Another day, another questionable drag show aimed at children.
We’ve previously covered instances of “drag queens” being invited by public libraries to put on shows, sometimes with the children involved being encouraged to act out strip shows by throwing dollar bills on stage.
Mama G is back in Devon this week. Combining panto, drag and the traditional art of story-telling: Mama G will be sharing tales that celebrate being who you are & loving who you want. Wed 7th @BarnstapleLibr & Thu 8th @BidefordLibrary pic.twitter.com/LdRVQelm6U
— Devon Libraries (@DevonLibraries) August 6, 2019
It just happened again in the United Kingdom, where an over-the-top male drag performer named “Mama G” took things a step further by teaching kids how to “twerk.”
“Several parents have raised concerns over what they describe as an ‘inappropriate’ children’s entertainer who is appearing at a Devon [England] library,” DevonLive reported on Wednesday.
“Mama G is a pantomime dame who tours around the UK,” the British outlet continued. “But the act has attracted controversy here in Devon, with some parents accusing Mama G of being a ‘sexualised, offensive caricature’ who ‘teaches kids to twerk.'”
Twerking, of course, is the craze of bending over in a sexually suggestive way and shaking one’s rear, especially on a dance floor. It was popularized by stars like Miley Cyrus, who made it a signature part of her undeniably sex-themed music videos and performances.
And sure enough, video of the children’s library event shows Mama G asking the young kids if they know “any of the dances in Fortnite” — a video game rated “Teen” due to violence by the non-partisan ESRB — before twerking for them.
“Does anybody in this room know how to twerk?” the drag queen asked. “You just move your bum up and down like that. And that’s twerking.”
Comments on Twitter confirmed that some parents were outraged by the performance. “Nothing diverse or progressive. Insulting to women,” one tweet addressed to the library said.
“On what planet do you think this sexualized womanface act is appropriate for young children?” wondered another Twitter user. “Are you bringing the Black and White Minstrels in next week?” they added, referring to blackface performances widely regarded as deeply insulting.
Libraries Unlimited, which hosted the drag event, responded to the criticism with fairly generic buzzwords about “equality and diversity.”
“As a charity, we are committed to ensuring our libraries are welcoming, safe and inclusive places for all,” a library spokesperson said. “We celebrate the arts, equality and diversity and are proud that our libraries offer a space for communities to come together and enjoy the power of words, reading and storytelling.”
But that’s the real issue here. Reading and storytelling do not require a transvestite to twerk in front of children, and the odd view that this kind of thing is necessary to interest kids doesn’t pass the sniff test.
You don’t have to be a prude to wonder where the line is. With library drag shows now featuring strip club-like dollar throwing and twerking, it’s becoming ever more difficult to pretend that this isn’t the purposeful sexualization of young kids.
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