The Other McCain

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‘Gender-Neutral Parenting’ and the Problem of Unintended Consequences

Posted on | August 18, 2018 | 1 Comment

Megan Fox and her ‘gender-neutral’ sons.

The actress Megan Fox and her husband, Brian Austin Green, have three sons, but things are a little weird at the Green-Fox household:

Growing up in the South, Fox was labeled a tomboy. When her peers were playing dolls, she was playing outside, climbing trees and getting dirty. Being called a tomboy informed her sense of self and is still present in her life.
“Much of my ego has been constructed around this idea that I’m not like most girls”, says the 31-year-old mother of three boys with husband Brian Austin Green, 44. “I’m somehow more masculine, tougher, less permeable or feminine.”

(Look, “tomboy” behavior is a phenomenon that existed long before feminism, and which certainly predates this kind of Gender Studies discourse about what “masculine” and “feminine” mean. Why do people believe that constantly jabbering on like this about “gender” signifies superior intellect or moral virtue? But please, continue . . .)

Fox is not into labeling herself or others, especially her children. The “Transformers” actress faced backlash in the press and on social media after her oldest son, Noah, now 5, was photographed wearing princess dresses.
“When I became pregnant with Noah, I could feel, through my mother’s intuition I suppose, that he was not subscribing to gender stereotypes, so I decided to provide an environment for him early on that would allow him to discover how he wanted to express himself,” she says. . . .

(OK, I’m going to rant about this at length later, but just note that Fox invokes “mother’s intuition” — a highly gendered concept — as authority for knowing that her son “was not subscribing to gender stereotypes” before he was even born! But please, continue . . .)

“If a boy loves princesses and a girl loves baseball, that’s not indicative of their sexuality,” Fox says. It’s indicative of their communication and creative expression. We can’t limit children by telling them how they should play.”
Trying to control how kids play sends them subtle, constant messages that their instincts are wrong. All those attempts to control, “will only lead them down a complicated and difficult path full of self-criticism and emptiness,” she says.
Her advice? If a child’s innocent play triggers a negative emotion, use the situation as an opportunity to expand their awareness and heal old wounds.
Fox encourages other parents to implement non-gender binary lifestyles for their children. Start by giving kids “the space to find the things that resonate with them,” she says. Then encourage them.

(Pardon me for interrupting again, but what is the basis for assuming that Megan Fox is an expert qualified to advise other parents? For all we know, 20 years from now, he children might be drug addicts or violent felons. But please, continue . . .)

For example, when a boy shows interest in painting or dancing, he should be given an art set or signed up for a dance class.
“Don’t insist on buying him a football for Christmas,” she says, explaining a child’s soul is pure and knows what feels right.
She emphasizes parents need to respect children as individuals and not try to control them.
“It’s not our job to shape them into the people we think they should be,” says Fox. “It’s our job to receive, with grace, the lessons they bring us. Children are mirrors that reflect back to us our shadow selves, our shame and our insecurities.”

(What deranged nonsense is this? It most certainly is the job of parents to shape our children “into the people we think they should be,” to equip them for success in life, to teach them proper behavior — courtesy, moral virtue, etc. — for otherwise we might as well just abandon them to foster care and let them be raised by strangers hired by the government social-services bureaucracy. But I remind myself I intend to rant about this at length later, so please continue . . .)

“I think most mothers feel a pull on their hearts to let their children be who they are but because of their own conditioning and because of their current environment they acquiesce to pressures to raise the children in a more rigid traditional way,” says Fox.
She wants other parents to know it’s okay to let kids be themselves. “If by speaking out, I can validate any of those latent feelings, any of those small whispers in a mother, then I am incredibly grateful to have used my voice for something so honorable.”

Where to begin excavating this mountain of bovine excrement?

It might help to know that (a) Megan Fox’s parents divorced when she was only 3 years old and (b) she doesn’t have any brothers. Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but she’s kind of kooky. In a 2010 interview with Allure magazine, she used the F-word 24 times, described herself as afflicted with obsessive-compulsive disorder and said she has such a fear of germs that she won’t eat in a restaurant or use public toilets.

Promoting this notoriously neurotic woman as a parenting expert is so irresponsible that only the liberal media would think it’s a good idea.

We cannot at this time know how Megan Fox’s children will turn out, and this is a fundamental problem with any innovative theory of parenting.

It is rather easy for anyone — whether a professor or a neurotic actress — to deride “a more rigid traditional way” of raising children, to wax enthusiastic about the need for parents “to let their children be who they are,” or to praise “not subscribing to gender stereotypes.” This kind of rhetoric sounds benevolent and caring, positing an implied contrast to those bad parents who, supposedly, are forcing their children into “rigid” stereotypical gender roles, limiting their self-expression. However, we can point to functional, successful, happy, well-adjusted adults — actual living human beings — as evidence of what outcomes are likely (or at least, optimally possible) as a result of more traditional parenting. The argument for so-called “gender-neutral” parenting, on the other hand, suffers from a lack of evidence, simply because this “non-binary” approach is a recent fad among a small group of trend-conscious parents.

Megan Fox has told us why she’s raising her children in this unusual manner, avowing her idealistic goal of letting her son “discover how he wanted to express himself” — good intentions, which proverbially pave the road to Hell. The problem with any such innovation is not benevolent intentions, but unintended consequences. For more than a century, Americans have been subjected to a series of social-engineering projects that liberals have foisted upon us by via court rulings, legislation, bureaucratic regulation and the public school system. Many of these innovations have yielded obvious catastrophes (e.g., public housing projects like Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green) whereas in other cases, we have more difficulty identifying a cause-and-effect relationship between liberal good intentions and various social problems. In some cases, the catastrophic outcome still looms in the future, as with the unsustainable actuarial basis of Social Security and Medicare. Liberals may claim certain projects have “succeeded,” but conservatives must stipulate that (a) anything might “succeed” if one had many billions of dollars of taxpayer money to spend on it, (b) the beneficial outcome you claim might have been achieved by less costly policies, and (c) the whole thing could go disastrously wrong at some point in the future.

However, why must we concede that liberals always act in good faith? Liberals certainly do not extend this courtesy to their opponents. Disagree with a liberal and you’ll be accused of malign intentions — racist! sexist! homophobe! — without any evidence whatsoever. In the case of Megan Fox’s enthusiasm for “gender-neutral” parenthood, why should we suppose that her justification of this is sincere? As I’ve pointed out, Ms. Fox came from a dysfunctional family backgroound and has publicly described herself as suffering from serious psychiatric problems. She speaks of herself using therapeutic jargon, recounting a youthful “tomboy” phase as explaining why her “ego has been constructed around this idea that I’m not like most girls.” In justifying why she has publicly displayed her son wearing a princess costume, Ms. Fox speaks of her fear of leading her children “down a complicated and difficult path full of self-criticism and emptiness” — as if dressing a boy like a boy was inherently harmful. All of this suggests that Ms. Fox’s unusual parenting methods are not the result of any noble concern for her children’s well-being, but rather are an expression of her own personal frustrations, neurotic impulses and leftover resentments about her own unhappy childhood.

It is by no means a great leap of logic to guess that her son is “not subscribing to gender stereotypes” (something Ms. Fox claimed she knew before he was even born) because his mother has deliberately encouraged this behavior: Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Having a “gender-non-conforming” (GNC) child is very en vogue among a certain clique of liberals, who are perfectly willing to exploit their children as a sort of political fashion accessory: “Hey, mom, turn your son into a ‘girl’ and get your own cable-TV reality show!”

This isn’t just about transgenderism, however. Remember how creepy it was the first time you saw those photos of Jon-Benet Ramsey dolled up for kiddie beauty pageants? And who can forget the weird pedophile vibes emitted by the TLC series Toddlers and Tiaras? Or what about that popular exercise in trauma-inducing childhood, Dance Moms?

When we see children exploited as a public display for the sake of TV ratings or to satisfy some weird parental whim, our common sense tells us that this is wrong. It may be legal, and it may even be popular or fashionable among certain people, but we ought to trust our gut instinct that there is something basically wrong about TV shows like I Am Jazz or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Whatever justifications are offered to rationalize this kind of programming, it offends our sense of human dignity that parents would permit their children to be exhibited like carnival sideshow freaks for the amusement of a TV audience. We expect bad things to result, both for the young reality-TV “stars” themselves, and also among viewers, a consequence of the “monkey-see-monkey-do” effect as such programming serves to normalize deviant behavior.

Liberals expect us to believe that Megan Fox’s son Noah just “wanted to express himself” by wearing a princess costume in public, and to believe that more boys would do this if parents weren’t afraid to “let their children be who they are.” We are also expected to remain silent while we are lectured by this self-declared parenting expert, rather than to express our common-sense hunch that this child’s abnormal behavior is being actively encouraged by his abnormal mom.

Here’s a question: If the only reason boys exhibit masculine behavior is because parents raise them in “a more rigid traditional way,” why is it wrong to believe that Megan Fox’s son exhibits effeminate behavior because of how his mother has raised him? That is to say, doesn’t her own explanation of how she thinks traditional parenthood operates imply that Ms. Fox has deliberately trained her son to be effeminate?

Parents shouldn’t buy their son a football for Christmas, Ms. Fox tells us. Why not? She doesn’t really explain that, does she? Where is the evidence that you are harming your son by getting him a football for Christmas? The parenting “expert” Megan Fox offers us no such evidence, even while expecting us to believe that it is entirely harmless for her to take her son out in public wearing a princess costume. Common sense tells us that there is something deceptive about these claims.

Skepticism is not paranoia. As a general rule, it is correct to suppose that abnormal behavior doesn’t emerge randomly in children, but rather is symptomatic of some disturbance in the normal developmental process. Something has gone awry in Megan Fox’s son’s life, but in a liberal community like Hollywood, it’s doubtful that social workers at Child Protective Services would intervene in this case. In fact, given how widely the idea of “gender-neutral parenting” is now promoted in academia, you’d be more likely to be reported to Child Protective Services in California if you were raising your son to be normal.

“Hello? . . . Yeah, there’s a family in my neighborhood who are stifling their children’s self-expression. . . . Well, I’ve noticed the boy spends a lot of time playing football, and they’ve got a little girl who always wears dresses. It must be abuse!”

The decadent cultural elite — including academics, journalists and Hollywood liberals like Megan Fox — have embraced a worldview where normal behavior is stigmatized, and perversion is celebrated.



One Response to “‘Gender-Neutral Parenting’ and the Problem of Unintended Consequences”

  1. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove
    August 19th, 2018 @ 9:33 am

    […] The Other McCain discusses gender-neutral parenting […]