I heard something weird on the news today. The Australian Greens – who hold a balance of power in the Senate even if they can’t get out of a protest party mentality – were throwing their support behind a campaign called No Gender December, a movement run by organisation Play Unlimited. The goal of the campaign is to discourage the idea that certain toys should be off limits to children because of their gender and gender stereotypes by encouraging children to play with whatever they want to play. Basically buying them the toys they want, not the toys social constructs say they want. I quite like the campaign and agree with what it’s trying to achieve, and I personally believe that the gendered separation of toys is fucking ridiculous (boys vs. girls, boys vs girls, etc), a situation best resolved by consumers voting with their wallets. The weird part was when the Greens connected gendered play to domestic violence, with Greens Senator Larissa Waters stating that:
“Outdated stereotypes about girls and boys and men and women perpetuate gender inequality, which feeds into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap.”
“While such serious problems seem so far removed from choosing children’s toys, it’s important that we think about this issue – especially when so many children’s toys are being bought.”
Quote sourced from article.
Alright then. No, no, this is still a “what?” moment.
I hate stuff like this. Listen I know there’s causal links between the promotion of traditional ideas of masculinity (and femininity) and domestic violence, but this instance is trying to turn correlation into causation. Most people will simply dismiss such a claim straight away. Unfortunately many of those people will then dismiss the entire campaign and movement (who at no point on their website that I saw actually make any claims that gendered play causes domestic violence), as many politicians already have.
That’s a shame, because it’s a good thing they’re trying to promote.