms of attitudes about gender, we have to realise that the times in which they originally came out. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in February 1938, while Disney’s adaptation of Cinderella came out in 1950. Apart from women starting to work due to the Second World War, gender roles would have been traditional… or at least that’s what was expected. These films were made before the Civil Rights era in the U.S, so even having a mixed – racial marriage would in film would’ve caused a backlash. What I’m saying is I think before we condemn fairy tales for being “sexist” or even “hetero-normative”, it’s useful to keep in mind the period and, quite frankly, the pressure Walt Disney and other writers, cartoonists, etc at the time would have been under to tow a line to be deemed appropriate.

IMG_0465
Disney’s Cinderella. Released in 1950

Disney tales and the 21st Century

Having said all that, growing up with Disney, I’ve also realised that the 1990’s and 2000’s have seen an expansion in story lines created by Disney cartoonists. Not all follow the prince/ princess narrative or portray gender stereotypes. The two I can think of immediately are Mulan (1998) and the four Toy Story movies (1995, 1999, 2010 and scheduled for 2019), and Frozen (2013).

For those who don’t know, Mulan is about a young Chinese woman who takes her father’s place in fighting the Hun army and save China. To do this,she dresses and pretends to be a man, (although, sometimes unconvincing, I must say). She fights with the men, along with sidekick dragon, Mushu, and becomes a hero, even after she is exposed for who she really is. She does fall in love with the captain, Shang, but only after she fights the Hun army and saves Shang’s life after he is wounded in battle.

Disney/ Pixar Toy Story series (which I’ve seen one and two), is largely about family, friendship and belonging. Apart from Bo – Peeps massive crush on Woody the cowboy doll, the first and second films are more based on the friendships between Woody, Buzz Light-year the spaceman figure and Jessie the cowgirl (in Toy Story 2). Toy Story Two deals with issues such as belonging, fears of abandonment and friendship – all issues that would be appropriate for educators, parents and teachers to talk about to their children.

While I haven’t seen it, I heard creator Chris Buck talk to One Plus One host Jane Hutcheon about the intent and the focus of the hit film. He said that the main focus of the film was about the relationship and love between the protagonist, Princess Elsa and her sister, Princess Anna and their reconciliation.

I can’t see why children couldn’t be exposed to both the traditional Disney fairy tales and the modern ones that break the fairy tale mould. At least it’ll give them more than one perspective if that’s what you’re worried about. Most importantly, let kids be kids. If a child expresses troubling behaviour, then address it, get Department of Community Services (DCS) involved if they are showing signs of abuse. Fairy tales are not to blame for that. And children’s entertainment shouldn’t be treated with such scrutiny from adults.

What are your thoughts? Did you grow up reading and watching Disney movies? What were your favourites?