Australian Teacher Wants to Change Father's Day to 'Special Persons Day'
An academic and social justice activist in Australia wants to remove the stigma she thinks is created by Father's Day, and she doesn't quite understand why that has caused a stink.
Dr. Red Ruby Scarlet — yes, that's her real name now — went on television in Adelaide last week to talk about her idea to change Father's Day to Special Persons Day. The backlash was immediate throughout the English-speaking world, but she stuck to her guns.
She appeared on the show "Today Tonight in Adelaide" to talk about her push to rename Father's Day. Formerly known as Miriam Giugni, Scarlet describes the motivation behind her movement to rename Father's Day, saying,
If we think about children's rights and how they get to participate in a community and feel a sense of belonging, sometimes shifting the language around those emotions and important days can be significant and more inclusive than the current way that we describe them.
The point she attempts to make is that children of alternative family structures should not feel excluded. Scarlet displays a breathtaking lack of understanding when she says, "There has been a backlash, but the backlash hasn't necessarily come from families in those communities. It's people outside those particular contexts."
You know, fathers.
The host then asks her why social justice is important for little kids. Dr. Scarlet responds:
There's a lot of Australian research that has actually informed a lot of international research, teacher research for example, that has demonstrated children's capacity to be really inclusive once they know about these ideas and they think, 'Wow, why are people seeing this as a controversy?’ Why are we calling this political correctness when in fact it's about our rights?
Scarlet appears to be advocating for a world in which young children are able to conceive rights and confer them upon put-upon groups that are traditionally underrepresented.
Dr. Scarlet holds a doctorate in early childhood studies from the University of Melbourne. She describes both her political beliefs and her religion as VEGAN on her Facebook account.
The backlash has indeed been widespread.
David Elliott, a liberal minister from New South Wales, called it "crap." In a Facebook post, he said:
Can't believe that someone who professes to be "enlightened" would advocate such crap. People still celebrate fatherhood even after their father and grandfathers have passed away, in fact for many people Father's Day is a wonderful time of reflecting and remembering.
He added that it would be the equivalent of not celebrating veterans for fear of offending draft dodgers or getting rid of Labour Day to avoid riling up conservatives.
Many took to Twitter to voice their opposition to the idea.
According to the interview, Scarlet has been successful in getting many primary schools in Australia to embrace this movement. A bio of Scarlet states that she is involved in developing curricula for early childhood education nationally and internationally:
Dr Red Ruby Scarlet is an artist, early childhood teacher, academic and activist. She has been working in early childhood for over 25 years and is devoted to creative, imaginative, inclusive practices. She has developed curriculum and learning frameworks nationally and internationally.
This follows a movement in America this past summer to cancel Father's Day, which sparked a social media movement with its own hashtag, #endfathersday. This campaign made national news right around Father's Day, with a segment on Fox and Friends:
You can watch Dr. Red Ruby Scarlet's interview in its entirety here: