Drag Queen Children's Story Hours in Public Libraries
by John Spritzler
July 23, 2019, updatedJuly 29, 2022
[The URL of this article is https://www.pdrboston.org/drag-queens-at-childrens-story-hour ]
Even if you don't read my article, at least watch this video BY A DRAG QUEEN: "DRAG QUEEN RESPONSE TO DRAG QUEEN STORY BOOK HOUR" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMSZdI2KVko
Lots of good and decent people--such as the authors of this excellent Feminist Current article titled "Why do children need 'Drag Queen Story Hour'?"--think it is wrong to have drag queens reading books to children as is happening in the increasingly prevalent library children's Story Hours. But except for people in the far right, everybody who opposes Drag Queen Children's Story Hours is afraid to express their opposition now because they fear they will be accused of being a bigot.
The result is that the only organizations demonstrating against these Drag Queen Children's Story Hours are far right, often white nationalist and even neo-Nazi organizations. This is further polarizing the general public, something that the ruling class is working hard to foment, in order to keep us have-nots so divided against each other that we will not be a serious threat to the ruling billionaire plutocracy.
Contrary to those who say that no child has been harmed by a Drag Queen story hour, the fact is that the ruling class's divide-and-rule in order to continue oppressing the have-nots--which relies on using social issues such as Drag Queen story hours--harms the have-nots and causes deaths, as you can read about here and here.
Across the country (U.S.) public libraries (and the U.S. military!*****) are inviting drag queens to lead a children's story hour. This is the latest divisive "social issue." Frequently, there are protests and demonstrations against these events, but also demonstrations in support of them. Based on some news reports, it seems the issue is dividing the population close to down the middle.
Liberals support the drag queen story hour because they think it is bigotry not to, that it is bigotry against people who just happen to be different, the way people of a minority race are different from people of the majority race, or the way people who weigh a lot are different from people who don't, etc. They think it is oppressive of drag queens to prohibit them from leading a children's story hour. And they think it is important that their children learn to tolerate and respect people who are different, and see that they can be nice people too. This all comes under the umbrella of "supporting diversity."
I think this liberal way of thinking about drag queen children's story hours is wrong. Here's why.
First of all, drag queens are not like people of a certain race or people who weigh a lot. Drag queens are not a group of people who just happened to be born a certain way. Drag queens are men who perform a certain way for an audience. Let's think about what kind of performance they perform.
Drag queens dress in deliberately exaggerated feminine attire, typically outrageously exaggerated. If you walked into a library where there is a drag queen who hasn't begun his story hour yet and just happens to be milling about with other people, would you have a hard time spotting who was the drag queen and who were just regular women? No! Of course not. The drag queen would stand out immediately. The drag queen's attire is not only exaggeratedly "feminine," but essentially a parody of female attire.
Furthermore, the typical drag queen performance entails a parody (if only by absurd exaggeration but often more than this) of female mannerisms. This is what the drag queen performance is all about.
If a man simply dresses like a woman in a manner that makes him actually appear to be a regular woman, and acts the way a typical woman actually acts, then he is not doing a drag queen performance.
What's Wrong with the 'Drag Queen' Performance?
The drag queen performance is a form of mockery of women. (Read other people saying this here* and here** and here*** and here****.) When white people put "black face" on, it's not to appear like and behave like a normal black person; no it's to do the opposite, to mock black people. When non-Native Americans put on a Native-style feather headdress and behave in some manner like an absurd stereotype of an American Indian, they're mocking American Indians. When middle class or upper class people dress like and act like Archie Bunker (you know, as beer drinking stupid racists), they're mocking white working class people.
I wonder how liberals would feel if their local library invited a non-Native person, who performed a mocking exaggerated parody of American Indians, to give the children's story hour.
How would liberals feel if some white people wearing "black face" who performed a mocking exaggerated parody of black behavior were invited to give the children's story hour?
How would liberals feel (especially if they lived in a white working class town) if some middle class or upper class people who dressed up like Archie Bunker and performed a mocking exaggerated parody of white working class people were invited to give the children's story hour?
Would the liberals think it was bigotry not to support these performers giving the children's story hour too? I doubt it. (Although, if NPR and the liberal mass media and the establishment Democratic Party liberals told them it would be bigotry then some, unfortunately, would believe them I suppose.) Would liberals (regular people, not establishment liberals) think these performers are providing a good role model to our children? I doubt it. Would liberals think it was important for their children to see that such performers can be nice people? I doubt this would be high on their list of concerns.
Liberals should re-think their opinion that it is bigotry to oppose drag queens giving the library's children's story hour.
We should not let the ruling class (and yes, the ruling class is always behind these divisive social issues, telling liberals what is bigotry) foment divide-and-rule with this latest drag queen story hour issue.
"But Hey, the Kids Enjoy the Show and Like Pretending"--So What?
Some people say, "Hey, when a drag queen leads the story hour the kids enjoy it and like pretending, and so it's fine to have drag queen story hours."
I say to this argument, "So what?" Al Jolson's black face performances (and many similar ones) were enjoyed by lots of people. Did that make it fine to mock black people that way?
Drag queens mocking women may do it in a very fun and entertaining way, and they may say it's all just in fun, and they may be very nice people, but so what?
"But Dustin Hoffman Wore Women's Clothing in Tootsie and Nobody Objected"
Note that a Drag Queen performance is NOT simply one in which a man wears women's clothing, the way Dustin Hoffman did in the film Tootsie, the plot of which was about him having to pretend to be a woman to get work and not about him mocking women; or the way Jesus is often portrayed wearing what some would say looks (to a modern person) like a woman's dress; or the way, in Shakespeare's time, male actors wore women's clothing to portray female characters because women were not allowed to act on stage. It is the mocking of women, not simply the fact of a male wearing women's clothing, that distinguishes Drag Queen performances.
Another Very Reasonable Reason Why Parents Don't Want Drag Queen Story Hours for CHILDREN
In recent years there has been almost an epidemic in U.S. middle and high schools of children deciding to change their gender. Read about this in the postscripts #3 and #4 below.
Schools are promoting this "trans epidemic" by, to the consternation of parents, guiding children along the path to becoming transgender without even informing the parents they are doing this. The Drag Queen Story Hours normalize "gender fluidity"--the idea that "Hey, if you feel like it, change your gender. Why not?" This is a reason--a very understandable one!--why many parents do not want Drag Queen Story Hours for children.
Read what this website that promotes/advertises Drag Queen Story Hours (as "Drag Story Hours") says Drag Story Hour (DSH) is:
“DSH 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 everyone can be their authentic selves! “
I think this is a BAD thing. Gender dysphoria (referred to here as "gender fluidity" and "queer") is a very unfortunate mental condition to have, and not something that should be portrayed to children as "glamorous, positive" and as the way for somebody to "be their authentic selves."
This is ESPECIALLY the case because the recent dramatic increase in the number of adolescent girls wrongly ascribing their psychological distress (often due to being autistic and/or homosexual) to (only RECENTLY experienced) gender dysphoria, and on the basis of this wrong diagnosis asking for and (because of the horrible "gender affirmation" policy of the United States) obtaining dangerous and irreversible "treatment" such as radical double mastectomy, puberty blockers, and sterilizing hormones such as testosterone.
Drag Story Hours increase the likelihood of children who are not gender dysphoric (the VAST majority) wrongly thinking that they are gender dysphoric whenever they have any psychological distress; after all, gender dysphoria is such a "glamorous, positive" condition to have!
Some very Big $ people are behind the recent push to indoctrinate our children with "gender fluidity." Read about this at https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/billionaire-family-pushing-synthetic-sex-identities-ssi-pritzkers .
* "Divine, aka Glenn Milstead, was an American actor, singer and drag queen who died in 1988 of a massive heart attack. Divine developed a name for himself as a female impersonator known for outrageous behaviour in John Waters counter-culture pre-punk films. Following his death, People magazine described Divine as the ‘Drag Queen of the Century’. Divine embraced the counterculture of the 1960s, in the 1970s moved to theatre, and in 1981 embarked on the disco industry, achieving global chart success with ‘You Think You’re a Man’.
"The film is made up of archive footage and head-and-shoulder interviews with school friends, acolytes and colleagues of Divine. He played, according to his manager, female characters who were ‘trash’, ‘filth’ and ‘obscenity in bucket loads.’ But Divine was born into a conservative, middle-class family and played on nasty stereotypes of trailer trash women to get a laugh. In his films Divine called his female co-stars ‘sluts’. In his most notorious film Pink Flamingo, Divine screams, ‘I am the filthiest person alive’." [from "I am Divine Reminds Me Why I've Always Hated Drag" by Julie Bindel at https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/i-am-divine-reminds-me-why-i-ve-always-hated-drag/ ]
** "To most educated Americans, performance in blackface is an artifact of long ago, an embarrassing reminder of a distant past in which overt racism was tolerated, as obsolete a form of cultural expression as lawn jockeys or the Uncle Tom in the turn-of-thecentury Cream of Wheat ads. In fact, though, the consensus that blackface performance is intolerably racist is of relatively recent vintage. Before that, analyses of blackface minstrelsy-even those that conceded its racism -concentrated on the meaning of the performance to the performers and the audience, ignoring or discounting its meaning to, and impact on, the people being portrayed.
"That is the current state of scholarship about performance in drag. Why hasn't our understanding that blackface is insulting extended itself to drag? In this Essay, I hope to begin that extension, suggesting that the same arguments that forged the cultural consensus against blackface should forge a consensus against drag...
"Third, drag and blackface show the person(s) being impersonated in a restricted range of behaviors, characterized by exaggeration that is at least interpretable as insult. African-Americans were shown singing, dancing, being foolish, or longing for the old plantation; women are shown primping, nagging, or longing for male protection."
[from "Drag - Blackface" by Kelly Kleiman at https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3209&context=cklawreview ]
*** "RuPaul exploits the performative element of drag, tugging on those theatrical roots, and the contestants are expected to put on a show. They use “drag language” some of which is highly misogynistic. For example, a “fishy” drag queen is a man who looks like a woman at first glance because a woman’s vagina is said to smell like fish. And RuPaul frequently says that contestants need ‘Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent’ [i.e., CUNT--J.S.] ...
"Drag reinforces the idea that women are defined by clothes, hair and makeup, and some of the youngest children believe that the drag queen is a woman anyway, so what will their takeaway be?" by Claire Lonragan at https://www.womensrights.network/post/the-misogyny-of-drag .]
**** "The other night I was at a bar for a gay night and a portion of the evening featured drag queens. As I watched, I was struck by how accepted drag is by liberals and progressives — people who will, without a second thought, call out things like blackface and yellowface, which are understood by most (frustratingly there are some who continue to need education on why blackface isn’t funny or ok) to be racist.
"Why is drag any different? Really, I’m asking. It’s possible I’m missing something here…
"To me it seems equivalent to cultural appropriation or the way in which white people have mocked black people, Asian people, Indigenous people, and pretty much every other race/ethnicity that isn’t theirs, under the guise of “performance” or “satire.” Why is it cute or funny or entertaining for men to mock women via drag? Why is it not considered to be a form of cultural appropriation, but with regard to gender? Why have progressives and mainstream feminists avoided critique of these performances, in large part?
"I imagine that the defense of drag would include arguments that say this performance of femininity is so exaggerated that it doesn’t mock women so much as it mocks a cartoonish version of extreme femininity, but I’m unconvinced that turning women into extreme, cartoonish charicatures that are to be mocked is particularly progressive — rather, it feels regressive to me." [ from "Why has drag escaped critique from feminists and the LGBTQ community?" by Meghan Murphy at https://www.feministcurrent.com/2014/04/25/why-has-drag-escaped-critique-from-feminists-and-the-lgbtq-community/ ]
***** The United States military is promoting Drag Queen Story Hour for children too:
a. "U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today issued the following statement about the 2021 “Drag Story Time” hosted at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana."
“The news of Malmstrom Air Force Base hosting a drag queen story hour for children is infuriating. [
b. Also related: "U.S. Navy Picks Active-Duty Drag Queen for Face of New Recruitment Program" [ https://www.newsbreak.com/news/3013534700255-u-s-navy-picks-active-duty-drag-queen-for-face-of-new-recruitment-program?_f=app_share&s=i1&pd=05VQ934o&lang=en_US&send_time=1683297033&trans_data=%7B%22platform%22%3A0%2C%22cv%22%3A%2184.108.40.206%22%2C%22languages%22%3A%22en%22%7D ]
Some obvious conclusions about the Navy's drag queen recruitment policy and the Air Force's Drag Queen Story Hour for children:
#1. The recent surge in Drag Queen performances in places like public libraries and elementary schools is not "just happening"; it is being promoted by powerful people at the top of our society, people who control the U.S. Navy and Air Force, for example.
#2. The top priority for those who control the U.S. military is not to WIN wars but instead to be AT war, as I show at https://www.pdrboston.org/oppressors-need-bogeyman-enemies . Since winning wars is not the top priority, the people in control of the U.S. military don't mind using it to promote the woke-anti-woke divide-and-rule social control policy that the ruling class is promoting throughout our society and thus recruit people who are more into being drag queens than serving the military's stated (though not actual) goal of national defense.
The conservative Ben Shapiro thinks it is terrible that the Navy is recruiting with a drag queen pitch. He says, quite correctly, that the new drag queen pitch undermines the strength of the military, which he--unlike myself--thinks should be kept strong because he thinks (unlike myself) that the U.S. navy's actual mission is to make the world a safe and peaceful place for all of us. So, while I disagree with Shapiro's REASON for opposing the drag queen pitch, I want to share his words about why this pitch weakens the Navy, because they are true:
"One essential way you recruit for the military, typically speaking, is to pitch the idea of patriotism. This has unfortunately become passé. And that's a problem. As patriotism dies, it is harder to recruit for the military. Generally, the people who tend to join the military are young men from patriotic backgrounds with military parents and grandparents. The chief draw of the military is that it stands for the American flag.
"The people who do not tend to join the military are people who are not particularly patriotic. So as we raise entire generations of people to dislike patriotism, it is not surprising that the military is having recruitment problems. When you combine that fact with the fact a great majority of the young people in America are apparently overweight and unhealthy, this makes for a very bad recruitment pool. And this is precisely what is happening with the United States military. So, is the military trying to fix the problem? Are they seeking patriotic recruits? Are they incentivizing physical and mental health? Of course not. They are going woke!
"They have decided to recruit based on finding personal fulfillment. Now, this is just about the dumbest pitch you could make if you are the military. The purpose of a military is not diversity; the purpose of a military is not to find a subjective sense of personal fulfillment. The goal of creating a successful military is to mold a cohesive fighting force. This generally requires that individualism take a back seat, that everybody gets broken down and then built back up as part of a community in which everybody is a series of essential parts.
"So the pitch must include values like brotherhood. The pitch must include values like patriotism. But now, the army has decided they are going to fall down the bizarre atomistic individual rabbit hole of trying to recruit based on individual self-expression. They say, “Come to the army and find yourself.” This is the kind of pitch that gets you drag queens in the Navy." [from an email Ben Shapiro sent to my inbox.]
Postscript #1: I found this article interesting:
Lisa Wade, PhD on July 28, 2015
One of the commenters in this article writes:
Danny — July 29, 2015
"If all you see in drag is men mocking women you are missing literally the entire point of drag. The point of drag is to mock the gender binary not women."
To which I (John Spritzler) might reply that good and decent people who don't want their children to be "entertained" by a performer who is mocking the gender binary are not properly characterized as bigots or bad people. I wouldn't want MY children entertained by the mockery of the gender binary.
Here are two other comments to the article:
Antonia Martinelli — December 13, 2015
"When I see a drag queen, I feel mocked. I'm a woman and my feelings can't be mansplained away by men even, gay ones. If drag queens want to continue to mock women that's their business, but they should know that's how many women feel when they see it. I have bore 3 babies, turning my body inside out, never to regain a form considered appealing by society, had foot surgery to remove neuromas from years of wearing heels to a job where it was expected ( the pain still persists) taken precautions never to look strange men in the eyes lest I draw attention as a target for violence, been used as masterbation tool on crowded trains. I know I'm privileged in other ways, but don't make a mockery of the aspects of feminity that put me physical danger."
Shelly Leit — December 17, 2015
"Men dressing up like what they think women look like is offensive to women, yes. It's making fun of what they think women are and it's rude and disrespectful. I hate drag queens as much as black people hate people who do "blackface"."
Postscript #2: Please read this article titled, "How drag degrades women: Sexism in a dress is still sexism" at https://thecritic.co.uk/how-drag-degrades-women/?fbclid=IwAR2Xug2RTqki9eSGW35MvRPX_vq8XQkjTykwmfo4GLNrT-ETynPH7mW8czw .
Postscript #3: October 8, 2022: Are a substantial number of adolescents and young adults developing gender dysphoria due to social and cultural influences--peer pressure--rather than due to innate pre-existing gender dysphoria? Does this explain the sharp rise in gender dysphoria among adolescents and young adults lately?
Here is a PLOS ONE research article (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202330) titled, "Parent reports of adolescents and young adults perceived to show signs of rapid onset of gender dysphoria." The Abstract, Purpose begins:
"In on-line forums, parents have reported that their children seemed to experience a sudden or rapid onset of gender dysphoria, appearing the first time during puberty or even after its completion. Parents describe that the onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe. Parents also report that their children exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity."
This science.org article ( https://www.science.org/content/article/new-paper-ignites-storm-over-whether-teens-experience-rapid-onset-transgender-identity) discusses the above article. The article reports:
"The most explosive of Littman's findings may be that among the young people reported on—83% of whom were designated female at birth—more than one-third had friendship groups in which 50% or more of the youths began to identify as transgender in a similar time frame. This, she writes, was more than 70 times the expected prevalence of transgender identity in young adults, which she reports is 0.7%. Littman hypothesizes that "social contagion" may be a key driver of the purportedly rapid onset dysphoria. To trans activists, such a suggestion risks both stigmatizing and further isolating transgender young people from their peers and from the resources that could support them."
Postscript #4: March 29, 2023: "Transsexualism has become today some kind of a fashionary self-diagnosis, as Asperger’s was in 2000s and 2010s, and it is quite clear only a fraction of those really are genuine cases - the Dutch estimate the frequency for genuine transsexualism is around 1:10,000." from a very informative Quora post about the transsexual phenomenon at https://www.quora.com/The-Tavistock-youth-gender-clinic-in-London-was-shut-down-after-doctors-expressed-concerned-about-the-increase-in-numbers-as-well-as-the-dearth-of-data-on-long-term-safety-and-outcomes-of-medical-transitions-Do-you/answer/Susanna-Viljanen?ch=17&oid=1477743653604735&share=107df1c0&srid=Muxc&target_type=answer&fbclid=IwAR0f7VHXbj1CN0RNbHqLu_Ci3RIyv1hOSG0e39-bevG1SKo37-LPmFz-5KQ
Postscript #5. Regarding whether these Drag Queen Story Hours for Children are promoting "gender fluidity", here is a list of books commonly read by the Drag Queens to children: https://www.dshnyc.org/book-list .
Take a look at one of these books titled "Julian is a Mermaid" (the whole book as a PDF file is at https://www.oasisacademyputney.org/uploaded/Putney/Curriculum/Home_Learning_COVID-19/Year_1/15th_June/English/Julian_is_a_Mermaid.pdf ) and you will see it is about how a little boy who wants to be a mermaid can indeed turn into a mermaid, which is not only gender fluidity but species fluidity. The other books on this list are mostly about "be who you believe you really are, not what you actually are"; this is the gender fluidity theme.