Help for teenage dd.

(82 Posts)
SirVixofVixHall Thu 31-Dec-20 13:56:57

My daughter, just turned 16, had a very upsetting zoom call with her school friends last night. For reference out of the three others one friend is gay, one is lesbian. Dd is the youngest, two of them are 17.
Talk turned to Sam Smith and pronouns, and to trans ideology. Dds friends are very much in the TWAW camp. Dd is not. At one point one of her friends gave her a veiled threat, mentioning a girl who had been ostracised in school for having a racist boyfriend, eg likening dds views to racism and homophobia. ( i am NOT happy about this ) The same friend also criticised dd for not having her pronouns on her instagram bio .
Dd is a very kind, thoughtful and sensitive person, she is anxious and upset this morning. I have suggested she could send them all Magdalen’s Alex Drummond video, and Barracker’s article on pronouns - ( can anyone link me to that ? I had it bookmarked I thought but can’t find it) . To give them some idea of why she feels the way she does. It sounds a pretty depressing conversation, the totalitarianism dressed up as liberalism, the friend who is getting harassed by men in her job but thinks that sex doesn’t matter. They think that Keira winning her case was a bad thing. Dd is accepting of the differences of opinion and happy to debate, which makes it all even more upsetting and has made me quite cross on her behalf.
She did talk about her point of view, but felt that there were things she couldn’t say, eg when a friend insisted that TWAW, she didn’t contradict her, I think she is worried that she will be dropped by them, she is very fond of them and they are her closest friends in school.
How to help ?
Dd has a separate group of friends in another country, of whom several are lesbian, and all of them are very strongly TWAW, gendered souls etc, so much so that dd has never even mentioned her own opinions. I feel sad for her that there is this crushing of any other viewpoints, and that she is feeling that the only way to keep friends is to not speak up, and that she is akin to a racist for wanting single sex spaces preserved, for knowing that sex is real, that sexual attraction is real, and that this is a sexist and regressive agenda, not progression.
I was 16 in 1980, and honestly it feels like a better time. Most of my female friends had short hair, without being told that made them not girls, most of my male friends wore makeup. I read Spare Rib and felt hopeful for the future. ☹️

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CatsCantCatchChristmas2 Thu 31-Dec-20 14:00:56

Your daughter needs better friends - the sort of friends who would not dress up totalitarianism as liberalism.

They sound like mini-monsters.

HmmSureJan Thu 31-Dec-20 14:09:23

I think it would be a HUGE mistake for her to be sending videos like that to them as this would cement her position as a "Terf" in their eyes and I think would result in her being ostracised and severely bullied. I advise my children to keep their heads down and not get involved in any discussion, just nod and listen and give neutral responses. My children are GC and don't buy into the nonsense but they know the value in protecting themselves from the shameful bullying and abuse that would result in them challenging their friends. I've no other advice really. It's very difficult.

nauticant Thu 31-Dec-20 14:13:38

Magdalen's videos are unlikely to persuade those deeply committed to the ideology. They're useful for undecideds, waverers, and people moving away from the ideologly, but not for true believers. True believers will quickly pull up the "blackface" tweet and be even more certain they're on the right side of history:

nauticant Thu 31-Dec-20 14:14:55

HmmSureJan got there first and I agree with her comments.

Thelnebriati Thu 31-Dec-20 14:18:31

I don't think your DD should send them any links or videos. It also sounds like its mainly one girl driving the ideology in the group by bullying the others. She's being subtle about it, but a threat is a threat.

If your DD decides to challenge them at all, its the bullying she should call out.
But its up to her, and you should support her whatever she decides, because it looks like she has the 'choice' to accept it or find new friends and neither is easy or pleasant.

Locationunknown Thu 31-Dec-20 14:18:44

You cannot use reasonable or logical statements as they will just be refuted as transphobic. I think she will have to keep her opinions to herself and be vague until these children grow up out of this behavioiur.

Regarding pronouns, it's easy for her to say she's not ready to be 'out' with pronouns yet as she's still undecided. They will respect language like that and back off.


MondayYogurt Thu 31-Dec-20 14:18:55

Oh gosh please don't get her to try and "win" them over. Smile and nod and just don't do anything to rock the boat, they are vicious at this age. There is no way she will change their minds - only life experience will do that.

FWRLurker Thu 31-Dec-20 14:19:50

This is a touchy subject right now and while I understand you want to support your daughter I really don’t think that it’s a good idea for you to get directly involved in their political/social debates and discussions. It will only give the impression that she is somehow being brainwashed by you.

Support her by telling her she absolutely should stand up for herself - especially for actual accusations of transphobia. However being truthful with her that indeed some people will disagree - sometimes to the point of ending friendships over this. She should further know that Teen friendships are usually not forever. If they (or the ringleader) want to dump her as a friend they’ll find some excuse, this is just the current one they are using.

However if it seems only some people in the group are actively trying to push out your daughter she can try to preserve the friendship group by saying something like “I have no problem with trans people, everyone should identify however they like, I’m simply not comfortable sharing my pronouns, now please stop harassing me about it” then change the topic.

Anyway good luck to your daughter. Once kids are back in person it might be a good idea for her to start talking to more people and making new friends, hopefully some who are not obsessed with gender identity as a topic of discussion.

PennineSpring Thu 31-Dec-20 14:21:57

I’d go for what Jan said too. There is not middle ground when you’re young. Everything is so black and white and her friends will judge her on that basis. It’s only as we age we realise the whole world is many shades of grey.

Childrenofthestones Thu 31-Dec-20 14:34:40

I was listening to the Titania McGrath interview on trigonometry and he made an excellent comparison between what people are going through now and the Salem witch trials. When those girls made their mad accusations against people who were then hung, anybody that disagreed and dare to stand up was hung as well.
19 innocent people were murdered not least because everybody was frightened to stand up and say no.
At the minute, your daughter along with most in her age group and also certainly anyone on the left or or working in the public sector may not get hung, but risk the destruction of any social standing and even employment by simply not agreeing with the doctrine.
he suggested that at some point in the future maybe 10 years, people like your daughters friends will look back and ask themselves how on earth did we do this.
I like to think he's right but I'm not so sure.
In the case of the Salem witch trials the girls eventually went too far and accused high-ranking popular magistrate's wife. Perhaps that's what these assholes now will do, perhaps that is what it will take for normal level-headed decent people to stand up and say "No ......that's enough."

Childrenofthestones Thu 31-Dec-20 14:42:19

Sorry, Titania McGrath=Andrew Doyle

I'm listening to TRIGGERnometry | "2020 Has Been a Year of Mass Hysteria" - Andrew Doyle on Podbean, check it out!

SirVixofVixHall Thu 31-Dec-20 15:15:41

I will listen to that.
She isn’t the type to just nod along though, she would never bring it up because she likes harmony and wants to get along with her group, but if challenged she would always say what she thought, she is articulate . One of the group , her longest standing friend out of all of them, seems to agree with her on some things and kept fairly quiet. One of the others hasn’t really thought about it in any depth I think ( the one being harassed at work), and said that she would like to read up more, which is why I wondered about that video, or Barracker’s article. Sadly a lot of it was framed under “being kind” and having pronouns on your bio is seen as being kind to transpeople.
It is so different to my teenage years, differences of opinion were more accepted, we weren’t so offended by everything. I don’t remember much pressure from friends to have certain beliefs.
I hope it isn’t the same when she goes to uni frankly. It all feels a bit close to bullying. In the end they made her cry and then did apologise. She is very fond of all of them, and obviously they are all very young, year 12. I still have my close friendship group from school, forty years later, as does DH , so I hope this can be resolved.

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SirVixofVixHall Thu 31-Dec-20 15:21:08

I suppose the other thing that worries me about telling her to keep her head down and her opinions to herself is that it isn’t any basis for a good friendship, and it also means, if all teenagers do this, that the ideology completely takes over, and on every level, including her welfare, that isn’t good.

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DaisiesandButtercups Thu 31-Dec-20 15:21:21

So sorry you are going through this worry OP. My DC are a similar age and I would absolutely agree with PPs that it would most likely only cause more problems to send any GC videos or information such as Magdalen’s.

My DC have found that this has been the thing since returning to school/college in September. The previous academic year, for what there was of it gender ideology wasn’t on their radars or that of their peers to any significant extent. My oldest has carefully kept her GC views secret from all but her 2 closest friends who may not agree (kind of indifferent I think) but don’t judge.

The youngest is doing her best to not discuss it with friends either but when it came up recently in a direct question felt she couldn’t lie about her GC opinion that people can’t really change sex and was then of course called transphobic.

IMO the way to keep friendships going with differing opinions on a particular topic is to avoid that topic. For our children to avoid the fallout of this new authoritarian ideology the safest thing might be to keep quiet about their true beliefs in educational settings and fight their battles in different times and places. Just like misogynists are having a field day right now all bullies are given the same license under cover of “being kind”.

I hope for all our children that they will meet some real life friends who share their GC views as soon as possible. Coronavirus is not going to make that any easier.

Vermeil Thu 31-Dec-20 15:26:05

I’m sorry for her predicament 😞
I find it’s best to just not bring it up at all if your friends are likely to start acting like the Red Guard.
One of the reasons I don’t like the progressive Left’s current fixation with young people is that the current youth are no better or worse than previous generations, just as many of them are a bit twatty (quite a few in fact, because being a bit twatty when you’re young is part of growing up), but whereas previously nobody took a huge amount of notice, the current generation are constantly having smoke blown up their arses about how ‘politically switched on’ they are, even though we’re going through nothing more than one of those regular, brief, periods of politics being fashionable. As a result many have become intolerant, arrogant and bullying behind a facade of believing in a caring, more empathetic and tolerant world.

mejon Thu 31-Dec-20 15:44:13

Ah SirVix it's shit isn't it? I'm in the next county up from you and I'm shocked that this ideology has reached such an isolated and mainly rural area. My eldest is 14 and has unfortunately fallen for the whole 'be kind' TWAW thing. I'm hoping we can come out the other side.

SirVixofVixHall Thu 31-Dec-20 15:56:34

It has spread everywhere. Part of me obviously wants dd to be protected, and another part of me worries that if this always goes unchallenged then it become the prevailing view.
She never brings it up, but she isn’t the type to not give her opinion if a subject is under discussion.

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SirVixofVixHall Thu 31-Dec-20 15:57:27

Have you got snow mejon ? Dds very unhappy that there is snow elsewhere but not here !

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SparkleAllTheWay Thu 31-Dec-20 16:12:28

Fucking hell, talk about the teenage pronoun police out in force - your poor DD!

I’m dreading all of this with my Harry Potter loving 12 yr old DD, who came home from school one day last term and told me she ‘hates JK Rowling’ because she is ‘transphobic’. Or so her friends say, anyway, and being 12 and not wanting to be ostracised, she obviously agrees. Hmph!

I think previous posters are right that it’s probably best for your DD to tread the line carefully at the moment, for her own sanity and safety. The teenage years are beastly enough without all of this added shit.
Could she find some likeminded friends or even just an anonymous outlet online, to discuss her ideas on gender critical thoughts?

Thank goodness she’s got you! I work in the public sector and have to be careful about what I say all the time, but I love having a good ‘we are on the right side of history’ rant to my good old GC, second wave feminist Mum every now and then. flowers.

Childrenofthestones Thu 31-Dec-20 16:18:53

If it's any use OP my eldest had a level head on her shoulders, very science/facts based opinions (she's doing maths) and broadly GC. Then she went to uni. She's about to start her 2nd year. Unfortunately has a very woke boyfriend. A proper Dave Spart.
I've noticed by small snippets that she has started drinking the Koolaid.
The trans issue came up recently between us and her answer to a glaring unavoidable point was. " Well as I'm not trans that doesn't effect me so I don't have an opinion".
It was her way of avoiding obvious cognitive dissonance.
Perhaps your daughter could use this phrase to assuage her woke friends, if they'll let her.

SirVixofVixHall Thu 31-Dec-20 16:20:35

Hahahaha yes, the Pronoun Police... i actually can’t believe she is getting grief for not having “she/hers” on her (private) instagram. My friends didn’t spend their time policing other people like this, what has happened to teenagers ? Having family experience of totalitarianism has mad DH particularly wary of this kind of thing. It seems silly, but it is also rather frightening.
All these tolerant and liberal young people, who are only tolerant and liberal if you have exactly the right opinions, and pronouns..

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SirVixofVixHall Thu 31-Dec-20 16:21:05

Made DH, not mad Dh. He is quite sane..

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Locationunknown Thu 31-Dec-20 16:27:27

It's the same in the workplace and this is why I think the TRAs don't realise how many people actually disagree with their ideology. Just because people aren't voicing their views, it doesn't mean they don't have them. TRAs live in an echo chamber because complete agreement is the only thing they will accept. They think their movement is popular and well supported. It's not.

The truth will eventually come out in the courts and situations like sport where people can't ignore facts any more. Keep your head down, support organisations by following their campaigns for womens rights, write to your MP, etc. but keep your cards close to your chest and keep yourself safe.

This is a long game, you have to play smart.

WithASpider Thu 31-Dec-20 16:33:52

@SparkleAllTheWay I had a terse word for my 17yo DD last night when she announced that JK Rowling was transphobic. It basically boiled down to "If you haven't read it then you don't get an opinion." She knows full well I'm GC.
It's a little more difficult for a 12yo especially with the info they're getting being tiny snapshots on SM and them not really being old enough to read the essay themselves.

I really wouldn't be happy with what your dd's friends are doing OP, it's bullying and coersion.

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