‘Coraline’ and Modern Gender Politics

 

If you have yet to see Coraline I highly recommend you do so. An adolescent horror film from Focus Features and Laika Entertainment – the latter of which also created gems such as The Corpse Bride, and Paranorman – this animated film takes us on a strange journey of a young girl who is transported to a seemingly alternate world where she’s given all that she would want, but at a price. The animation style is unique for the time and just adds to the strange feel of the tale. Based on a novella by Neil Gaiman, it offers a warning for our modern times that I’m certain Gaiman would never intend, nor, I’m certain, would he in any way approve of the parallels I shall make in this commentary.

The story opens with the title character and her family moving to small-town Oregon. Coraline is clearly unhappy with the move and nonplussed with her new living conditions. The home they’ve moved to is in disrepair. Their housemates are strange and quirky at best and the only person her age is Wybie, who’s something of an annoying motormouth. Her mother doesn’t have time for her; her father is a terrible cook. Nothing is going well for her.

It’s then that Coraline discovers a small door to a crawl space that she decides to explore. Passing through it, she comes out into a parallel of her current living conditions but everything there seems perfect. There’s a nigh-lookalike of her mother who calls herself Coraline’s “Other Mother.” The Other Mother presents all that Coraline could want. She’s a good cook. Her house is clean, well-kept, and homey. Her “Other Father” is alert and clearly a clever musician. The only catch: everyone in this alternate world has buttons for eyes.

Coraline makes several trips, and each time she’s offered new delights: a Wybie who doesn’t talk, neighbors who delight and entertain. It’s all perfect, and in a final visit, her Other Mother informs Coraline that she can stay in this perfect, alternate world forever. All she has to do is let Other Mother sew buttons into Coraline’s eyes.

Of course, Coraline pauses at such an offer. At least she has sense here. But while she is “allowed” to ponder this option, she finds three bodies and is visited by three spirits of children who reveal they all took the offer of the Beldam (the Other Mother’s real identity). They were lured in by Beldam’s promises to receive all they could want and more and allowed her to sew buttons in their eyes. But they found not long after that once they agreed, the Beldam was less interested in them. Soon she bores of her “children” and eventually the children waste away under neglect, trapped in a world that promised them everything and left them to suffer.

I’m Your Mother Now

Perhaps you’ve seen this statement. Maybe it’s popped up in your social media feed. Maybe you’ve seen pictures from a public school or similar place. It’s primarily a support message for supposed LGBTQ+ teens, especially trans individuals. The message being sent is clear: your birth parents won’t accept you for what you are, but we will. We’ll be your parents now. We’ll give you what you want. And every time I see this, I think of Gaiman’s Beldam and her offers to lure children into her world.

But are our modern-day “Other Mothers” indeed better than these teens’ birth parents? Perhaps in a handful of individual cases that might be so, but for the majority it can’t be. And in many cases, once the adolescent gives themselves over to the alternate world, they’ll find these new “parents” less than stellar. Teens can find themselves more vulnerable to predators who lay in wait in these “safe” spaces because they know these kids’ “Other Mothers” are less vigilant against the dangers than can lie there.

Indeed, there seems to be more effort in bringing young impressionable children into this world than there is in making sure said children are actually safe and protected. The results are damning; said teens are like the ghost children from the story. Husks of children who are left to suffer on their own in a world that’s more concerned with keeping them there than it is in actually caring for their needs.

Other Parents vs. Parents

In the movie, Coraline flees the Beldam and escapes back to her world. She believes herself safe from the Beldam who’s shown her true, wicked colors. However, as Coraline sleeps, she’s visited once again from the spirits of the children. She’s not safe – not yet. Indeed, the Beldam captures Coraline’s parents and keeps them separated and trapped, unable to care for their daughter. So too is it with parents today with children lured into the non-binary world. They are left in the dark as to what’s happening with their children. When trouble comes, frequently the law forcibly separates them from their children by equating refusal to support gender identity as abuse (even if they have no idea their child is doing so!)

Like the Beldam, the state bureaucrats and officials who support gender politics are loath to give up any child they’ve lured into that world. They will use everything in their bag of tricks to keep them there, not because they are particularly concerned about the well-being of said child (despite any claims otherwise) but because they know they’ll get accolades for being so supportive and strong defenders of this alternative world. Any family caught up in this web will be hard-pressed to escape, and not without scars and pain.

In the end, Coraline is able to rescue her family and defeat the Beldam – seemingly once for all. Families caught in the web of gender politics are not so lucky. Coraline is warned that no piece of the Beldam can remain for her to be safe. For American families it’s similar, but they’ve a much more expansive creature to battle and it never seems to truly be gone. I am certain that many offering “alternate parenthood” to LGBTQ+ teens do have good intentions. Unfortunately, good intentions are not the same as good parents.

The message we get from Coraline is that though the world we live in is imperfect, flawed, and often frustrating, it is still far better for us than the world that seems to offer much if we only pay a steep price to get in and remain. And I’m absolutely positive that Gaiman would protest this comparison with all his strength.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 22 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gaiman probably thinks his story is about the dangers of conservatism, or something.

    • #1
  2. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gaiman probably thinks his story is about the dangers of conservatism, or something.

    Possible. Gaiman is quite versed in folklore as well. He’s very talented at taking these old stories and adapting them to modern times while maintaining the integrity of the folklore and the intensity of the drama of these stories. He’s been writing for some time, and his talent and ability shine in this story. I heap praise because I have enjoyed so much of his work. It’s most likely that he wouldn’t even make such a parallel in his mind.

    Additionally, I’ve found when he does make comments on his distaste for conservate ideas, he doesn’t hide it in analogy or metaphor.

    • #2
  3. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Excellent parallel. Well done.

    We have teachers in our school district who proudly display the “I’m your mother now” signs. But where is that mother when the trauma sets in? These helpful adults who declare “I’m your mother now,” will quickly disappear when the child endures debilitating problems from “gender affirming” surgeries and hormone therapies. (You can bet the proxy mom isn’t paying for all those surgeries either.) And then the child, having rejected her real parents in favor of “other mom,” gets rejected by her proxy mother, too.

     

    • #3
  4. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Excellent parallel. Well done.

    We have teachers in our school district who proudly display the “I’m your mother now” signs. But where is that mother when the trauma sets in? These helpful adults who declare “I’m your mother now,” will quickly disappear when the child endures debilitating problems from “gender affirming” surgeries and hormone therapies. (You can bet the proxy mom isn’t paying for all those surgeries either.) And then the child, having rejected her real parents in favor of “other mom,” gets rejected by her proxy mother, too.

     

    Thank you. The ideas in this post have been banging about my head for a while, but this article on The Federalist brought it together and inspired me to get these ideas down in writing. Or digital text. Whatever. It’s much like what you’ve described here, and lasting damage has been done all in the name of “gender affirming care”.

    • #4
  5. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):
    The ideas in this post have been banging about my head for a while, but this article on The Federalist brought it together and inspired me to get these ideas down in writing.

    Is that a rerun? I’ve read that long, horrific story before, and I thought it was at the Federalist. But maybe it was somewhere else?

    • #5
  6. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    I’ve seen pieces of it and saw the Simpsons’ version on Tree House of Horrors, but didn’t know the whole story.

    C. U. Douglas: Like the Beldam, the state bureaucrats and officials who support gender politics are loathe to give up any child they’ve lured into that world. They will use everything in their bag of tricks to keep them there, not because they are particularly concerned about the well-being of said child (despite any claims otherwise) but because they know they’ll get accolades for being so supportive and strong defenders of this alternative world. Any family caught up in this web will be hard-pressed to escape, and not without scars and pain.

    Your comparison seems apt. During the Years of Stupidity, girls were deciding that they really weren’t boys after being kept away from the social poison of their schools. I think it was Abigail Shrier who mentioned a school with six girls who thought they were boys and two had decided they weren’t after months of being locked down.

    If the concern was for the child’s well-being, then any decision should be supported. However, people reversing their decisions weakens the overall premise behind transitioning. Somewhat similar to pro-choice people who are upset when the choice is to continue the pregnancy.

    • #6
  7. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):
    The ideas in this post have been banging about my head for a while, but this article on The Federalist brought it together and inspired me to get these ideas down in writing.

    Is that a rerun? I’ve read that long, horrific story before, and I thought it was at the Federalist. But maybe it was somewhere else?

    Possibly a rerun, or a similar story, or something else. This particular version was published today. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the only such incident.

    • #7
  8. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    And by the way, what these gender-affirming “other mothers” are doing is . . . grooming. And it’s okay to use that word.

    • #8
  9. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    The separation of vulnerable members of our society from the support networks of loving and involved family is one of the most poisonous aspects of the entire LGBT movement.

    I’ve witnessed this twice now. They isolate and separate by poisoning the well.

     

    • #9
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    Your comparison seems apt. During the Years of Stupidity, girls were deciding that they really weren’t boys after being kept away from the social poison of their schools. I think it was Abigail Shrier who mentioned a school with six girls who thought they were boys and two had decided they weren’t after months of being locked down.

    Time for this again:

     

    • #10
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    C. U. Douglas: And I’m absolutely positive that Gaiman would protest this comparison with all his strength.

    Good stories tend to tell the truth. Sometimes the author doesn’t know how to apply that truth in practice.

    Splendid post.

    • #11
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Excellent post. 

    And the other horror is the real mothers (and it’s almost always the mothers) who are eager to sew buttons onto their sexually confused children’s eyes. Who needs an “other mother” when your own mother is so degenerate?

    I find that lefties often don’t recognize themselves in the stories they tell. One of my favorite examples is Thanos in the Marvel Universe. Isn’t he the ideal climate change activist? He’s just trying to make the universe “sustainable” after all. . .

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Excellent post.

    And the other horror is the real mothers (and it’s almost always the mothers) who are eager to sew buttons onto their sexually confused children’s eyes. Who needs an “other mother” when your own mother is so degenerate?

    I find that lefties often don’t recognize themselves in the stories they tell. One of my favorite examples is Thanos in the Marvel Universe. Isn’t he the ideal climate change activist? He’s just trying to make the universe “sustainable” after all. . .

    I expect the lefties think Thanos is the “ultimate conservative,” somehow.

    • #13
  14. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    When anti-bullying became the rage my gut told me that something like the current LGBTQ/Trans would follow.  

    • #14
  15. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    My daughter and I watched this movie when she was still quite young.  It is about the creepiest, most uncomfortable to watch kid’s movie I have ever seen.  

    I still don’t get how anyone could make such a thing, but your comparison to the grooming trend is probably spot on.  

     

    • #15
  16. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    What a superb post! Thank you for writing and sharing it – it opened a new perspective in my head, and I am very appreciative.

    Liberals often mistakenly create conservative messages. Because the very best stories are conservative ones: underdogs overcoming nature and nurture, hard work, deep friendships, real families, growth, redemption. If you want to write a good story, you need good virtues.

     

    • #16
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    When anti-bullying became the rage my gut told me that something like the current LGBTQ/Trans would follow.

    Generally speaking, most (all?) “anti-bullying” curriculum that makes its way into public schools is developed by LGBT-aligned groups.

    • #17
  18. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    When anti-bullying became the rage my gut told me that something like the current LGBTQ/Trans would follow.

    Generally speaking, most (all?) “anti-bullying” curriculum that makes its way into public schools is developed by LGBT-aligned groups.

    Less bullying is certainly desirable. Turning specific demographics into protected species is not.  

    • #18
  19. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    TBA (View Comment):

    Less bullying is certainly desirable.

    Sure, however . . . I do sometimes wonder if the severe policing of “bullying” has left kids more thin-skinned. That is to say, they never learn to deal with kid-level bullying at kid-level. And once they become adults, seem less able to handle even simple disagreements. I wonder if there’s a balance that needs to be achieved. Sure, stop the really violent, injury-inducing bullying, but what about the cruel teasing that kids do? To everyone? Because kids will always find something to tease someone about. And maybe it’s better to learn how to deal with it when you’re a kid rather than to have never developed the necessary ability to handle it when you’re an adult?

    Just thinking out loud. No conclusions, but . . . I wonder if all the anti-bullying measures have created a bunch of fragile human beings?

    (I await being bullied by Ricochet’s School Marms for even suggesting such a thing.)

    • #19
  20. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Less bullying is certainly desirable.

    Sure, however . . . I do sometimes wonder if the severe policing of “bullying” has left kids more thin-skinned. That is to say, they never learn to deal with kid-level bullying at kid-level. And once they become adults, seem less able to handle even simple disagreements. I wonder if there’s a balance that needs to be achieved. Sure, stop the really violent, injury-inducing bullying, but what about the cruel teasing that kids do? To everyone? Because kids will always find something to tease someone about. And maybe it’s better to learn how to deal with it when you’re a kid rather than to have never developed the necessary ability to handle it when you’re an adult?

    Just thinking out loud. No conclusions, but . . . I wonder if all the anti-bullying measures have created a bunch of fragile human beings?

    (I await being bullied by Ricochet’s School Marms for even suggesting such a thing.)

    Yeah, I agree, and there is also the stupid tendency for schools to punish everyone who is in a fight, no matter who started it.  Most people probably have a similar story like my nephew’s, who stepped in to protect a girl from getting beaten up by another guy and the school suspended my nephew.  

    • #20
  21. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Skyler (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Less bullying is certainly desirable.

    Sure, however . . . I do sometimes wonder if the severe policing of “bullying” has left kids more thin-skinned. That is to say, they never learn to deal with kid-level bullying at kid-level. And once they become adults, seem less able to handle even simple disagreements. I wonder if there’s a balance that needs to be achieved. Sure, stop the really violent, injury-inducing bullying, but what about the cruel teasing that kids do? To everyone? Because kids will always find something to tease someone about. And maybe it’s better to learn how to deal with it when you’re a kid rather than to have never developed the necessary ability to handle it when you’re an adult?

    Just thinking out loud. No conclusions, but . . . I wonder if all the anti-bullying measures have created a bunch of fragile human beings?

    (I await being bullied by Ricochet’s School Marms for even suggesting such a thing.)

    Yeah, I agree, and there is also the stupid tendency for schools to punish everyone who is in a fight, no matter who started it. Most people probably have a similar story like my nephew’s, who stepped in to protect a girl from getting beaten up by another guy and the school suspended my nephew.

    I agree about the thin skin and suspect that not dealing with crude forms of bullying early means they will be highly susceptible to more complex forms later. 

    Also, the absence of the possibility of a punch in the mouth is bad for a civil society. 

    • #21
  22. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    TBA (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Less bullying is certainly desirable.

    Sure, however . . . I do sometimes wonder if the severe policing of “bullying” has left kids more thin-skinned. That is to say, they never learn to deal with kid-level bullying at kid-level. And once they become adults, seem less able to handle even simple disagreements. I wonder if there’s a balance that needs to be achieved. Sure, stop the really violent, injury-inducing bullying, but what about the cruel teasing that kids do? To everyone? Because kids will always find something to tease someone about. And maybe it’s better to learn how to deal with it when you’re a kid rather than to have never developed the necessary ability to handle it when you’re an adult?

    Just thinking out loud. No conclusions, but . . . I wonder if all the anti-bullying measures have created a bunch of fragile human beings?

    (I await being bullied by Ricochet’s School Marms for even suggesting such a thing.)

    Yeah, I agree, and there is also the stupid tendency for schools to punish everyone who is in a fight, no matter who started it. Most people probably have a similar story like my nephew’s, who stepped in to protect a girl from getting beaten up by another guy and the school suspended my nephew.

    I agree about the thin skin and suspect that not dealing with crude forms of bullying early means they will be highly susceptible to more complex forms later.

    Also, the absence of the possibility of a punch in the mouth is bad for a civil society.

    Urban youth resorting to guns. 

    • #22
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.