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Victorian students being asked to analyse gender stereotypes in fairytales


Rigid gender stereotypes in children’s literature is one of the contributing factors to high levels of family violence, campaigners say.

The Respectful Relationships program is suggesting teachers in Victorian public schools encourage students to analyse gender stereotypes in classics such as Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel.

It’s part of greater government plan to address the issue, where young children are asked to consider swapping roles and the princess rescues the prince.

The government has rejected any suggestions that fairytales are about to be banned in public schools.

Emily McGuire, the CEO of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre, has previously been involved with the program.

She told Neil Mitchell stereotypes do have an impact on young children.

‘Most of what little boys and little boys see, is heavily constructed boy and girl roles in fairytales,’ she said.

‘Those things in and of themselves aren’t bad.

‘What makes them bad is that it’s most of what they see.

‘Kids don’t get diversity, they don’t get boys getting rescued by girls, as an example.’

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