If a woman acts like a man on TV, you saw it on The Jerry Springer Show. Oh wait, sorry, Saturday Night Live. Wait, I mean Sally Jesse Raphael. No no no, Oprah. Hold on, oh okay. Dancing with the Stars.
It seems the latest attack on the American family is Cher’s daughter-turned-son, Chaz Bono. He will appear on the new season of Dancing with the Stars, which begins next Monday. A lot of pro-family organizations have called this an abomination. They say Chaz will negatively impact our children, that he promotes gender confusion and body mutilation.
Bryan Fischer, a blogger for the American Family Association, says “ABC executives are unashamedly preying on her mental illness, cannibalizing her psychologically disturbed soul for ratings.” Psychiatrist Keith Ablow wrote this on the Fox News website: “I was taught to consider Chaz Bono’s contention that she is male as a psychotic delusion—a fixed and false belief.” During an interview on the Howard Stern Show on Sirius/XM, Ablow said Chaz needed heavy-duty psychoanalysis. He added that Cher’s megawatt sexuality could have played a part in Chaz’s gender issues.
In a very fundamental way, Ablow is right. The psychiatric and physiological wiring inside Chaz Bono is different than it is for you and I. But why should that preclude him from being on television? If serious psychological testing was required before going on TV, there would be no TV. There would be no wives (real, basketball or otherwise), no teen moms, no Jerry Springer, no bachelors or bachelorettes, no wife swaps, no bridezillas and definitely no toddlers in tiaras.
And what of those everyday moms and dads who just want to watch Dancing with the Stars with their kids? How can they shield their innocent eyes from the Chaz spectacle? To them I say: When did 9pm become family TV hour? At 9pm, on old-fashioned television, you can watch an animated show where a kid shows off his first pubic hair (American Dad), a sexy Latina bounces across the screen in skin-tight leopard prints and a gay couple takes their adopted Vietnamese baby to the mall (Modern Family), and a workplace comedy littered with jokes about race, gender, and sexual orientation (The Office). 9 p.m. is home to Dancing with the Stars, also known as Bumping and Grinding with the Stars. This is where former Hef girlfriends wearing sequined dental floss and guys with shaved, oiled chests have air sex to a live band. Once they’re done, a histrionic judge shouts things like “You tried to be a lady but you’re more comfortable being a tramp” and “I can only think of sex, sex and more sex!” Dancing with the Stars is not a show for families. It’s a show for adults. Just because they dance doesn’t make it PG. By the way, Playing Patty-cake with Mafia Hitmen isn’t a show for toddlers either.
At what point will parents take responsibility for their children? No obese child has ever pulled up to a drive-thru window for a Happy Meal. No preschool couch potato has ever ordered and installed DirecTV. No 8-year-old computer zombie has ever bought a laptop and set up his own WiFi. Parents are not only complicit in these choices, they are responsible for them. If you believe Chaz Bono to be a highly processed burger overloaded with sodium and saturated fat, then don’t buy it. McDonald’s isn’t in the business of raising your child. Neither is ABC.
Your kid may soon learn about Chaz. And he will ask you questions about the boy who was once a girl. And you will answer those questions like you do all the other questions you can’t quite answer. Like the one about the alcoholic relative who went away for 28 days, or the hurricane that destroyed your aunt’s house in New Jersey. The friend at school whose father died in 9-11, or the homeless man who mumbled outside the grocery store. The baby born too soon, or the father who showed up too late.
Each of us is a perfect mess, a precise accident. Let he without sin cast the first group of brides who want plastic surgery before their wedding day.