Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Another Reason to Dislike Drag Queen Story Hours

Drag Queen Story Hours are becoming quite the rage in public libraries across the country. You’ve probably read about them or seem them on YouTube. The library staff sets aside time in the children’s section of the library for a man, extravagantly dressed as a female, to come in and read a story—often one promoting some sort of nontraditional sexuality—to young children. Many of these drag queens are quite animated and not shy about performing for the children as well.

These story hours have provoked a good deal of outcry for their goal of introducing children to diverse forms of gender identification—you can be whatever you want to be, boy or girl, and love whomever you want to.

But I wonder why I have not heard any one protesting these drag queen shows for a different reason. These men present a parody, a caricature, of a woman. With their spectacular wigs, exaggerated foam-filled figures, overdone mannerisms, and macabre make-up, they in no way resemble an actual woman. 

What the drag queen is, in fact, is a mockery of a woman. How is this okay? I marvel that in our enlightened and careful age, men are allowed to parade themselves in this farcical way, to chuckles and applause. If the same man were to entertain the crowd wearing black face, he would be shouted down and socially ruined (as he should be). Yet, he is welcome to present an exaggerated and tasteless parody of women with impunity.

I am not one who is offended at every turn, but as a woman, drag queens offend me. If they perform in an adult theater where consenting adults buy a ticket, fine.  But they have no place performing in a public library, where, in their massive pink wigs and fishnet stockings, they can mock everyone of my gender.

All people, including women, have enough opportunities to be made fun of in life without inviting someone into the local library to do just that.

Photo courtesy of iStock.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bundt Cakes and Abortions

Some of our countrymen, like those in the New York State legislature, are having trouble understanding why some Americans (a lot, actually)  would oppose abortion-up-to-birth laws. Just the other day a Democratic presidential candidate likened pro-life Americans to—yes—racists. This moves me to paint an analogy for these folks, as rudimentary as it may be.

Let’s suppose that a woman decides to make a chocolate Bundt cake to serve for dessert one day. As it is baking, she realizes that she has no whipped cream to accompany it. She also realizes that it will not go well at all with the entrĂ©e she will be serving. She considers and considers, and decides that she is indeed unprepared to serve chocolate Bundt cake that day. One minute before the timer dings, she puts on her insulated mitts, pulls the aromatic cake from the oven, and sets it on the stove.

It is perfectly formed, and she can easily picture it on a plate, with its lustrous chocolate finish. Still, it has to go. Grabbing her spatula, she scrapes the rich cake from the pan and lets it fall into the kitchen trash can, then bundles it away.

A few minutes later her neighbor arrives to return some books she had borrowed. Upon entering the house, she breathes in the tantalizing smell of chocolate cake. Her face lights up as she exclaims, “Oh, you made a cake!” As our baker knows, this woman, even with the help of her husband, has never succeeded in making a cake, as many times as she has tried.

Our baker explains that the cake turned out to be all wrong for tonight’s occasion, so she threw it away. Wide-eyed, the cake-starved neighbor rushes to the kitchen trash, hoping to rescue the unwanted product-of-confection. She stops short, seeing a clean plastic liner in the can. Just then she hears the trash truck out front and realizes that the cake is now beyond anyone’s reach.

Cakes like this one, which women think they want but later change their minds about, or that come together in the pan accidentally while the woman is planning something else, are tossed out each day at various stages of baking. Sometimes, indeed, it is the decision of the boyfriend who comes home and storms, “You haven’t made another Bundt cake, have you?” and insists on its disposal. Would it not be more compassionate to the cake-deprived people of the country, desperate for a cake of their own, to let the cake fully bake and offer it to them?

Of course, this analogy breaks down in many ways. For one thing, even the most cake-addicted foodie would not claim that a cake is human (yet). But if the flagrant waste of a perfect chocolate cake makes your stomach contract, how much more the waste of a perfectly formed human child?

Ms. Gillibrand and Mr. Cuomo, I hope this helps.