I think we can all agree that the golden age of anti-SJW content is good and over with. That’s not to say that toxically shallow “progressive” outrage and talking points aren’t still a thing. They very much are. But, a lot like the atheism boom in the early days of YouTube, what can be said about the topic has been said 20 times over, and the prominent voices in the anti-SJW sphere have largely moved on and started producing a larger variety of content. More relevant to this post, though: the anti-SJW sphere, like all the other niche internet spaces before it, became over-saturated. What was once 10 people with quality content eventually turned into 1000 people with middling content. For the anti-SJW crowd, in particular, this over-saturation largely seemed to be caused by an influx of people–both internally and externally–who equated “the intellectual dark web” with conservatism.
Remember when Paul Joseph Watson said that conservatism was the new punk rock? We’re cool! We’re the new party of freedom and self-expression! Yeah . . . As it turns out, a large portion of the anti-SJW crowd disintegrated because it became reactionary and opposed to anything deemed to be “progressive” on principle. That is not counter culture.
According the the website:
Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.
Now, this is very cringely phrased and laden with buzzwords, as can be expected at this point. But once you peel back the veneer of Buzzfeed pandering, this is just a bunch of drag queens reading books to help expose kids to a diverse range of people before they age into being assholes to anyone who’s different. If you look more into the typical DQSH, the institution they’re visiting picks the books they read. They also train the reader beforehand. As someone who’s helped with these kind of guest programs before, I imagine the rules boil down to: no topics or language above PG rating, no politics, no religion, keep physical contact to a minimum, here’s how to handle a fire drill. From what I’ve seen, some story hours use “progressive” books where a prince is saving another prince from the dragon’s keep or some shit, but most of them seem to go for the classics. Dr. Seuss. The Hungry Caterpillar. That kind of thing.
This is apparently the worst thing ever, and horrible indoctrination, and propaganda. Here’s some quotes I pulled from people who got offended. You know, like you do:
- What is happening to a child s ,childhood,days of innocence,fun ,role playing,politics should be left out until more mature
- Those kids are too young. You can just teach them not to hate people who are different than them ffs.
- Disgusting. Can we just start bring gimps into schools now as well then?
- Normalizing deviancy into our kids’ brains instead of bringing on actual role models that contribute to society and the advancement of the human race
- Why are they trying to expose children to drag? Adults, fine, let them do as they wish within reason but come on, there’s no way this is going to end well for children.
No, those are not from an angry Christian parenting Facebook page. Those are pulled from various “anti-SJW” sources. Oh joy. I guess I did miss the olden days of taking the piss out of social traditionalists who always wanted you to “think of the children.” I just wish it wasn’t people who I am implicitly associated with, but the world’s not perfect, and I take what I can get. We’re the new counter culture, guys! That’s why we’re pearl clutchin’ harder than Phil Donahue “interviewing” Marylin Manson about how he is toxic and destroying the poor, impressionable minds of the youth, and how he’s an affront to American values.
Marylin Manson is “counter cultural,” by the way. When your behavior is more reminiscent of the old man bitching about “our values,” you do not get to say you’re counter-anything. For the record, I don’t think Drag Queen Story Hour is counter culture either. This is literally two groups who both think they’re “underground” fighting over who is the most nonconformist when, in reality, they’re both fairly mainstream. Being accepting of LGBT people is not rare (at least in the countries where DQSHs take place). Being squicked out by the concept of gender non-conformity is not rare. Neither of you are representing an underdog in this situation.
All of those above quotes pull the classic move of associating anything that isn’t the norm with deviancy. More specifically, they see anything having to do with gender non-conformity or LGBT representation as something inherently sexual and therefore “inappropriate” to expose children to. These are the same people who hear the word “gay” and can only think of butt stuff, or who hear that someone is trans and become fixated on genitals and how having sex with them would work. The idea that there are other things involved besides sex is apparently a difficult one to wrap the mind around. The idea that gender expression is a social act having to do with far more than who you’re fucking at any given moment just boggles the mind!
Using this logic, we should get rid of “[Insert Guest Here] Story Hours” in general, because all of them are, to some extent, based around exposing young kids to people they wouldn’t otherwise see or hear from. Which is propaganda, I guess. My elementary school had soldier story hours where current or former US military members read books. And this was the fucking early 2000s, right after 9/11, when military fervor and rhetoric about how “you need to support our troops, and if you don’t, you hate America!” were at an all time high. Now, if people were consistent, they would have nearly identical complaints about how you need to keep politics away from our kids and stop conditioning them to be accepting of X. Something tells me they’d be alright with that, though. Just call it a hunch. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
As for the DQSH’s goal of having kids see people who “defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish,” that is perfectly fine by me. Child development psychologists refer to pre-school/kindergarten age children as “gender investigators.” This is because children at that age are actively observing the men and women around them to figure out “what boys do” or “what girls do,” so that they can incorporate those “right” behaviors into their own behavior. They do this because children at that age are oftentimes very insecure in their gender identity: They literally think they will stop being a boy if they do something “that girls do” or vice versa.
Their “gender investigations” typically lead to really arbitrary conclusions like, “I saw my mom drink orange juice and my dad drink milk, so orange juice is for just for girls and milk is just for boys.” When I worked with kids that age, I saw it a lot. One kid was flabbergasted by seeing one of the female teachers use a hammer to fix a clock and asked if she was a man “because only boys like my dad fix things.” This arbitrary gendering of literally everything is something most people grow out of by elementary school age, but it is what forms the basis of our understanding of our own gender.
So, with all of that background given as to what we know about developmental psychology and gender roles, I am personally of the opinion that seeing a drag queen would be helpful to a kid that age. These are kids who are in the process of creating a gender role schema in their own minds, a schema regarding how not only they are “supposed to act,” but how everyone else is. Being exposed to someone with very atypical gender presentation who preaches self-expression even if it goes against the norm, seems like it would be genuinely helpful. It’d be helpful for kids who will grow up to not be stereotypically masculine or stereotypically feminine. And it’d be helpful for the kids around them who, fingers crossed, would find a better, more solid reason to mercilessly bully one of their classmates instead of the half-assed, “Sally wears baggy clothes, let’s bully her for being a dyke, haha!”