The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has recently put on a virtual exhibit with the title “Girlhood. (It’s Complicated.)”
Girlhood is complicated, but I imagine it is even more complicated if you began life as what is now called “a biological male.”
Kudos to the Daily Signal’s Nicole Russell for sitting through the virtual opening and providing reporting on it. Russell notes that the exhibit did feature many amazing girls (such as a member of the Little Rock Nine, who integrated that city’s public schools, walking through a heckling crowd, somebody involved in creative treatment for cancer, and a host of sports figures). However:
While their words do inspire to some degree, the virtual opening failed to hit the mark in some ways. For example, some of the stories catered to transgender activism. Others pushed social justice rhetoric that revised history in a way that fails to recognize what women, and Americans, have achieved, and instead paints them as victims.
The goal of the exhibit, as it states on its web page, is to rewrite stereotypes of girls and aid society in adapting new ones. “The history of girlhood is not what people think; it’s complicated,” states the exhibit’s page. “Young women are often told that girls ‘are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.’ What is learned from history is that girls are made of stronger stuff. They have changed history.”
In other words, this exhibit is sort of a The 1619 Project for girlhood, which it seeks to “reframe,” as 1619 proposed to rewrite American history. Indeed, Russell saw the exhibit as “tainted” by transgender activism and third wave feminism. Jazz Jennings, a transgender activist, who formerly appeared on a TLC “I am Jazz,” which ran six seasons, is one of the “girls.” Russell writes:
Jennings was born a biological male. The show, “I am Jazz,” showed Jennings’ journey from “boy to girl” through hormone-replacement therapy and multiple surgeries. Placing Jennings in the same category as women who have achieved gender parity through sports, scientific achievements, and the civil rights movement is disingenuous.
The event treated Jennings just like TLC has. It asserted the belief that identifying as another gender is simply another stage of evolution—groundbreaking, just like being a world-class athlete or championing desegregation. These are not at all the same thing, and to equate them as such is a slap in the face to women who truly have championed gender parity for women.
Transgenderism is, as the Smithsonian might say, complicated. In her book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze is Seducing Our Daughters, Abigail Shrier wrote about the upswing in “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” a condition in which one believes one has been “assigned” the wrong sexual identity. Many parents act on this gender dysphoria and before long a child has undergone medical treatments from which there is no turning back.
I don’t know if Jazz Jennings’ parents encouraged their child to pursue a trans identity, or whether Jazz has had the surgery and hormone treatments associated with adopting a different sexual identity. But Shrier reports that many young who do people live to regret it. An enlightened museum such as the Smithsonian would never be permitted to entertain such a notion.
Third wave feminism joined transgenderism as a theme of the exhibit:
In her introductory speech, Anthea Hartig, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the first woman to hold the position, said that “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” is a “landmark exhibition commemorating the 19th amendment and women’s suffrage” and claimed girls have always “pushed against discrimination” to make “discoveries of their own.”
The concept of pushing against discrimination seemed to be a theme, but didn’t seem to be in reference to the original feminist movement (even though the suffrage movement was mentioned). Rather, it seemed to be more tailored to the third wave of feminism, which caters to the belief that women, especially American women, face grave injustices daily.
How pathetic, at a time when women outnumber men on college campuses and girls know that they can grow up to be anything they want!
Apparently, girlhood is much too complicated for the Smithsonian, which is lavishly funded by taxpayers, to address it in a coherent manner.