A daycare in Norway has put the kibosh on letting children wear costumes to celebrate an annual festival, on the grounds that the princess and superhero costumes kids prefer encourage traditional gender roles.
Next Sunday will mark the celebration of Fastelavn, Norway’s version of the Carnival holiday preceding Lent. Traditionally, children celebrate Fastelavn by dressing up in costumes and collecting treats, much like American children do on Halloween.
But now, the Vikåsen daycare center in Trondheim is cracking down, with its board complaining that children were choosing costumes too typical for their gender.
“Many of the girls dress up as princesses and the boys are dressed like Spiderman, Renate Kvivesen, Vikåsen’s head, told Adresseavisen. “We don’t want to reinforce gender stereotypes in the nursery and therefore we have chosen to change the format of the arrangement this year.”
Kvivesen also complained that the children’s costumes were too commercialized and lacked creativity. “We want the nursery to be part of the creative processes of the child,” she said.
While opinions among parents are apparently divided, Norwegian politician Hanne Bjurstrøm said it was a good idea to break down any semblance of gender roles among children.
“It is unfortunate if we teach our children that boys and girls cannot do the same things,” Bjurstrøm said. “Toys and clothes that encourage different behavior for boys and girls can give children a narrow view of who they may be … and it can be problematic from a gender equality perspective.”
Norway stands out in the world for its strong commitment to gender equality. For instance, a quota law requires40 percent of corporate boards to be female.
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