Have you heard about the latest battle in the Kulture Wars? That is about drag Queen’s attending story hours for very young kids and reading to them. The right in the US have gone apoplectic over this issue. They have been declaring a state of moral panic about this. Is this justified?
Bill Maher on his television show, Real Time with Bill Maher, had an interesting discussion on this subject with a lesbian Katie Herzog, and a conservative homosexual Andrew Sullivan, and himself a self-proclaimed “flagrant straight guy. “
I don’t think very many young people should be sexualized. I think too many young people are being sexualized by adults at too young an age. There’s time for that. Have you ever seen overly eager Moms preparing their little girls for beauty pageants? That’s an example of what I mean?
I also don’t think gay, straight, trans or people in drag should be able to attack kids or employ undue influence over them. This of course opens a giant door to conservatives in the US who are very quick to panic over the slightest hint that children are being subjected to sexual predators, particularly from gays, lesbians, and drag queens. The right could win the next America election over such hysteria.
I don’t see why 6 year-olds need a drag queen story hour, but I actually don’t see much harm that will result from it either. I doubt that most children “get it” that the performer is a man dressed flamboyantly like a woman. This is not an issue for most children. As Bill Maher said, “I don’t think they understand that any more than they understand that the mall Santa is an alcoholic.” Children really are innocent and strong. Often more than their parents realize. Thank goodness. Panic is not necessary. Nor is it helpful.
As politics though, the drag queen story is likely to be poison for the left and gold for the right. This can be a major battle in the Kulture Wars. Political commentator Andrew Sullivan said this
“You can demagogue this issue to the nth degree and the right will do so. If there are instances where these drag queens behave inappropriately they should stop it. But kids liking people in bizarre costumes with sequins and make-up encouraging them to come to a library and the parents get to choose whether or not to take the children or not [where is the problem?] The right is all in favor of parental rights until they do something they don’t agree with and then they want to take them away. This is a trivial issue obviously. The drag queens should probably calm it down a bit. And I say that as a huge fan of drag queens. I live among them. I’ve taken my niece and nephew to see them. And they loved it. They had no idea it was an actual man underneath.”
Bill Maher had a practical suggestion for the problem: “We Allow drag queen’s story hour but they read Ayn Rand.”
Katie Herzog had a calm solution:
“Drag queens can be clownish, can be innocent, but it can also be over sexualized so the right is taking these probably isolated incidents, and turning them into political issues, which is probably strategically smart. As a general rule, I think it is inappropriate if a biological woman was doing the same thing and it would be considered inappropriate parents probably should not take their children to a drag queen. They are turning this into a homophobic panic.”
Yet in America that is probably politics that will work. A tactic in the cultural war. It shouldn’t, but it will. As Andrew Sullivan said, “the left was able to call people racists as argument enders. Now the right asks what if we call them pedophiles or groomers? Like racist, how do you say ‘I’m not?’
This is another case of the far right and the far left battling it out on the extremes and reasonable people can’t see the ample common ground the extremes have not managed to occupy.
As Sullivan said, “this is fine if it is totally PG.” Isn’t that the common sense answer?