85

(Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, sorry)

Fred Rogers always had such a careful way about talking to children through his show. It got me thinking about how he would have talked about trans stuff.

One thing he did on his show was try to draw a clear line between reality and make-believe. There was an episode where he explored the show "The Incredible Hulk," and he showed the actor behind the green makeup and explained how none of it was real, just special effects.

He was also very much about acceptance of people. Many know of his friendship with Francois Clemmons, who was gay. Rogers also sang many songs telling kids they were fine and special, just as they were, and their bodies were fine just as they were. He sang and talked about how boys would grow up to be men and girls would grow up to be women, and that our bodies are changing and growing all the time.

I feel like a lot of these kids who transition could have really benefited from the Mister Rogers approach. I wish someone had said, "You're not a boy, you're a girl. And you will grow up to be a woman. And you can wear the clothes you want to wear and do the things you want to do, just like boys who grow into men will be able to do. There's nothing wrong with your body. It's made just right and as you grow it will change in the way it's supposed to. You don't need to do anything to fix your body because it's not broken. People can be loved just the way they are, whether they're a boy or a girl or a man or a woman."

It's so odd to me that Fred Rogers has been sort of a popular figure of late, perhaps even more so than when he was alive, and yet his philosophies have gone out the window. Now we tell children their bodies ARE wrong but that they can change their bodies and they can choose whether to grow into a man or a woman. In contrast to one of his songs, we basically tell kids it IS the clothes they wear and the toys they have that make them who they are. What a shame.

(Mister Roger**s'** Neighborhood, sorry) Fred Rogers always had such a careful way about talking to children through his show. It got me thinking about how he would have talked about trans stuff. One thing he did on his show was try to draw a clear line between reality and make-believe. There was an episode where he explored the show "The Incredible Hulk," and he showed the actor behind the green makeup and explained how none of it was real, just special effects. He was also very much about acceptance of people. Many know of his friendship with Francois Clemmons, who was gay. Rogers also sang many songs telling kids they were fine and special, just as they were, and their bodies were fine just as they were. He sang and talked about how boys would grow up to be men and girls would grow up to be women, and that our bodies are changing and growing all the time. I feel like a lot of these kids who transition could have really benefited from the Mister Rogers approach. I wish someone had said, "You're not a boy, you're a girl. And you will grow up to be a woman. And you can wear the clothes you want to wear and do the things you want to do, just like boys who grow into men will be able to do. There's nothing wrong with your body. It's made just right and as you grow it will change in the way it's supposed to. You don't need to do anything to fix your body because it's not broken. People can be loved just the way they are, whether they're a boy or a girl or a man or a woman." It's so odd to me that Fred Rogers has been sort of a popular figure of late, perhaps even more so than when he was alive, and yet his philosophies have gone out the window. Now we tell children their bodies ARE wrong but that they can change their bodies and they can choose whether to grow into a man or a woman. In contrast to one of his songs, we basically tell kids it IS the clothes they wear and the toys they have that make them who they are. What a shame.

26 comments

I'm sure it comes from the nature of social media. Mr Rogers is not popular because these people have watched all his shows, he's popular because people took quotes of his and slapped it on a screenshot. As with everything else, the younger generations are not seeing the entirety of his work, they are seeing memeified snippets that align with their worldview, or the worldview their social media creates for them unless they take the initiative to look deeper.

This is really important to state. Just as a millennial who grew up with Mr. Rogers. I actually watch his show with my daughters now and it’s as wonderful as I remembered, but if you’re just reading memes you’ll miss all the messages about how special you are as you are.

Mr.Rogers also allowed gender nonconformity, when he had the actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West from the original Wizard of Oz on, she was talking about how her character was misunderstood, which I found thoughtful, but when they were mentioning children dressing up as witches on Halloween Mr.Rogers interjected that boys can be witches too if they wanted to for Halloween.

They were still boys. This is the message that should be sent to kids. There is nothing wrong with their sex or their bodies and their likes, dislikes and interests have nothing to do with it.

Yeah that jives with his whole "you can be anything you want when we play make believe, but it's still just make believe".

Well, it was more “wanting to be a witch doesn’t make you a girl, both boys and girls can like this sort of stuff”.

[–] OwnLyingEyes 37 points Edited

It's so hard to know when it comes to the people who are gone how they would have responded to this insanity; think that's part of what often makes them popular among some people, that they can no longer speak for themselves so they won't ever get to say something you find upsetting and topple your world view (maybe taken to extremes with the ACLU's censorship of RGB's quote on abortion after she died). I imagine if something had happened to JK Rowling before she ever spoke up about this issue, TRAs today would be putting her on a pedestal and claiming her as someone who would have been the ultimate handmaiden. Because she has such a track record of being so kind and so generous, and they'd assume that surely that means she'd be on their side.

TRAs today would be putting her on a pedestal and claiming her as someone who would have been the ultimate handmaiden

They did that with Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams

I feel like the movie “Encanto” had a good message, that there didn’t have to be super special about you to make you special and capable of doing great things. It also taught that even those who did have extraordinary gifts or abilities, there was more to them than that gift, and when their gift becomes their whole identity, they suffer.

[–] Lilith 4 points Edited

My sister who identified with the main character a lot, just felt disappointed when she never got her gift. Really missing the point on that.

See, she had a little bit of everything, all of the gifts. She was also mostly like the grandmother of all the characters, and each one of the other characters’s gifts is just one of the personality traits of the grandmother taken to its extreme. Also, it seems like their gifts are also manifestations of generational trauma.

I found so much in that movie, it really was top notch.

What a wonderful man, glad that was one of the few tv shows I was allowed to watch as a kid. I got teary watching that documentary that came out recently. I think there has also been a resurgence in interest in him because he's such a different model of manhood than what was presented in the trump/#metoo era.

Ironically, it was his show that probably exposed me to my first bits of awareness about gender bending. I remember being very very small and extremely confused why he called “Lady Elaine” a lady. I remember sitting there watching the show not being able to pay attention because I was trying to figure out why he used a male looking puppet for her role. I told myself all kinds of stories, like that Mr. Rodgers couldn’t afford new puppets for his show, that someone had just given them to him so he had to make do with what he had. It was the land of make believe after all. I worked very hard to convince myself that there was a good reason…it was wild.

Lady Elaine was an icon. She lived in a museum and took no shit. I loved Lady Aberlin too.

But seriously, the neighborhood of make believe was of stuff like this. I think Daniel Tiger was the first male character I ever saw portrayed as timid and soft-spoken without it being played as a joke.

Ha ha, Lady Elaine was the original woman who wouldn't "wheesht." King Friday was a stuffed shirt, always making pompous declarations. Lady Elaine did a good job cutting him down to size. X-D

Yeah, later on in life I realized that..... and you're right, King Friday was an idiot. Id wager that Mr.Rodgers might have had that dynamic in mind all along. A woman with short hair, turtle neck and comfortable shoes telling the king to stuff it.

Good discussion.

I got a lot of "You're good and there's nothing wrong with you" messages growing up, and I think it made a difference.

Some are fancy on the outside Some are fancy on the inside Everybody's fancy Everybody's fine Your body's fancy and so is mine

Boys are boys from the beginning Girls are girls right from the start Everybody's fancy Everybody's fine Your body's fancy and so is mine

Girls grow up to be the mommies Boys grow up to be the daddies Everybody's fancy Everybody's fine Your body's fancy and so is mine

I think you're a special person And I like your ins and outsides Everybody's fancy Everybody's fine Your body's fancy and so is mine

Right from the man's own genius. Nothing else for it but actual reality.

Thank you so much for posting this. I wonder if this song would be considered "problematic" or even "transphobic" today, kind of like Rachel Rooney's "My Body Is Me!" children's book with similar themes.

I'm sure he would approach it with great sensitivity and concern for the problems facing these trans kids.. which is their hatred for themselves and their sense of ostracism from their own sex.

I think he would probably do a "not like other girls" make-believe and help girls discover that they have more in common with other girls than they realize, for instance.

Load more (1 comment)