Nothing is G-Rated Anymore
My recent case study on this topic comes from Netflix's reworking of the classic children's book series, The Babysitters Club. Having learned our lesson with shows like Duck Tales, my wife started watching with our daughter to make sure that it was appropriate. Sure enough, episode 4 (Mary Anne Saves the Day) takes a full cannonball off the high-dive into woke social justice dogma and modern gender theory by introducing a poor little 9-year-old boy whose parents have dressed him up like a girl.
Now, I must give some disclaimers here. I have never read a Babysitters Club book, and I haven't watched any of the other episodes of the series. That might be relevant when evaluating characters in their development through the story arcs. I did, however, watch this episode, and I would encourage you to do the same. It's an excellent case study in indoctrination. You probably won't want to watch it with a child unless you are ready to have a challenging follow-up discussion.
The entire episode is filled with subtle (and many not so subtle), expressions of modern secular values. I will list some of the ones that I caught, but I will save the main topic, the gender-confused child to the end.
So, here we go...
- The source of truth is always your feelings and never facts. This is so much so, that one of the character's best friends says, "If you believe you are a pathetic crybaby, who am I to tell you otherwise." That's not an insult. This person is so concerned about affirming her friend's feelings that she affirms even the negative and inaccurate self-characterizations.
- It is your job to assert your feelings. Never are they questioned against objective reality.
- Fathers are not the place to go for moral guidance. Not only that, but they are also the helpless victims of the stereotypically negative qualities of their gender; apt to make things worse, not better. (Admittedly, fathers have been portrayed this way for decades in American media)
- Women are generally more understanding and better sources of guidance than men. (Of course, this is a series for little girls, so one might expect such a perspective)
- Most moral guidance is communicated by friends, not by any kind of moral authority.
- Californians are more enlightened because they are knowledgable about LGBT+ issues.
- Witchcraft is normal and acceptable, albeit somewhat peculiar to the main character.
- Show respect to others. (Even when confronting people that she disagreed with, the main character is polite.)
- Listen to others and let them speak.
Mary Anne discovers that the child has a closet full of boy clothes, but that he now wears new (girl) clothes. This leads to the conclusion by Mary Anne that "Bailey was a little girl, and her new clothes helped people see that." (One wonders why the child's parents kept his closet filled with boy clothes if they were convinced of his new identity, but I digress...)
The climactic moment of the storyline is also the most absurd when Mary Anne calls 911 because Bailey is running a fever, and the doctors treating him begin to refer to the feminine-dressed Bailey according to his biological sex. 13-year-old Mary Anne pulls the board-certified Medical Doctor and Registered Nurse aside to (politely) woke-scold them, because, "If you looked at her and not her chart, you would see Bailey is not a boy."
Do you see the absurdity of this?! Bailey is a boy by every objective measure. Virtually every cell in his body contains that encoded truth. He has male parts and not female parts, and those biological realities are all that matter. It turns out that men and women are objectively different, and those differences are very important to the scientific practice of medicine, while one's internal self-identification is virtually irrelevant.
At one point, Mary Anne seeks the sage advice of a fellow 13-year-old girl, who explains that transgenderism is like always knowing that you were right-handed. This, of course, sounds every bit like an analogy hatched up by a 13-year-old girl to explain irrational feelings. First, there is to my knowledge, much more evidence for the genetic encoding of hand dominance, than there is for a genetic origin of transgenderism. However, it is not nearly as defined as biological sex. With a single cell from your body, sex can be identified clearly. That is not the case with hand dominance. Furthermore, hand dominance is not an essential quality of who a person is, nor is ever vitally relevant for medical treatment. The feeling that something isn't right that I get when I try to use my non-dominate hand for a task like writing, for example, comes primarily from the fact that I've only ever attempted to become proficient at writing with my dominate hand. Much of that feeling would be overcome if I put the same effort into writing with my other hand. Any person can learn to do any task with a non-dominate hand given enough effort, and in time the unsettling feeling greatly diminishes or disappears altogether. It's just a ludicrous analogy all around.
Another glaring inconsistency of this episode is the idea that the boy's identity is wrapped up in his ability to wear pink clothing and princess dresses. I'm old enough to remember when society was preaching that wearing any color and any clothing didn't make a girl any less of a girl. Now, we must believe that a boy who prefers to wear pink must truly be a girl, rather than, I don't know... maybe just a boy who likes pink. However, for Bailey, wearing a blue hospital gown is somehow subverting the fact that he is truly a girl, and is a terrible injustice. Either dressing a certain way is indicative of whether you are a boy or a girl, or it is not. You can't have it both ways.
On a minor side note, a reoccurring theme in this episode is the "I always knew at some level" claim about gender identity and sexual preference. This is a convenient way for a person who comes out with an LGBT+ identity (especially later in life) to recast past experiences and behaviors in a way that confirms the assumption that the current identity is an essential and immutable part of who they've always been. However, this is an unfalsifiable truth claim, and objectively meaningless. This illustrates one of the flaws of the "lived experience" theory of truth. Experience must be interpreted, and not all interpretations are equal. If your interpretations of your own experiences have changed through your life, how do you know which one is true?
All of this, of course, is overshadowed by the tragedy of parents confusing a poor child into thinking that his feelings right now define his essential identity. Studies have shown that most children who identify as transgender will not keep doing so as adults. This fact should come as no surprise to anyone who has spent even a little bit of time with children. It turns out that their grasp on reality is not all that great, to say the least. It's up to the adults in their life to teach them about truth, and not to buy into their delusions. Unless of course, you are trying to become a hero of your woke community by taking advantage of your child's confusion, but once again, I digress...
Here's the bottom line. If you are paying attention, this blatant proselytizing for secular sexual values shouldn't be a surprise. Children's media creators aren't merely providing material to meet the demands of the public. They are actively trying to slide past the gatekeepers (parents), to groom children directly into a perverted view of sexual identity. They do this by hijacking a brand that parents associate with wholesome nostalgia, and by introducing the subversive ideas far enough into the series that parents have let down their guard, and children have become hooked.
So, what can we do? Gone are the days when there were enough vigilant parents from the Judeo-Christian value system in our society that they could pressure the entertainment industry to change, or at least force them to restrain their radical tendencies. This is our reality. Expect the vast majority of new children's content to introduce radical sexual ideology at some point. However, we still have a job to do to protect our children, and so I suggest the following:
- Don't trust MPAA ratings or their equivalents. This one is no more complex than that. We cannot let people who don't share our values decide what is appropriate for our children.
- Do your best to delay the age at which your children are exposed to complex sexual issues. It is incredibly harmful for an adult to introduce ideas to an immature, developing mind for which it is not prepared. A child does not come up with a sophisticated theory of alternative gender identities on his own. An irresponsible adult planted that confusion. However, our culture is making it increasingly more difficult to protect the innocence of children.
- Become both the filter and content curator for your children. When a child is very young, we seek to shelter them from topics that they are not emotionally, mentally, or spiritually prepared to handle. That means heavily filtering what goes into their minds. As a child enters adolescence, we have to prepare them to take on these topics and our role as parents should become more like a curator that introduces discussions in a controlled environment where we can teach them how to think critically, rationally, biblically, and morally
- Send your child to a Christian school. I know this is perhaps the most controversial thing I will suggest, but government schools are leading the charge to establish secular gender theory in society. If there are exceptions to that fact, they will not long stand the onslaught of the woke invasion.
- Learn to enjoy the classics. I would much rather explain to my young children why it isn't safe for Wiley Coyote to strap a rocket to his back while on roller skates than have to explain homosexual relationships to them. There is a lot of classic content that is safer, and Christians might have to fall back on that more and more as we navigate our "brave new world."
- Support wholesome content creators. Organizations such as VidAngel and RightNow Media are beginning to produce alternatives in the form of filtered and original content. I will be the first one to observe that the production value of Christian media has lagged well behind the rest of the media industry, but there may be a future in which the only way Christians will find new unobjectionable media is by supporting a cottage industry of like-minded self-hosted content creators.