Feminism: The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
Santa Claus: A legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve
What do these two things have in common, you may think? Santa has been facing some criticism lately, not about his presents or his beard, but for his name and identity as a man. Some have come to criticise Santa being known as ‘Father’ Christmas, or indeed just ‘Santa’. In the feminist age, people are protesting for more equal terms of identity such as ‘policepeople’ or ‘firefighters’. These gender-neutral versions of positions seem like a good idea into advancing into a more equal world. But what does Santa have to do with this? Santa, or as some people thinking he should be called – Santx, has been under attack for not being gender-neutral.
A survey done by Graphic Springs found that from 400 people around the UK and the US, 19% percent of people believe he should be gender-neutral. This boils down to children seeing Santa as being a male figure that brings them presents and spreads the Christmas spirit, but by him being male, it doesn’t allow for a female role model of the same terms to exist and therefore doesn’t contribute towards working towards a more equal society. Well, 18% of the people from that same survey argued Santa Claus should wear skinny jeans, 22% said he should drive a flying car and 21% percent said he needs to go on a diet. So, why is this a problem? Why is wanting a gender-neutral figure as a representation for Santa a bad thing? It’s because it doesn’t matter.
Feminism is about fighting for equality between the sexes. It’s getting women votes, it’s getting rid of the pay gap, it’s allowing little girls to become scientists and doctors and engineers and little boys to become artists and teachers and nurses. It’s more than a gender-neutral Santa. By focusing our attention on changing Santa’s name we are marking feminism as something petty and annoying, putting it in the same disliked category as millennials and Lululemon. Yes, feminism isn’t just fighting against only the big issues of society, but, making it seem as if feminism’s main point of action is towards Santa Claus being gender-neutral makes it seem trivial and overdramatic. Inequality between the sexes still continues, and feminism is still fighting for equality, it shouldn’t be treated as something trying to dismantle harmless tradition and ruin the holiday spirit.
Father Christmas is based on a true person – St. Nicholas. A Christian bishop, born in Patara (now part of Turkey) in around 280 AD who provided for the poor and sick. He secretly dropped a bag of gold down a chimney to help a family in need which fell into a stocking that was hanging by the fire. He continued giving out secret gifts until his death. This tradition of gift-giving continued in Western culture to grow to the figure “Father Christmas” giving presents to young children on the Eve of the 24th. There is no purpose in turning Santa into a Santx, or Jack and Beanstalk into Jaqueline, or the three little pigs into the three little gilts. It reduced feminism to a petty, over-critical, shallow and trivial theory rather than the belief and fight for equality. It makes it seem as if feminism is trying to eliminate tradition, and although there are misogynistic traditions that should be changed, Santa Claus shouldn’t be one of them. Not only since he’s based on a real person or that he delivers presents, but because feminism has more important matters to focus on.