Robert Downey Jr.’s failures in Doolittle are the failures of American film today.
How American Parents Turn Their Daughters Out.
Pimp My Preschooler
It was the dreaded Moms’ Night Out at my son’s exorbitantly expensive Montessori preschool.
There were a few aged rock stars and insufferable list B-actors with children at this school, but that wasn’t going to stop me from providing my firstborn with excellence in developmental education that mainly seemed to involve depositing smooth pebbles into various bowls using hand-hewn stone implements.
We were just digging into pizza and our third bottle of Chianti when a stylish, glossy-haired mother of two started talking about her daughter, who was three. In a voice filled with breathless anticipation, she described her plans for when her baby would enter the sexual marketplace. “I just want her to know she can tell me anything. As soon as she gets her period, I’m totally taking her to get on the pill. I just want us to be close.”
She turned to me. “Have you thought about when you’ll put your daughter on the pill?” My daughter was one at the time.
There aren’t a lot of street pimps in the suburbs of America. We don’t need them: we have affluent white female liberals, or “AWFLs,” as the Internet calls them. The expression “to turn out” comes from prison and street hooker culture. Pimps “turn out” girls; turn them into prostitutes and offer them up to customers. Getting “turned out” is what these bad boyfriends do to impressionable young girls.
I only learned these terms from the blistering streetwalker documentaries HBO used to run in early 2000s, before they discovered Prestige Rape Drama. But the term fits exactly what middle- and upper-middle class families are doing to their daughters. They don’t actually want them to grow up into hookers, but the end results are sort of the same.
And as the old joke goes, at least the women in the Lucite pleasers and hot pants are getting paid for it.
Ghost In The Dating Machine
In January, former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted this to young female voters:
You deserve better. Dump the guy who ghosted you, convince the roommate to let you adopt a dog, and I’ll take care of canceling your student loan debt! https://t.co/YIMb9o1Y8P
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 9, 2020
Whew, there’s a lot of powwow chow to munch on here. Let’s start with the fact that apparently there are so many women getting “ghosted” (abandoned by men after brief romantic encounters) that they now constitute a demographic cohort big enough to be a presidential voting bloc.
Which is surprising, because for the last twenty years or so, American girls have been raised from birth to be premium dating fodder, primed from the first whiff of puberty to be Available for Sex on Saturday Night. So why are they being ghosted in droves? Abandoned and left to die alone, clutching their pets and Warren for President signs?
You’d think these girls would be experts at snagging a mate. Years of sex ed, birth control pills, and permission to date early and often with no judgement from the grownups should have guaranteed they’d have suitors dangling from their every finger, lines outside the door, dates every night, so many engagement rings shoved under their noses they’d be blinded by the shimmering sight of all those diamonds nestled against black velvet.
Parenting: The New Sex Trafficking
Munchausen by proxy is a mental illness in which the mother (it’s almost always the mother) injures or sickens her own child on purpose for attention and sympathy. Grooming is a crime in which an adult nurtures a child over a long period of time to be open to receiving sexual advances.
American parenting is starting to resemble a terrifying combination of both.
How else to explain why girls are being turned out—groomed for extreme antisocial sexual behavior from a young age—not by pimps, but by their parents and teachers?
When it comes to sex ed, I believe in the screenwriting theory known as Chekhov’s gun: if you show a gun in the first act, it must be fired by the third. If you show kids the sex toys (and worse) in the first grade, the sex toys will be used by high school.
Recently, NPR published “What Your Teen Wishes You Knew About Sex Education.” In the article, we meet Electra McGrath-Skrzydlewski, who made a point of telling her fourth-grade daughter Lily, well, everything. “She was very open from the get-go, even before those were things that I needed to know about,” her daughter recounts.
Lily came out as pansexual at age 12.
At an institutional level, we are creating a cursed generation of females expert at every imaginable permutation of sex with an infinite number of partners, while largely shunning the other thing, the main thing, the only thing still emitting any heat in the cold, merciless hearth of contemporary life: the dream of forming a family.
Because the shocking truth is: No one wants to wife a sex expert.
You Can’t Kiss the Bride, She’s Been Groomed
One reason American parents—mothers mainly—are rushing their daughters onto the Pill or LARC implants (long-acting reversible contraceptives) is to make sure their offspring are not punished with babies in high school. “I can’t possibly stop her from doing what comes naturally, but I can temporarily sterilize her.”
The schools do their part by forcing children into mandatory early sex education classes that often include graphic illustrations of sexual positions and expose even kindergarteners to the infinite array of gender variants and sexual orientations newly discovered in the human genome.
Condom demonstrations on bananas? That’s so 1999.
High school sophomores now know how to prepare each other’s rectums for “safe anal play,” which is pitched as a zesty, natural activity for all genders. In 2019, California approved a terrifying, dystopian new statewide curriculum that includes a seventh-grade lesson that “identified sexual activities such as bathing together and mutual masturbation as safe options to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.”
Whew! I don’t know about you, but I’m always relieved when I finish preparing some organic, gluten free, plant-based after-school snacks and discover my sixth-grade daughter in the bath with her classmates! Because, you know, it’s much harder to transmit chlamydia in water than through intercourse. Bless you, Governor Newsom!
When it comes to sex ed, I live by a very simple rule: if an adult who is not our pediatrician tries to talk to my child about their genitals, this person’s kneecaps should expect to meet my crowbar. Normal adults do not wish to talk about children’s genitals or discuss children having sex with children in front of other children. Everyone knows only priests can do that!
It’s actually not the kiddie porn-adjacent sex ed lessons that bother me the most—instead, it’s the constant, ad nauseam emphasis on dating and relationships. Among middle schoolers!
Another story about the California curriculum included this: “An eighth-grade lesson on sexual orientation described hypothetical dating scenarios of teenagers. It gave an example of a ‘ninth grade guy’ who has been attracted to and made out only with girls, but who fell in love with another guy and is in a relationship with him. The couple also date other people, but are both dating only guys.”
Hang on: are 13- and 14-year-olds even supposed to be in relationships? With multiple people and genders? Aren’t relationships reserved for grownups—or at least much older teenagers? If my middle-schooler tried to talk to me about his or her “relationship” with some other pubescent dork, I’d laugh, ground them, and take away their Nintendo Switch. Haha, looks like you’re single now, kid!
Why do AWFLS want their daughters to start dating so early? As anyone who has been involuntarily single can confirm, dating almost always totally sucks. Why do PARENTS (!) want to extend their child’s miserable dating window longer and longer, younger and younger? How many years of soul-destroying “dating” are they willing to subject their kid to? Ten years? Twenty? A lifetime of unfulfilled longing?
Shouldn’t parents be guiding children to make their dating windows as short as possible? Imagine if your entire dating history consisted of one date! It would be like pitching the perfect game in baseball. We met, went on one date, and that was it.
It all reminds me of the moment when Charlotte from Sex and the City, the ancient Ur text of eternal white female concubinage, cries out plaintively “I’ve been dating since I was fifteen! I’m exhausted! Where is he already?”
Poor Charlotte. She tried to warn you, you AWFL women!
Schoolhouse to Traphouse
This is not all theoreticals and jokes. I wrote recently about the tragic trajectory of Steven Spielberg’s daughter Mikaela, who despite (or because of) her wealth and privilege, has apparently chosen a career as a “sex worker” because, you know, empowering!
Her story hits a little close to home for me. Years ago, some family friends—an upper-middle-class white couple—adopted two (unrelated) mixed-race girls. One grew into a slim, silent, long-legged beauty. The other was kind and chubby and fun.
The pretty one, let’s call her Maya, had modeling photos taken before she was ten. She would appear at various events in minidresses, platform heels, and Kardashian-style camera-ready makeup. “Every girl in her class is doing it,” her mother would say when people asked.
By sixth grade, boys were sneaking into her house at night through the window.
By ninth grade, Maya was in weekly “relationship therapy” with her white, acne-infested boyfriend, who was 19. Other adult’s opinions on the situation were not welcome, it was made clear.
More pathologies and dysfunctions followed, including years of unsuccessful drug rehab, boot camps, and so forth. Eventually, arrests and disappearances.
But no judgment, because judgment is harmful.
But Peachy! Teens today are having less sex! Fewer babies! Fewer abortions! Zoomers are way more tame than you drunken, debauched Gen-Xers!
There is some truth to that, but according to the Guttmacher Institute, “in 2017, some 57% of twelfth-graders had ever had intercourse, compared with 20% of ninth-graders.” In other words, it’s still basically the norm.
And: “35% of sexually active female students were using a prescription birth control method. Between 2015 and 2017, the proportion of females in twelfth grade who reported using a prescription method at last intercourse rose from 36% to 45%.”
But Peachy, teenage girls have been taking the Pill since they were getting wasted at Jake Ryan’s house! Yes, also true. Only these days the Pill and the other long-term B.C. prescriptions are being paired with an intense culture of early sexualization at home and school, without the early socialization necessary to create future mothers and fathers.
Imagine being groomed from the age of five for a diverse, robust sex life with as many partners as there are stars in the sky…without an endgame in sight.
All of which leads us to a terrible existential crisis. Let’s say you have a nice son in his twenties. He gets engaged! Despite all odds, he found the rare intact female with working reproductive organs! She even uses the quaint pronouns “she/her.” O happy day!
Now: Would you prefer that your future daughter-in-law possess encyclopedic knowledge of cutting-edge birth control methods and exotic polyamorous Twister-sex configurations, or no? Would it bother you to know she can describe in detail the pattern on the ceiling of the Burning Man Orgy Tent? Bluntly, how many sexual partners would you like your son’s fiancée to have had? Is there a number you would find alarmingly high?
The number I would prefer is one, and my son would be the only name on the list, and it would be written in indelible forever ink on her heart.
Shouldn’t this be our goal as parents, to help them achieve this type of ideal end state?
But maybe you’re an AWFL and would not mind one little bit if your son’s fiancée showed up for her first Hometown Date at your house bearing a lovely bouquet of flowers, a few virulent STDs, arms covered in patches and scars from years of hormonal implants, plus a multi-decade history of heartbreak and tragicomic dating disasters.
If that’s the case, 2020 is the timeline you will enjoy most.
Drag Queen Story Hour—And Beyond!
Forget drag queens reading gender-queer fairy tales to boys in Elsa gowns and their confused, giggly mothers. That’s so 2019.
A public library in Maryland hosted a “lesbian pole dancer’s teens-only sex ed class for 12- to 17-year-olds” this month. “Teens have questions about sexual health, whether its [sic] birth control, lubricants, STI testing, LGBTQ relationships, or something else completely. This will be an informal workshop where your teen can ask ANY sexual health question you want and get an honest answer.”
What happens when the 12-year-olds know more about sex than the most syphilitic Parisian madames of the 18th century? Does this ensure they will marry young and well, and be good and loving parents?
Or is it more likely that this blasted knowledge guarantees a tedious multi-decade Bataan death march through dating apps, therapists, anti-depressants, polyamorous cul-de-sacs, and (eventually) to a spiritual and biological dead end?
Theory: some parents turn out their kids to impress their friends.
“I’m so cool and laid-back that I’m totally fine with Brooklynn having Atticus sleep over and share a bed. Yes they’re 12, but they’re in love. Their school had a class about relationships and dating and they know all about protection methods and safe anal play. It’s cool, and mostly I really don’t want them to laugh at me and call me ‘Boomer’ again or tell the richer, even hipper parents at our school that I suggested sleeping in the twin bunk bed.”
Birth Control: The Most Dangerous Gateway Drug
Fentanyl and heroin are super bad for you, but the good news is, they’ll kill you right away. Birth control may only cause functional brain damage and depression, requiring a lifetime of other medical interventions.
A new study may force AWFLs to reconsider their daughter’s hormonal intake. “Researchers studying the brain found that women taking oral contraceptives, commonly known as birth control pills, had significantly smaller hypothalamus volume, compared to women not taking the pill, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).”
“Other findings from the study… were that smaller hypothalamic volume was also associated with greater anger and showed a strong correlation with depressive symptoms.”
Not enough proof? Last October JAMA published a shocking study that Vice magazine described this way:
Compared to girls who weren’t and/or had never taken contraceptive pills, 16-year-olds who take birth control cried more, had more eating problems, and exhibited excessive sleepiness (common symptoms of adolescent depression)….the tie between birth control pills and depressive symptoms remained significant. This finding substantiates previous research that’s shown that teenagers who take birth control pills are more likely to take psychiatric drugs later.
Get ready to cry more, Los Angeles teenagers! Pills and tears and then more pills to stop all those tears are coming to a school near you! “Dozens of Los Angeles high schools will soon host clinics providing sexual and mental health services for teenagers as part of a wellness [sic] program that officials say is a groundbreaking model of comprehensive on-campus care.”
Funny how grooming is now being paired at the institutional level with mental health interventions. Almost as if there is a causal link between early promiscuity and mental problems! Could being exposed to disease, pregnancy, premature relationships, heartbreak, and shame be bad for kids? Rates of depression and prescriptions of anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs are all skyrocketing among young people.
Why would you ever start your child down this path? I’m hardly anti-medicine, but it certainly seems true that once you get into prescription drugs (you know, for health!), it’s a lot easier to stay on than get off.
So stop squirming and keep still, kid—inserting this DepoProvera implant under your skin will only hurt for a second, but will depress you for years to come.
You don’t need to be a Freudian to deduce that much of this grooming by parents and school adults is a twisted form of vicarious wish fulfillment. If your mom didn’t get the hot guy at school to take her to the prom, you’re at much higher risk of frequent DryBar and bikini waxing appointments, shopping sprees at PINK, and visits to friendly gynecologists by the time of your first period.
One thing parent pimps always forget is that the bright fantasy in their hearts, the one where their beautiful, nubile daughter is swept off her feet by Chad the Prom King and ravished on a glorious rose petal strewn bed hung with gauzy curtains, doesn’t exist. It’s a scene you saw in a movie once on a plane.
Exactly zero teenage boys are prepared to fill the leading man role you have written for him.
You’re not preparing Cinderella for the ball, parents. Instead, you’re grooming Cinderella for an endless supply of awkward sex, long after the carriage has turned back into a pumpkin and begun to putrefy.
Few college boys, even, are mentally prepared for long-term relationships. Which means that your daughter is potentially being set up for years of repeated heartbreak. Like mortgages, high blood pressure, and hair loss, “bad break ups” are not things children should have to deal with. Why are we exposing them to a single drop of unnecessary emotional pain?
Maya is now in her late twenties, alive but lost, devoured by drugs and the attendant lifestyle. A few weeks ago her older sister, who remains chubby and fun and kind, legally adopted the young son Maya abandoned.
What is to be done? How can we stop this madness?
Have the answers I do not.
But there are, perhaps, a few things you can do to save yourself. Start by trying to immunize the children in your life the best you can before they are infected with our sexually available, emotionally stunted culture.
It helps if you can avoid most public schools. At parochial schools, while many do not actually adhere to religious doctrine, at least there will be uniforms and you will be a bit further from the grip of rapacious “health consultants” who wish to fill your daughter’s Frozen backpack with dildos and sample tubes of anal lube and pamphlets on sterilization.
And maybe give your child real and positive reasons to avoid sexual activity with the other, even more disgusting pubescents in their class. Help them cherish, even fantasize about, the idea of a future family and their own children.
Raise mothers, not dog moms.
Raise women, not wine aunts.
Raise ladies, not cat ladies.
If you won’t do it for your girls, then please, for the love of God, do it for the boys! For they seek and do not find!
Care for an ominous peek into our future hellscape? CNN Business published a recent study that said “by 2030, 45% of working women aged 25 to 44 in the United States will be single, the largest share in history.”
Mission accomplished, America!
Girls gave up the engagement ring for the NuvaRing. If this continues unchecked, a generation of young women will ghost the Earth, leaving nothing behind but the felines.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.