TikTok celebrity Dylan Mulvaney (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for motorola razr)

Girlhood is not a fetish

The Democrats cannot grow up

Artillery Row

This week, as the US prepares for the midterm elections, the progressive left is going all out to bring home the message that this is a battle for the soul of the country. Former president Barack Obama implored voters to cast ballots for the Democratic Party because, according to him: “the only way to save democracy is if we fight for it.” How exactly are the Democrats fighting for democracy? By inviting adult men who identify as little girls to town halls at the White House. 

Being a girl is not a fetish. Yet you wouldn’t know that, based on the rise of adult men who have gone one step further from identifying as women and have started to build careers by identifying into girlhood itself. Society has gotten used to girlhood being commodified through pornography, where “barely legal” remains a highly popular genre, and Halloween costumes sexualise the aesthetics of girlhood. Something that few could have anticipated has been that through the rise of “gender identity” policies, men who identify as girls would be celebrated by the highest spheres of political power. This is a dystopian step that shows how far removed left-wing political parties have become from reality. 

On 24 October, US President Joe Biden sat down with social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney to discuss gender identity policies during a presidential forum, held by left-wing outlet NowThis. The purpose of the forum was to host “intimate conversations between Biden and young change-makers focused on finding solutions to some of the most critical issues facing their generation”. The conversation between Biden and Mulvaney focused on the protection of “gender-affirming care”, which consists of medical treatments and intervention to try to physically transform people into the opposite sex. 

On Day 75 of being a girl, Mulvaney plays with tampons and pads

With 8.8 million followers on TikTok, a platform whose main target audience is young people, Mulvaney’s claim to fame is a series called “Days of Girlhood” chronicling the journey of an adult man who identifies as a little girl. It is hard not to conclude that their conversation was truly centred around “gender-affirming” treatments and procedures for children and teenagers. After all, the focus of the forum is to discuss issues affecting young people. During the interview, Biden ratified his political position that states should raise no barriers against doctors eager to make a sizable profit from insecure children who are making irreversible life changes over often transient feelings.

Some polling from October suggest that 79 per cent of the US public surveyed, including a majority of those who identify as Democrats, disagree with the use of puberty blockers and permanent procedures for children who reject their sex. It’s hard to think of a less appealing way to persuade voters that a political party is dead serious about their concerns than to invite people like Dylan Mulvaney to interview Joe Biden.

What exactly does it mean to “identify as a girl”? According to Mulvaney, being a girl is an exciting adventure through endless outfit changes, playing with make-up and bouncing up and down looking ridiculous. “Days of Girlhood” represents a pantomime of what men envision girlhood to be like. 

Wearing baby pink glitter eyeshadow and a pink dress over a pink background, Mulvaney introduced the “Days of Girlhood” by summarising what girlhood meant to him: “Day 1 of being a girl and I have already cried 3 times. I wrote a scathing email that I did not send. I ordered dresses online that I couldn’t afford. And then, when someone asked me how I was, I said ‘I’m fine’, when I wasn’t fine. How did I do, ladies? Girlpower! Mulvaney announced this in his TikTok video whilst nervously putting on lip gloss, playing on the trope that women are perpetually hungry for external validation.

“Day 3 of being a girl and I’ve already become a bimbo. We are drinking martinis at 2:55 on a Monday on Sunset Boulevard. And then we’re going make-up shopping,” Mulvaney shares whilst wearing a pink bikini and pink glitter eyeshadow. On Day 75 of being a girl, Mulvaney plays with tampons and pads. “I’ve been carrying around tampons and pads for the past two months, but I’ve never opened one up. I thought the letters stood for ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’ based on the size of your barbie pouch. But after I googled, it’s actually the level of your flow, so there’s super, regular and large,” Mulvaney says whilst pretending to be dumbfounded. 

“Days of Girlhood” represents a mockery of girls and women, at a time when the streets of Iran are filled with furious girls demanding the freedom to live free of patriarchal impositions. Girls in countries like Pakistan are abducted, raped and forced by judges to prove they are underage, whilst other girls are courageously speaking out against the imposition of sex-based stereotypes by proponents of “gender identity” policies. None of those concerns were heard at the White House. 

Instead, Mulvaney started his conversation with the President of the United States by stating: “This is my 221st day of publicly transitioning”, to which Biden replied: “God love you in a folksy manner meant to endear him to voters. What neither man clarified was that Mulvaney is counting the days of transitioning into what he considers little girls to be. Or that the purpose of the series is to encourage impressionable youth to develop a dysphoric rejection of their sexed bodies. 

Girls are reduced to laughable stereotypes

Whereas the women’s liberation movement has fought to abolish sexist stereotypes, men in power like Biden and Mulvaney have realised that there are significant gains to be made by capitalising on girls and young women’s love and hate relationship with femininity. 

The Biden administration could claim no ignorance of what they were getting into with Dylan Mulvaney. Earlier in October, the retailer Ulta Beauty (which has over 1600 stores around the US) faced a significant backlash and boycott from customers after they released a podcast on “The Beauty of Girlhood” featuring two adult men who identify as either genderfluid or as a literal girl. Women objected to a company seeking to make a profit by reducing their target audience to a fetish.

If Dylan Mulvaney were actually a little girl making vacuous content on social media, he would never have received an invitation to the White House. There’s no real market for girls to discuss the sometimes-challenging facets of such a tricky stage for everyone. Under a patriarchy, there is an insatiable thirst to promote ever more degrading portrayals of women and girls.

As clinician Lisa Marchiano told The Daily Mail: “They are called social media influencers because they influence people.” Concerned professionals report that, aside from the potential of contagion around trans issue, young people are using TikTok to diagnose themselves with rare disorders, seeking sympathy and experimental treatments as a result. Mulvaney could have used other platforms, more geared towards an adult audience among his peers. Adults his age and older would be able to comprehend any subtleties or hidden messages Mulvaney might claim he is sending through his blatantly sexist short videos. Using a youth-oriented social media platform reflects a desire to both influence and receive praise from the very people he is mocking. Out of all the prominent trans performers and personalities out there, why would the Biden administration choose to exalt this one? 

Ten years ago, the idea that a grown man could make lucrative commercial deals and wield political clout by making stupid videos pretending to be a little girl was too inconceivable to fathom. Today that absurdity has become legitimised. We are hours away from knowing whether this gamble with a testy electorate will pay off for the Democrats in the US. We can rest assured that our dystopian future is here, thanks in large part to the charlatans who benefit from a culture where girls are reduced to laughable stereotypes to be dismissed, invalidated and, when convenient, co-opted.

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