One Million Mommies Dearest: A Call to Crazy

12 Sep

Just One of the 1 Million Moms

I first heard about One Million Moms because of the petition they started and sent to PBS, “Not to marry Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street and not to introduce a transgender character.”  Wow!  What a great message to send to your kids: “Mommy loves you only if you are heterosexual and only if you are not transgender–now get the Bon Ami and scrub the bathroom!”

While this may seem like much ado about nothing, I fear that One Million Moms has such horrible power that they were able to influence the athletic shoe company Finish Line to alter their commercial.  Apparently, there was an art class with a model in the background of the commercial — 1 Million Mean Maniacal Moms had the ad agency air brush out the art model.

Alas, the craziness continues with 1 Million Mean Maniacal Moms, who are now after ABC and Chaz Bono.  The Statement from the 1 Million Mean Maniacal Moms is:

Email ABC Network and let them know that we will not tolerate LGBT subjects being forced into our homes. DWTS airs 8/7 central when children are awake and Christian families will not enhance the ratings by watching the show unless these cast members are replaced.

Again, lovely message about conditional love.  “Listen up children, Mommy can’t love you if you are anything but Christian and heterosexual.”  Is it any wonder why Cyndi Lauper had to start True Colors Residence.  These crazy bigoted moms are also now going after a specific Levi’s commercial because of the following:

The dialogue also mentions “your life is your life, the gods wait to delight in you, the gods will offer you chances, know them, take them.” It goes on to say “There are ways out, you can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life sometimes. The more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be.

Here are two specific things that really stick in my craw. One: I’m really tired of the internalized misogyny that tells women keep your baby no matter what–protect the fetus at all cost and oh, by the way, reject the child if it is not exactly who you thought it would be.  Secondly, I’m really starting to believe the government need to test and then license parents, which hopefully would preclude dogmatic bigots from having children, which ends up being a serious financial drain long term, not to mention the damage they do to their children.

Here is how I like to think of parenting, and I also just love Sweet Honey in the Rock

18 Responses to “One Million Mommies Dearest: A Call to Crazy”

  1. jenny September 12, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    great post, michael. someone should compile a list of all the lgbt “subjects” that these women welcome regularly into their homes but aren’t aware of it.

    this whole chaz bono issue is really pissing me off. orientation aside, there is a person who wants to dance on tv. so the fuck what. i believe that we are all entitled to our opinions, but when our opinions actually HURT other human beings, it’s hate speech. no one is asking those mothers to go against their belief system and condone anything they don’t want to condone. but their campaign to take things away from people who don’t feel the same way is wrong.

    keep in mind, though, that these women are doing what they’re doing because they are terrified that their god will send them to hell if they don’t. it’s sad, really. i really wonder what jesus thinks of the way “christianity” has evolved.

    love you!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 12, 2011 at 7:11 am #

      Jenny, aside from the fact that you really are fabulous, I’m so grateful that you have children and love them unconditionally!

  2. Jennifer September 12, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    I agree that these women are going over the top, the Bible tells us to forgive and show love to everyone. You however, I believe, are also incorrect. To attack these women for their opinion is wrong. Yes, they are wrong, but why does that make it okay to call them “1 Million Mean Maniacal Moms”? I think that the things you had to say in this article should be said. Someone should be pointing out the prejudices that these women are living their lives from but that doesn’t mean that you should spew your prejudices as well. You have now done the exact same thing that these women have done. You have held on to your beliefs and spewed veracious insults at those who don’t agree with you.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 12, 2011 at 9:36 am #

      I have not done anything to impede their civil rights! I called them mean, which they are. I called them maniacal, which they are. Perhaps you need a dictionary. Please also look up bigot and civil rights!

      • Jennifer September 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

        I think that you are being pretty mean yourself, I don’t know if you think you have to be rude to get attention on the internet or what but you could have written this post much more sensibly. Oh and by the way “Maniacal -affected with or exhibiting insanity” so do you truly believe these women are insane or is it more likely that you just don’t agree with what they are doing, which by the way I don’t agree with either. The difference is that I can try to see where they are coming from at least, I still don’t agree with their actions but I can listen to their opinions. I have also listened to yours. I just think that if you had stated your opinion differently it wouldn’t have come across so offensive and I would have been more likely to try to empathize with you. I will, however, acknowledge that since this is your personal blog perhaps you came on here to rant about something that offended you which is understandable.

  3. webwordwarrior September 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    @Jennifer – there are many definitions for “maniacal” most of which don’t specifically denote insanity. For example, from Merriam-Webster:
    “characterized by excitement or frenzy”
    I’d say that the tone of OMM’s website and its attack on Chaz qualify as maniacal.

    Another important point that you miss here is that the Moms are striking from a point of privilege. As heterosexual “Christians”, they hold the power, so their attack is measurably different than Michael using strong language (and a spot-on cinematic analogy) to call out their bad behavior. YMMV, of course, and, as you say, that’s part of the wonder of the Internet. I disagree that this post fails to “see where they are coming from” in the least. That, in the end, is the whole point. They are coming from a place of oppression.

  4. Tom September 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    I agree with all you had to say, Michael. All you are doing is submitting and sharing your opinion. Thank you and please keep doing such great work!

  5. Tom September 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Bravo Michael, Bravo!!!

  6. omniphish September 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    As a mom of growing girls who face a world of unimproved behavior as far as communication and being humane goes I can say that I do not want Bert and Ernie to get married on TV.
    But Why? The reason is simple, while able to retain factoids of information a child’s brain is not developed enough to understand interpersonal relationships. Hell they have a hard time sharing with each other let alone understanding someone’s private life choice. The Sesame Street show is designed for children under six, which is an age group who still needs help wiping their butts and washing their face. They just don’t understand it yet. How do I know? What is my proof? I asked my six year old if she knew what being gay was. She said “I don’t know” and returned to asking me for a Popsicle. So there you have it straight from a child’s mouth. My eight year I was able to explain a little without the confused look and she said, ” As long and they don’t hurt anyone it’s fine.” See even with going to church and even with me being straight my children either don’t get it or they just naturally accept it. As kids do because they are KIDS. As for this group I am not going to judge one way or another about it like any other group. Going extreme for any reason is wrong but calling names puts you and others on the same low level. If you want acceptance and tolerance then you have to give it as well. Even gay parents I have talked to don’t want this so leave it be. It’s just a whole world of complication when your responsible for the future and upbringing of a whole persons life. People develop different understandings and thinking at certain stages. This subject is just too adult for their minds. Leave parents alone. Are jobs are hard enough as it is. We are doing the best we can.

    • webwordwarrior September 13, 2011 at 5:58 am #

      @Omniphish – what exactly are you trying to say? Your comment talks itself in circles. You maintain that certain concepts are too adult for kids, then give an example of your kids being so untroubled by the concept of homosexuality that they (a) ask for a snack or (b) follow the Golden Rule. If they were untroubled by the concept, what’s your objection?
      The whole point of a show like Sesame Street is that kids are learning things that are too complicated for them: like sharing, like counting, like diversity. Early exposure in a comforting, instructive environment prepares kids to deal with those things when the world presents them.
      You say you spoke to gay parents who “don’t want this.” What exactly don’t they want? I’ve spoken to many LGBT adults who say the one thing they really wanted – needed in fact – was a positive role model for being gay when they were little. Even if someone can’t articluate their sexual orientation until they are older (and research says it is fully formed before first grade), they are picking up cues from the world. Those cues tell them whether or not what they are feeling, who they are in fact, is part of the world. This is critical for healthy growth and development. Would you deny millions of kids this comfort so your six-year-old can digest her popsicle more easily?
      You close with a request to “leave the parents alone.” As I replied to Jennifer above, the Moms attacked Chaz Bono. The Moms said that being gay is “against God.” The attack came from the parents, attempting to crush the humanity of every LGBT American. Your kids are going to grow up in the world; you accepted that responsibility when you chose to have them. If one of them turns out to be gay, you’ll wonder where the positive messages were that would have made your job just a little easier and, just maybe, why people like the Moms made the world hostile enough to make your parenting and your child’s life, just a bit harder.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 13, 2011 at 6:19 am #

        Lex, what a very thoughtful, well written, and compassionate comment here. If only your heterosexual female counterparts had left equally compassionate comments, rather than typical hypocritical hostile comments that show they have no idea of the privilege they share. One hopes if any of these women has a gay child, they will not turn them out into the streets or shame them for who they are.

  7. Jay September 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    I prefer that Bert and Ernie retain some ambiguity. Consider that they are best friends of the same gender who share a home and a bed and who frequently bicker in a comedic and fun way. Leaving their relationship open to interpretation is a perfectly adequate lesson in acceptance for the preschool set, in my opinion.

    I’d avoid musing about imposing government regulations as a prerequisite to parenthood. I’m sure you were primarily expressing exasperation, but calling for such a radical expansion of government power is playing with fire: it corresponds too closely with false and deeply paranoid fears of the far right. It is analogous to calling for laws requiring clergy to sanction same-sex marriages–so touchy, and blatantly unconstitutional, that it does more harm than good.

    Better to illustrate the contrasting case of gay parents, who usually DO have to jump through a bunch of hoops, and fill out a bunch of paperwork, as a prerequisite to parenthood. Dan Savage made a joke about this: “We got really wasted and woke up covered in all this paperwork.” By contrasting the difficulty of becoming a gay parent with the ease of becoming a straight parent, he makes the point that gay parents are at least as likely to be good parents as their straight counterparts. His ongoing series, “every child deserves a father and a mother”, which documents horrifying examples of straight parents, makes the same point.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 13, 2011 at 6:13 am #

      Jay, I must confess I’m a bit disappointed in your comment here. I read your comment as apologetic and conciliatory in the face of great hostility from right wingers who have absolutely no clue as to their own privilege hypocrisy.

  8. Jennifer Lockett September 13, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Perhaps I am a little confused, but was there a plan by PBS to actually marry Bert and Ernie? Didn’t they just issue a press release officially clarifying that Bert & Ernie are not gay? I guess I find it more troubling that this group of women are so obsessed with the appearence of homosexuality on television that they have already sexualized and determined the relationship of two *puppets* – they called on PBS to clarify the relationship because they had already stereotyped the relationship as homosexual. Didn’t Jerry Fallwell do the same thing with the Purple Teletubby – a sexless, fuzzy creature that spoke entirely in gibberish?
    The Chaz Bono issue – have they not heard of a remote control? What about monitoring what their children watch? Heck, just unplug the television if they’re that afraid. Perhaps if they spent less time organizing write in campaigns about the sex lives of puppets they could make sure their young children are not watching what they consider “questionable” programming.
    What I find most alarming is that this group is stereotyping behavior – e.g. “Men who are close friends with other men are ‘gay.'” and categorically condemning that behavior. Do they recognize that they are teaching their sons do not foster close male relationships (a harmful message as men *need* male friends just as women *need* female friends – its a healthy social dynamic).
    They also are not educating their children on the ability to “choose” right from wrong – simply eradicate it and make it unavailable. Why not say to your child “We do not watch this show because we disagree with the moral message it sends.” I’m not saying I agree with that sentiment, but heck it’s a far more powerful lesson than denouncing the Civil Rights of their fellow Americans.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 13, 2011 at 9:43 am #

      “What I find most alarming is that this group is stereotyping behavior – e.g. “Men who are close friends with other men are ‘gay.'” and categorically condemning that behavior. Do they recognize that they are teaching their sons do not foster close male relationships (a harmful message as men *need* male friends just as women *need* female friends – its a healthy social dynamic)” I would call this bad parenting.

      • Jennifer Lockett September 13, 2011 at 11:14 am #

        Yep, did some research. PBS had zero plans to have Bert & Ernie “Come out” or to marry. In 2007 and again in 2011 Sesame Street Workshop CEO Gary Knell stated: “They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets. … They do not exist below the waist.”


        “Bert and Ernie are best friends,” it read. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.

        “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

        Interestingly, this originally came out as part of a petition *to* identify the characters as gay. However, it’s appears that the Mom group has taken it and run with it as a “pre-emptive strike.”

  9. Victoria Stephenson September 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Yes! As soon as I saw “Sweet Honey In The Rock”, which you introduced me to, Mr. Schmidt, I knew which song you meant. Your children are not your children. They are the sons and the daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but they are not from you and though they are with you they belong not to you.” Excellent.

    I also find myself casually thinking about a day when the government could license parents…

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt September 15, 2011 at 6:20 am #

      I’m so glad you remember and love Sweet Honey in the Rock! I thought it was the perfect conclusion to a rather depressing story–Sweet Honey in the Rock as the tonic to bigotry.

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