A Labour councillor from a town in County Durham is trying to ban female Santa Claus impersonators from taking part in the annual parade.
Councillor ArunChandran has said he will put forward a motion stopping women from performing as a female Santa Claus at Newton Aycliffe’s winter parade, which he described as “a form of political correctness,” reports The Times.
It comes after a sub-committee at Great Aycliffe Town Council recently voted unanimously to allow female volunteers to perform as Santa Claus, following a request from two women.
Santa Claus has toured Great Aycliffe’s streets, giving out sweets to children, every Christmas Eve since the 1960s.
Councillor says Santa Claus must be a man
Chandran is set to put forward his proposal to ban female Santa Claus impersonators at the annual parade during a recreation committee meeting on Thursday night (November 29), reports The Northern Echo.
“Santa Claus being a man is a long-held tradition accepted by the vast majority of society.”
— Councillor Arun Chandran
“If the council was unable to have enough male volunteers to act as Santa Claus, I would have no objection to women volunteers undertaking the role, rather than deny the presence of a Santa on a given tour, though I would have to be convinced that the council had given plenty of notice and sought publicly for male volunteers and not left thing to the last minute,” Chandran said at a meeting, reports the local news outlet.
He added that his motion would state that “if there is no shortage of male volunteers to act as Santa Claus, we do not permit a female volunteer to perform the role.”
Chandran continued: “My understanding is that Santa Claus, otherwise called Father Christmas, is a male role. I have no issue with a Mrs Claus. But Santa Claus being a man is a long-held tradition accepted by the vast majority of society,” reports The Times.
The councillor added: “I believe that children in particular will be expecting a male Santa, and that it may well reflect badly on the Council if we were to deliberately introduce a form of political correctness just because a Labour Party member turns up at a Events Sub Committee meeting to demand women’s rights to be Santa Claus,” reports Metro.
The council clerk has said that a final decision on the issue will be made on December 12.
Talk shows debate if there can be a female Santa Claus
The local news has attracted widespread attention in the national media, becoming the focus of debate on ITV’s Loose Women on Wednesday (November 28).
Loose Women panelist Linda Robson argued: “Father Christmas is a man as we all know, and I think the kids would be confused if they got to see Father Christmas and it was a woman, so I think we should keep it as it is.”
Fellow panelist Stacey Solomon counter-argued that so long as the costume resembles Santa Claus, it does not matter who gets to wear it.
“Is this female Santa wearing a beard and hat? So what does it matter what’s underneath?” she said, adding: “They’re playing the part of Santa. Sometimes there’s not enough people around who look like Santa. So does it matter whether it’s a man, woman or whoever?”
The issue was also discussed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, with co-host Piers Morgan insisting that Father Christmas is “male.”
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