Terms 'boy' and 'girl' could be outlawed in Victorian schools

Barbie could become a thing of the past in Victorian schools.
Barbie could become a thing of the past in Victorian schools. Photo credit: File

Australian schools could soon abolish use of the terms "boy" and "girl".

Victorian councils are responding to a study by Australian National University, which concluded that educators should avoid use of the terms "boy" and "girl", the Herald Sun reported. 

Keeping in accordance with the study would also involve the banning of children's toys such as Winnie the Pooh or Barbie figurines - both of which are products that promoted gender stereotypes, the study said. 

Other children's favourites such as Thomas the Tank Engine and superheroes could also become a thing of the past.

The study found that prejudice along race and gender lines can be recognised in children as young as three and four years old. 

It discovered girls who played with feminised characters had fewer career options, while toys such as Disney princesses helped to enforce female stereotypical views. 

Councils across Victoria are now taking the study into consideration as they review their educational resources to make sure stories go beyond gender stereotypical narratives, the Daily Mail said. 

Conservative politician Georgie Crozier has lambasted the possible decision, saying boys should be boys and girls should be girls.

"Any funding should be focused on interventions to prevent family violence, and not radical gender-based theories," he explained.

However political commentator Cath Webber told Sunrise Live that while it sounded ridiculous, the move actually wasn't a bad idea. 

"The research is actually very interesting. What they're telling people to do is, don't tell girls they have to play with Barbies and don't tell boys they have to play with Lego," she said.

"It may seem crazy, but we know it's an unconscious thought pattern that little girls get into or little boys get into.

"There has to be a reason why in science, technology, engineering [and] maths in this country, we have such a low rate of females in that industry."