We are living in a culture which force-feeds kids gender stereotypes and at the same time tells them those stereotypes define what it is to be a boy or a girl.
That was the message I wanted to get out with my first ‘Snowflake’ book.
I’m certainly not the first person to revamp the ‘Ladybird’ books of the 60s and 70s, and many have done it with far greater skill than I. Artist Miriam Elia famously had a run-in with Penguin back in 2015 over her parody books, and Ladybird have even come up with their own parody-of-themselves series.
It’s usually only the text I change; I’m aware my work is amateur & I like to think that’s part of its appeal. I’m not selling anything, I don’t use the Ladybird logo – no laws are being broken.
The simplicity of the books seems to lend itself perfectly to gender critical thought and focuses on the innocence of the children whose minds are being filled with this pastel-coloured twisty bullshit. Those of us in the UK, and in many other places, are currently living in a culture where a boy is not allowed to wear a skirt to school – unless he claims that he is a girl, in which case it’s absolutely fine. That is a dangerous message to give a growing mind.
I’ve been told that book pages like the ones above are disrespectful to trans children. I would dispute that: I am genuinely deeply concerned for children who are told they can choose to ‘become’ a boy or a girl. Consider this. There are some people who think it’s all just part of an exciting ‘gender journey’ to transition kids, and others who genuinely believe that we are all defined by stereotypes.
Kids are particularly susceptible to this.
These adults affirm to kids that their gender-non-conforming choices mean they are born in the ‘wrong’ body. This is sexist, frequently homophobic and ultimately abusive.
If that last comment seems a little extreme, perhaps a step too far: ‘people-would-listen-more-if-you-toned-it-down-a-bit-Lily’ I would ask you to consider the GIRES Penguins. The GIRES Penguins, guaranteed to confuse and baffle young minds and undermine their trust in their parents, are featured in a series of stories about transgender baby penguins. One is a TIM, one is a TIF and one is non-binary. The thing they have in common is how very, very special they are.
The stories are designed to be shown to kids aged 3-6 in a classroom situation. I stumbled across them while researching transgenderism in children, back in that other-world when Jessie thought she was a boy.
Here I link you to the tale of Blur, a young, non-binary penguin whose confusion is eventually joyously affirmed with a cake & the reassurance that he/she/it/zie is not like all the rest. Please read it. It will only take a minute. If you haven’t seen it already, this may well be a #PeakTrans moment for you.
These ‘resources – I use the word lightly- are accompanied by teachers notes which stress
“Understanding gender diversity should start at primary school level, before children’s views become influenced by the prejudices of the adults around them.“
GIRES wants children to be told that they can choose whether they are a boy or a girl. What their parents may think is not important. They’re told that transitioning makes them extra special & if they identify as non-binary they should be given a party and a cake and that everyone will love them.
Not only that, GIRES wants to make sure to get this into children’s heads before other adults have a chance to tell them it isn’t so.
One mum wrote on social media that her child was crying in the night after such a presentation, worried they might wake up with a penis. Another reported on Mumsnet that her child told her they haven’t yet ‘decided’ whether to be a boy or a girl. Now I don’t know about you, but to my mind this whole thing is creepy AF.
The ‘Snowflake’ book covers started in direct response to the GIRES penguins. And then they just sort of snowballed from there.
4thwavenow ran an article containing some of the covers:
“We’re delighted to offer you a preview of these wonderful children’s books, produced by everyone’s favourite gender expert, Lily Maynard”
At the time there were lots of books popping up, telling kids to think about if they were trans or not. Most of them are badly written & poorly illustrated. The grammar in some – including the GIRES penguins- is pretty painful. The 4thwave post was a parody of those who jump on the trans bandwagon: for there are plenty of people making money out of the ‘kiddie trans’ industry.
Self-definition is everything.
Small children can grasp the concept of sexed bodies; they can grasp the concept of gender roles. But small children believe what we tell them. Two words: Father Christmas. Kids can’t begin to understand that identifying as a special penguin is the first step down a road paved with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, surgeries, sterility, problems with sexual relationships and a lifetime as a medical patient. They just can’t relate to that stuff; they have a weak grasp on long-term consequences and a propensity to grasp short term solutions. Because they’re kids. That’s one of the main reasons why we don’t let them drive cars or drink whisky.
We’re telling them gender is a choice.
Some kids may be drawn by the promise of cake and a party: the promise of a glitter family; may see only the prospect of being different, special; the centre of attention; all awkwardness washed away. For some children, the grass quite definitely seems greener on the other side.
So how does this play out for the other kids in the class? The ones like Suzie? Well, initially they may well enjoy the party: cake is a great leveller among kids.
But where does it leave the girls who’ve been brought up with little Zachary in their class and are now meant to accept him as Zoe? Well, if they’ve been sufficiently brainwashed it works out fine, in theory. A friend of middle-child told me she would be willing to give up her hard-earned place on her sports team to a trans-identified boy if he wanted it and ‘if she was better than me’. I believe she meant it. She hasn’t even been exposed to the non-binary penguins. Social media has done its job. At 13, she is a good trans-ally. Like generations of young women before her, she is willing to put the feelings of males before her own.
But what of ‘the TERFs in year eleven? Where does that leave them? If a boy really IS a girl, where does that leave the girls who aren’t comfortable changing around boys who say they’re girls?
And where does it leave their parents, when all around must affirm, affirm, affirm?
One thing I’ve noticed is that young people tend to whisper if they’re saying anything gender-critical. They may even glance around them. They know damn well that to be caught out questioning the trans narrative can have serious consequences. Being labelled as ‘transphobic’ IRL or on social media could be social suicide. Misgendering your classmates is literal violence.
It is easy for kids to believe this because of the status of the people who are telling them it’s so. They trust their teachers: and now the police are on board too. New gender-neutral headgear sounds like a great idea.
Let’s break down sexism in the police force! Oh, but wait…
There’s now a gender-fluid officer working at Scotland Yard. He says:
“The first time I walked into a Met building as Abi, I was hyperventilating so much I almost passed out. I’ve done it a handful of times since and felt so happy that I got to be me at work. Abi is a part of me that exists and I want that part to be recognised and validated.”
You’re a Scotland Yard officer mate! Get your nose out of your bloody navel and go and catch burglars. Or arrest transphobes, or whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing! Especially as presumably all those girly ‘women police’ are no use at all, too busy hyperventilating all over the place, cos that’s what women do, innit?
So teachers and the cops are supporting all of this, and remember – parents, like Mrs Mouse, are not to be trusted.
It seems there is almost a drive to encourage children into what has been referred to as ‘the cult of identity politics’ Such an idea would seem astonishing in the light of the mental health and medical issues that surround trans-identification. Surely no organisation would be encouraging children to join them with promises of colourful sweets and cuddles with puppies?
All identities are equal but some are more equal than others
Be aware that ‘being trans’ is only ok if you’re the ‘right sort’ of trans.
Some facts are facts: some things are irrefutable. We are a certain age, for example. It’s quite possible for a 50 year old to look like -or even have the health of- the average 30 or the average 70 year old, but he is still 50. In London, women get a free bus pass at 60. My tired, worn out, asthmatic friend cannot just identify as 60 and get the bus pass. Nor would her luckier counterpart be allowed to join an 18-30s package holiday for the under-30s. Your age is not up for negotiation: it just is. I’m not even going to link to Stephonknee. Google him if you must.
Likewise with height. I’m short. I might feel tall, and some days I really do, but I’m still not tall. When I was a teenager, I really, really, really wanted to be taller. However much I want to be, however much I might feel I am, it’s not going to happen. I could put on 6 inch heels and hide them under a long skirt; I can pretend to be tall but I’m still not actually tall. Wishing does not make it so.
As for trans-racial identification, we have probably all heard of Rachel Dolezal, a black rights activist who turned out to be white. She became a media folk devil: called, among other more vicious things, a ‘blackface’ and ‘mentally ill’. It was rightly pointed out that she had taken positions in the workforce that could have been held by actual African-Americans. She is mocked and hated on but she is eloquent, if misguided, in her defence. I cannot see why she is so different to a man who claims he is a woman. The situations are different, but a man can no more become a woman than Ms Dolezal can become black. Accept one identity and surely you should accept both?
Transgenderism is, literally, transphobic.
Lierre Keith sums this up brilliantly.
Telling children that liking certain things or wearing certain clothes makes them a boy or a girl is wrong. It is a lie. Whether misguided or deliberate, encouraging them in this belief is beguilement. It is astonishingly sexist and often deeply homophobic. There is no right or wrong way to be a boy or a girl, and it is not progressive to claim that gender is a binary.
What happens to the child who sees the privileges of the opposite sex and resents them? To the boy who wishes he was pretty, to the girl who hates skirts and long hair? Well, historically, around 80% of them grow up just fine. Many of them turn out to be gay.
Things are different now.
Now we hear stories of gay kids being called transphobic for not transitioning, and adults assuming that girls with short hair and checked shirts want to be asked their preferred pronouns. Being gay is so last century. And if you’re not really sure you’re trans, you can be non-binary.
Non-binary is such a vague concept, ‘neither male nor female’ that the preferred chant of the non-binary snowflake is the meaningless cry of:
‘Non-Binary is Valid!’
Kids are told that it’s easy to ‘change gender’: that it’s a brave quest for their authentic selves; that they can be built magical vaginas and functioning willies and have breasts painlessly removed. We’re told that trans people are everywhere, that they pass easily, that our concerns are silly. We are told it’s an easy solution to mental health issues when studies show it isn’t. We aren’t meant to question; we aren’t to mention the dark side- for example that male pattern violence stays the same among men who identify as women- because to do so is transphobic. Women who want to talk about that are called TERFs- they need to be no-platformed, hated, mocked and sometimes punched.
So the Snowflake book covers were born as a response to all this creepy woowoo and mindless worship of sexual stereotypes.
From a culture where nobody is allowed to question the idea that a child can choose whether to be a girl or a boy without having any idea of the possible consequences.
From a culture where telling a girl ‘yes, you’re a boy’ is applauded and telling her ‘No, you’re a girl’ is called conversion therapy.
Think about that for a moment – shouldn’t it be the other way round?
The Degenderettes are a group of eyeliner-clad blokes who claim to be women & charge around menacingly with baseball bats. As you do.
Misgendering is now considered by many to be a serious offence.
Update: April 2018 (and again 2019)
Since the original post, there have been a few additions to the Snowflake family.
What is a ‘gender identity’ anyway? I don’t think I have one. Do you totally identify with male or female stereotypes? No? Congratulations! You are non-binary.
This (below) was created for Amy Desir (see the pink swim cap) and the Man Friday women who ventured into men’s spaces to protest against men in women’s spaces. Article about the swim session here.
Here’s a cover I made for the lovely Shon Faye, who famously told a woman to ‘enjoy her erasure’. Shon had references to himself removed from my wordpress blog- I was informed afterwards- and I’ve had to remove several tweets about him from Twitter, purely for ‘deadnaming’ him.
Does it seem a little churlish to lightly mock confused and deluded men? Perhaps it does. But let’s remember, they have no qualms about infiltrating women’s spaces and enthusiastically mocking women as they do.
Recently the ‘transing of the dead’ is happening more and more. There’s an excellent article about it on 4thwavenow here. It is especially damaging as it erases gender defiant role models from history. Here I quote from Queen Elizabeth II’s famous Speech to the Troops at Tilbury where she quite clearly states that she’s a man, not a woman. Or not.
The story of Jennie Hodgers, a soldier who fought in the Civil War as Albert Cashier, is one such narrative.
If you Google Jennie Hodgers now, the first hit you get is Wikipedia, which changes her name and lists her as ‘trans’.
The Civil War Trust observes ‘There are over 400 documented cases of women disguising themselves as men and fighting as soldiers on both sides during the Civil War.’
Rather than accept that there are some women who chose life as a soldier over life within the confines offered to women at the time, the translobby would have us accept that these women were actually transgender. After all, what could be more weak and pathetic than being a woman? Last year the Green Party even referenced ‘men and non-men’…
In 2016, a branch of the Green Party famously referred to women as ‘non-men’ in a misguided attempt to be gender inclusive. While they were subject to ridicule and outrage over this, see Meghan Murphy’s article here, Green Party Women defended the use of the term. Samantha Rea writes an excellent article about this for the Independent, here.
And here’s a Christmas card.
This one should really have accompanied my article ‘But Nobody’s encouraging Kids to be Trans!” but I didn’t come up with it until shortly afterwards. Just leave the kids alone FFS! Little kids don’t need ‘educating’ about gender.
This is another response to the GIRES penguins – remember, get ’em young ‘before they become influenced by the prejudices of adults around them’.
I came up with the above page after speaking to a woman at a conference recently who worked with children at risk, and she said that parents who repeatedly ‘misgendered’ their trans-identified child should be referred to social services.
The Genderbread Person. This ‘snowflake’ book cover is hardly subtle, but I’ve rarely come across such complete and utter superficial waffle as the ‘genderbread person’ pictures, articles and lesson plans.
By Sam Killermann, co-creator of The Safe Zone Project, this annoying little pink and blue brained biscuit isn’t really even worth checking out. But here’s the link anyway. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Women’s sports have been in for a rough ride lately, with self-ID giving places on women’s teams to trans-identified men. This means that women and girls are losing out on medals, scholarships and training .
Single-sex clubs like the Brownies, Scouts and Guides now accept trans-identifed children and youth leaders- and parents won’t be informed.
When an older man transitions, he is heralded as having found his authentic self, but often little thought is given to the effect this has on his family.
Finally, here’s an important reminder that it isn’t necessary to agree with everything your child believes in order to support and love them.
Update: August 2019
The assault on women’s sport continues.
Maxine Blythin, a trans-identified man, who already plays women’s county cricket for Kent, intends to play at ‘as high a level as possible‘ despite the fact that:
“..there is no compelling evidence that reducing testosterone levels removes all the advantages of being born as a man, such as increased strength and aggression. But activists complain that banning trans women from women’s sport is discrimination.”
Also in the news this month, 6ft tall Kelly ‘Nicholas’ Morgan, who played representative rugby as a teenage boy, hopes to soon play rugby in the Welsh Women’s Leagues, reports the BBC. Porth Harlequins Ladies team captain Jessica Minty-Madley recounts a time team mate Morgan folded an opponent ‘like a deckchair’.
“She’s going to be a good, good player for the next few years, as long as we can stop her injuring players in training.” says the team’s founder.
This tweet (below) was inspiration for a Snowflake book using a picture I’d had for a while:
“We all have a gender identity” No. We don’t. And that doesn’t mean anyone who says otherwise is ‘cis’. We have a sex. And a personality. And clothing choices. Just stop it.