Gender-Free Christmas Presents: 'Let Boys Be Boys And Girls Be Girls,' Says Aussie PM

02/12/2014 16:01 | Updated 20 May 2015

Brother and sister opening presents on Christmas

Gender-free Christmas presents for girls and boys have come under fire from a senior politician.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described a campaign to homogenise toys as 'political correctness', and added: "Let boys be boys, let girls be girls."

The 'No Gender December' campaign is aimed at breaking down stereotypes around buying dolls for girls and trucks for boys.

The campaign is asking anyone concerned about gender marketing to children to sign an online pledge that 'there is no place for gender stereotypes under my Christmas tree'.

But father-of-three grown-up daughters Mr Abbott said parents should be allowed to do what was in the best interests of their children.

He told Channel Nine television: "I certainly don't believe in that kind of political correctness.

"Let boys be boys, let girls be girls - that's always been my philosophy - and above all else, let parents do what they think is in the best interests of their children."

However, Senator Larissa Waters said 'separate aisles of pink and blue, catalogues categorising toys as for girls or boys and advertising showing just girls or boys playing with particular toys' reinforced inequality between men and women.

She said: "Setting such strong gender stereotypes at early ages can have long-term impacts, including influencing self-perception and career aspirations.

"Outdated stereotypes about girls and boys, and men and women, perpetuate gender inequality, which feeds into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the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."

But another politician, Senator Cory Bernardi backed Abbott, calling Waters' comments 'bizarre'.

He said: "I hope that Santa brings Senator Waters some common sense for Christmas."

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