The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Rocky Horror Parenting Show

Posted on | September 9, 2014 | 95 Comments

Most parenting “trends” are bad. In general, as a parent, you should strive to be as old-fashioned as possible. Even if your children subsequently rebel against your authority — as, predictably, most kids do — you need to give them an actual authority to rebel against. And then you crush the rebellion like Darth Vader wiping out Alderaan.

Trendy progressive parent nowadays are into gender neutrality. They don’t want to impose oppressive gender norms on their kids because having normal kids is wrong, or something. What trendy progressive parents want is for their kids to be hopelessly confused weirdos, so that the parents then have a “cause” to crusade for. Nothing else can explain this Huffington Post column by Erika Kleinman:

When Gender Norms Didn’t Work for My Kid
I cut my 3-year-old daughter’s hair really short. She had asked me, specifically, “Can you cut my hair like a boy? Really, really short?” At first I gave her a bob. Then a shorter bob. Then finally, when she asked yet another time, I said to myself, “Why am I avoiding this? Let’s do it.” I got out the clippers.
Why did it take her asking me three times for me to take action? Because this culture is still very binary when it comes to gender, and never more so than during early childhood. And I’m not immune to my culture, and I feared the reactions of others. . . .

(It’s like a Jeff Foxworthy joke. You might be a trendy progressive parent if you’ve ever written a sentence that includes the phrase, “this culture is still very binary when it comes to gender.” Hint: When it comes to parenting, Judith Butler is not your friend.)

When I was in the fifth month of my pregnancy with my first child, everyone wanted to know the sex. “Boy or girl?” When I said, “Surprise,” they were openly horrified. “No one is going to know what to get the baby!” Pink or blue? Cupcakes or puppy dogs? Butterflies or tractors? These conversations annoyed me. I have a foot in my spleen and no bladder capacity and you want to know pink or blue?
Even without the key information of my baby’s sex, people sounded off on how different boys and girls are. Boys are so bold, so daring. Girls are so sweet, such good listeners. Many of these people were college educated, where they ostensibly took one class which addressed binary gender constructs. One lesbian mother described her son as “all boy.” What does that even mean? I don’t hold gay people to a higher standard when it comes to questioning gender roles, but it is testimony of how deep these perceptions of girls and boys run in this culture. . . .

(Again, she uses the phrase “this culture.” Please tell us, Ms. Kleinman, where can we find a culture without “gender roles” and “perceptions of girls and boys”? Can you point to another culture — and utopian science fiction novels don’t count — where androgynous gender anarchy prevails? This could be an interesting subject for anthropologists to explore. As a practical guideline for successful parenting, however, mere theories about a gender-free culture might not be so helpful.)

Where does the assertion come from that girls and boys behave certain ways, and that this is inherent? They are socialized differently and may have different ways of relating to one another, especially as they get older and these expectations become even more rigid. But are these differences as stark as many parents say they are? Indeed, many of the parents who stated that boys and girls were “so different” were basing this assumption on their uncontrolled experiment of (their own) two children.
Yet gender stereotypes are encouraged in early childhood, especially when it comes to toys. With that in mind, during my pregnancy, I vowed I would empower our girls, and make sure our boys were sensitive. As it turned out, we had two girls. When my youngest daughter was born, I joked to my husband, “Well, who knows? Jury’s still out on gender until they tell us themselves.” . . .
For the first three years of my older daughter’s life, I was careful to say, “Shea, when you get a boyfriend or girlfriend…” until she finally corrected me, at 4-years-old. She said, “Mom, I’m going to marry a boy, so you can stop saying that. I don’t want to marry a girl.” Fair enough.
When my youngest child started pointing at little boys in picture books, saying, “That’s me,” I was surprised. . . .

(You were “surprised”? As if your daughter wasn’t sensitive enough to pick up on her mother’s hostility to “gender stereotypes”? You spent the first four years of your older daughter’s life inciting her to bisexuality, and yet now you’re “surprised” that your younger daughter is confused about her gender? Clueless much?)

When I cut Phoebe’s hair, I used clippers . . . I left some length on top, skater boi style. The difference was pretty striking. She really did look like a boy. After the haircut, I noticed that I felt some loss around my perception of my child as female. I felt fear about how my child might be treated. My child attends a Montessori school filled with people who are like-minded in terms of empathy and rejecting cultural stereotypes, but kindergarten at a public school is only two years away. And what then? . . .

You can read the whole infuriating thing. It seems to have become a trend among progressive parents to promote gender confusion in their children, a practice that allows feminist mothers to challenge “stereotypes” vicariously. If they can raise a sissy boy or a butch girl whose abnormal behavior makes them a target of ridicule and ostracism, these mothers can then spend the rest of their lives as crusaders on behalf of tolerance, and be praised by their progressive peers for so courageously defending the child whose personality they have warped.

Catherine Newman is so proud of her effeminate son, you see? And if Erika Kleinman can “empower” her daughter Phoebe to be a “scary butch lesbian” like Rachel Maddow, this will be counted as success among the feminist peers whose admiration Ms. Kleinman craves. The child’s happiness is ultimately less important to progressive parents than “rejecting cultural stereotypes.”



95 Responses to “The Rocky Horror Parenting Show”

  1. Julie Pascal
    September 9th, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

    We have too few children and too much money.

    This is the bedrock base reason that babies and small children are dressed “boy” and dressed “girl” and why toys for toddlers are all “boy” and “girl” and why bikes are “boy” and “girl.” We have too few children. Each child gets everything new. Little boys don’t wear dresses until they’re ready for short pants and then short pants until they’re nearly grown. Toys and clothing are not hand-me-downs. Parents and friends and grandparents don’t shop with “can this be used by the next kid” as the first thing in their minds when they choose a baby blanket or a bicycle.

    Hand-me-downs… even gendered ones… are not an expression of individuality, they’re just *clothes* that you didn’t get to pick, you just have to wear.

  2. Paul H. Lemmen
    September 9th, 2014 @ 5:14 pm

    I grew up with three older sisters (the oldest child, my only brother, was nine when I was born) to provide the hand me downs. My mother changed the buttons and button-holes to the proper side for a male, changing a blouse into a shirt, reduced the size of dad’s cast off shirts and my older vrothers stuff that was way out of style but I didn’t know nor care as the clothes were always clean and fit well. I didn’t know we were poor, I had toys to play with (assorted doo-hickeys, screws, bits of wood, etc.) and an imagination to work with. And books — lots of books! My dad believed in reading and he purchased bushel-baskets of cast off books from the public library. These included damaged magazines like National Geographic, Look, Life and Time. In the late 50’s and early 60’s these were good periodicals and they expanded the horizons of a young boy in Detroit.
    Our children are too spoiled and ‘needy’. I want is their plaintive cry. Tough I say, go earn the money you ‘need’ to purchase that gadget by the sweat of your brow. Any ‘child’ over the age of twelve should be earning the money for their desires. Parents need to grow a spine and tell their children “NO!”

  3. Guest
    September 9th, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

    liberalism is child abuse

  4. Mm
    September 9th, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

    Replace “Mom” with “God,” and you have identified the reason the world is in this sorry state.

  5. Mm
    September 9th, 2014 @ 5:27 pm


  6. Guest
    September 9th, 2014 @ 5:39 pm

    It’s often “I wouldn’t do it myself, but I support the ability of brown people to murder their children” masked in supposed concern for the well-being and futures of ‘unwanted’ babies who are damned to become criminals and degenerates… tbh I think it’s just the progressive’s way of projecting his or her own racism under a guise of benevolence.

  7. Käthe
    September 9th, 2014 @ 6:16 pm
  8. maniakmedic
    September 9th, 2014 @ 6:36 pm

    Certainly wouldn’t get lefties clicking but would be far more honest. So I guess that’s two reasons the article didn’t read like that.

    On a side note, when did kids start being able to tell their parents how things were going to be? If I’d tried that with my parents they would have said no and kept saying no. Of course, they were really funny like that when I was a kid, thinking they were all big and in charge just because they were the adults and paid for everything. Pfft. /sarc

  9. maniakmedic
    September 9th, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

    Makes me think of those YouTube videos with kids throwing a fit because mom bought the black 8gb iPhone for Christmas and they wanted the white 32gb one.

  10. Paul H. Lemmen
    September 9th, 2014 @ 6:48 pm


  11. Paul H. Lemmen
    September 9th, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

    Handsome fellow. I remember wearing knee pants to school until 3rd grade began. We all got trousers at the end of 2nd grade. For our first communion! Every boy that had made their 1st communion was expected to wear uniform trousers at school … it marked the age of reason, when you know the difference between good and evil (usually at the end of 2nd grade, at Easter).

  12. Yeah,Right
    September 9th, 2014 @ 7:57 pm

    Hilarious how went from having a little freedom from certain social norms to being Charles Manson, and a revolutionary communist.

  13. Yeah,Right
    September 9th, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

    That’s quite a leap you made there to totalitarian communism because someone chafed at a strict religious upbringing. It’s also quite stupid.

  14. Yeah,right
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

    I guess facts are hate? People that come from a background that imposes any kind of rigid dogma are screwed, and the gals I knew who were subjected to a strict religious home also had brutal abusive fathers. Go figure?

  15. Yeah,Right
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

    Oh, I see without religion, and strict gender norms they’re doomed. Lol!

  16. Yeah,right
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

    And another thing: disturbed homophobes shouldn’t call others hateful.

  17. Jeanette Victoria
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

    What facts all you have done is name call

  18. Wombat_socho
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

    And you’re done here.

  19. DeadMessenger
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

    As an aside, when my son was 3, I once told him that I hoped that someday he would have kids who acted just like him. He said, “That’s not very nice, Mommy.”

  20. DeadMessenger
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:49 pm


  21. DeadMessenger
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

    I remember those days. My parents popped for a used set of Encyclopedia Brittanica. I read them all the time. I remember being 6, 8 years old or so, and reading the section about differential equations over and over. And I’d copy the formulas onto pieces of paper and coloring books. Later, I got degrees in math and engineering. Whoda seen that coming, right? Haha!

  22. DeadMessenger
    September 9th, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

    Knee pants were cool when AC/DC wore them.

  23. David R. Graham
    September 9th, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

    “hopelessly confused weirdos”

    Achieving that in three successive generations of students is the first stage of KGB’s subversion program, of which there are four stages.

    The confusion per se is not the goal. It is the precondition of the goal, which is the generations’ inability to defend themselves BECAUSE they are confused, specifically, morally confused:

  24. David R. Graham
    September 9th, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

    Well, US Army families, at least, hand along volumes of clothes, strollers, eating articles, really everything reusable, to neighbors and friends for their younger broods. I suspect other US Service families do the same. It is reasonable. Intelligence is not entirely extinguished.

  25. David R. Graham
    September 9th, 2014 @ 10:52 pm

    Not an entirely unhappy prospect.

  26. Nan
    September 9th, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

    I once read that Jerry Springer got his ass kicked as a child because his mom dressed him for school… like the little English Schoolboy he’d have been if he hadn’t been brought to the us; mom took him to department store, asking how to avoid being beat up, end result being miniature yankees uniform and no more ass kickings.

  27. Funeral guy
    September 10th, 2014 @ 2:29 am

    Superlative post, RSM. O’Reilly did a segment tonight on someone suing the DMV because they wouldn’t take their 16 year olds son’s picture in full drag. You should have seen this kid. Honestly, he had to have had parental help (or at least permission) to look as much like a young woman as he did. He should have been dragged to a psychiatrist, not encouraged. This is child abuse, pure and simple. He may have had a father, but he sure as hell didn’t have a man in the house.

  28. Funeral guy
    September 10th, 2014 @ 2:32 am

    Rock it!!! Angus!!!

  29. Funeral guy
    September 10th, 2014 @ 2:33 am


  30. Funeral guy
    September 10th, 2014 @ 2:37 am

    Your exhaustive empirical data is irrefutable. We surrender…I guess.

  31. Paul H. Lemmen
    September 10th, 2014 @ 7:25 am

    It’s a religion for the insane
    It’s a religion of the insane!

  32. Dana
    September 10th, 2014 @ 9:20 am

    Is this girl a budding lesbian, or just a tomboy? Tomboy is a fairly normal part of growing up for a lot of girls who turn out to be perfectly normal heterosexuals. The problem for this “mother” is that she’s normalizing the abnormal, in enabling gender sex confusion, when there’s a 98% probability her daughter will turn out to be heterosexual, and 99.95% likely to mentally identify with her physical nature.

    Which is better: rearing your children as though they will be normal, and having a slight risk that they will not be, or rearing your children to be confused, when all of the odds say that they won’t be?

    For all but someone like Neowayland, that would be a rhetorical question.

  33. Gunga, The Humble
    September 10th, 2014 @ 9:25 am

    My Mom always said that to me and it actually came to pass. My son is AWESOME!

  34. Jeanette Victoria
    September 10th, 2014 @ 9:52 am

    I had the Grolier Book of Knowledge I built a pinhole camera, a sextant and and bunch of other cool stuff

  35. David R. Graham
    September 10th, 2014 @ 11:57 am


  36. Quartermaster
    September 10th, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

    Only dysfunctional kids I ever met were from all sorts of families. It was heavily weighted towards anti-religious fanatics who are, almost to a person, loony leftists.
    People just like you.

  37. Quartermaster
    September 10th, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

    Inly to a progtard are facts hate. Reality and logic is something progtards hate with a purple passion.

  38. Quartermaster
    September 10th, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

    It’s about as close to certain as anything in this life is. We’re doing the experiment now among libtards, and the preliminary results are looking pretty dark.

  39. Quartermaster
    September 10th, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

    That too. Of, for and by the insane.

  40. Quartermaster
    September 10th, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

    A bit OT: When I was a County Engineer, I had a dump truck driver that would drive a bit on the wild side. I got a pic of Jeff Gordon off the innerwebz and photoshopped the drivers head onto it and hung it in the garage. he happened to be the last one back to the barn at the end of the day and everyone was sitting on the edge of their seat wondering how he would react. He almost swallowed his cigarette and laughed with everyone joining in.
    He did calm his driving a bit, though.

  41. Gunga
    September 11th, 2014 @ 6:59 am

    Q – ALL kids are dysfunctional. If they were fully functional, we’d call them adults. That’s why most leftists are really just kids who sometimes dress like adults when you think about it.

  42. Quartermaster
    September 11th, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

    I can’t agree there. I don’t expect fully functioning people in kids. I expect them to act like kids. A 10 year old kid that can competently expound upon String Theory or Partial Differential Equations would be regarded as much dysfunctional as juvenile delinquent. We would react differently, but that does not make the first any less dysfunctional.
    Leftists are dysfunctional adults because they never grew up. Worse, they refuse any contact with a reality different than the reality they create in the infinite space between their ears.

  43. » Quote of the week
    September 12th, 2014 @ 7:52 am

    […] the continuing presence of those horrid little micro- (and sometimes macro-) aggressions known as gender roles; what’s more, a not-quite-insignificant percentage of one-half the species has sworn eternal […]

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    September 13th, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

    […] The Rocky Horror Parenting Show […]

  45. chicagorefugee
    September 15th, 2014 @ 12:23 am

    Why do you believe that short haircuts and playing with trucks are exclusively “boy” things?