Many kids will love dressing up. To them, there is nothing more fun than putting on an outfit to look like a Disney Princess, or a superhero like Batman or Spiderman.
However, kids in Scotland may no longer get the chance to do this in a nursery under new guidance issued by the Care Inspectorate.
As daynurseries.co.uk reports, the organisation believes that to wear such outfits constitutes ‘gender stereotyping’. Its 64-page document states: “It is never too early to question what is seen as ‘normal’ or what is traditionally expected of boys and girls in our society.”
To this end, it argues, nurseries should “ensure dressing up and role play props offer variety and are not limited to costumes that may be aimed specifically at boys or girls”, and should provide “general clothes” for dressing up instead of “ready-made superhero or princess costumes”.
The guidance is part of a wider set of recommendations drawn up alongside gender equality body Zero Tolerance Scotland that include guidance on using gender neutral pronouns.
Such guidance may prove very controversial, stepping as it does into a hotly-contested debate about gender identity and roles. However, parents whose daughters might be a bit disappointed not to be able to dress up as Elsa at nursery can ensure they wear dresses for girls when outside the nursery.
There may be some parents who are supportive of the moves or are at least relaxed about it. Others, however, have expressed major concerns. The Times reported that Marion Calder of feminist group For Women Scotland was concerned that children might be “coerced” into using gender neutral pronouns.
She also argued: “Children should be encouraged to explore who they are and use their imagination, unfettered by ideology.”
With or without any official guidance, parents will be glad to know that they can still decide for themselves just what their sons and daughters can wear, as well as what pronouns they should or should not use.