Winnie-the-Pooh books, Barbie dolls, and superhero play are among things children could be banned from schools after a radical study on ‘gender stereotyping’.

A number of Victorian councils will respond to the study by Australian National University, which found educators should avoid using the terms ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ and classifying children according to gender.

The study means Melbourne schools, kindergartens and libraries could be without children’s classics such as Thomas the Tank Engine, which wouldn’t pass the guidelines, Herald Sun reported.

The research found ‘prejudice along race and gender lines can be observed’ in children as young as three-years-old.

Girls who played with ‘feminised characters’, such as Barbie dolls, had fewer career options, while those who engaged with Disney princess toys had more female-stereotypical views.

Meanwhile, boys who watched superhero shows were more gender stereotyped in their thinking, the study found.

Councils across Victoria are set to review educational resources, ensuring stories and experiences go beyond ‘gender stereotypical narratives’.

Teachers will also be encouraged to not select toys in gendered colours, or to use expressions such as ‘boys will be boys’, according to the publication.

Is this really the answer?

Share your comments below

  • No, I don’t think it’s the answer. As for kids as young as three shining certain signs, they wouldn’t be aware of what they were saying or doing. Ban them at schools, they’re still going to be in people’s homes. One daughter didn’t play with Barbie, she works in retail. Other daughter loved Barbie and is a paediatrician
    Go figure!!!


  • Really!!! This is getting over the top.


  • Get over it, I love those books!


  • This is taking things too far if they do ban the books. Haven’t they got better things to do with the money they are given for doing research? Just another reason not to read or listen to the news.


  • I am always concerned when books are banned. The history of books being banned is concerning and the outcome even more interesting. Well worth looking into and researching. I do not agree with bans on books. Gender stereotyping comes about by more factors than just books.

    • There are so many good lessons to learn from these books.


  • So one known agenda driven group does a biased study and everyone removes children’s play choices? Lets ignore all the many many studies that show that even without any type of gender stereotyping at all that most boys will still choose ‘boy’ toys most of the time and that most girls will choose ‘girl’ toys most of the time. Even when the colours were changed (ie pink cars and blue superhero dolls) the children still chose the toys that they usually would have irrespective of colour. All this does is remove a child’s choice to play with what they want.
    Children don’t choose toys because they are marketed to their gender. Marketers market them to the child’s gender because they know that most children will choose to play with the gender based toys.
    How about instead of removing gender based toys, how about we just increase options. eg I loved my tonka toys but I would have liked a bigger range of colours rather than just yellow. My brother loved his HeMan dolls but really hated Barbie.
    What sort of bland neutral world are we forcing our children to live in?


  • This is PC gone mad and I truly wonder what world my teen son is going to grow up in. My favourite and earliest memory of my first book is Little Women. In this situation, that would no longer be an option! How ridiculous. My son’s favourite books were Specky McGee. It gave him a love of learning and reading. In this instance, he would no longer be able to read these as they are about boys football. I’m sick of the minority taking over the majority. I’m making a stand and will continue to provide my children and future grandchildren with what I think is appropriate for them. I will not be dictated to by a Council whose charter should not be to force such opinions and roles on their community.


  • What rot! No one connected with the study has said a word about banning anything – it is a total media beat up! Sigh. No one wants to get rid of the toys, just try and ensure that boys are encouraged – not just allowed – to play with dolls and girls encouraged – not allowed – to play with blocks. And have you watched Thomas lately? It’s pretty crappy!


  • How ridiculous! We are just going too far. I mean go back a generation and our parents were watching The Flinstones regularly and look at how gender sterotyped shows like that were. Did that lower the career opportunities for any of them? Heaven help us if it did!


  • I seriously don’t know where to begin on this. There was nothing wrong with it when it first came out, how many years ago……. There’s nothing wrong with it now. If they want it changed then how about they go and write a few kids books that are gender neutral


  • This is ludicrous. Let kids play with what they have grown up with and let them embrace who they are regardless. Sadly, some people just like to make trouble.


  • I’m not too concerned about this. Kids are kids and should be able to play with whatever toys they like.


  • I think it is great the there is progress in education, keeping it neutral at kindergarten and school is something I agree with, you can then do what you like at home. Giving children a better start without stereotyping has proven to be on benefit to both boys and girls. We have gone to far with the Barbie thing with girls being sexualized for far too long and boys having to be tough without being able to be sensitive. I look forward to a more balanced future for children,will be interesting.


  • What is the world coming to when kids dont have the right to be kids and enjoy the things we did! My 2 young daughters are Batman fans, play with both dolls and cars. Children need to be able to enjoy their childhood and not have what some in society deem to be correct enforced on them.


  • The biggest load of garbage I have ever heard or are we that feel we are born into the right body now the minority? My sons have cars and trucks to play with but they also have babies and pram and bottles. They love cooking and cleaning with my youngest following us around with his own vaccum, poor kid is definitely not being slotted into any gender “norm/role” They boys also watch super heroes and frozen alike. Political correctness is out of control


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