Zoe Bee on the Real Meaning of “Parents’ Rights”

My brain has been much more interested in working on the novel recently, so I’m just going to roll with that for a bit, which means a bit less effort put in here. Still, there’s plenty of important stuff to think about, and there are always videos worth watching.

I don’t know if it’s more of a thing than it used to be, but conservative groups these days really seem to love hiding their meaning with euphemisms and vague language. It’s not that they hate trans people, they just have concerns about women’s rights! It’s not that they want to destroy public education, they just want school choice. It’s not that they view children as property, they’re just concerned about parents’ rights.

As Zoe Bee discusses in the video below, the current “parents’ rights” movement revolves around the notion that parents own their children, in a very material sense. This stuff is mostly centered on the effort to erase sexuality, gender, or sex education from school, but it goes a lot farther, with parents believing they have the right to hit their children, or even hire someone to brainwash them, if they start believing the wrong things. This kind of stuff is genuinely chilling, and it really shows the degree to which children are not considered people in their own right. Rather than guardianship and responsibility, these people seem to view parenthood as the opportunity, bought by the money spent raising a child, to create a person in your own image, whether they want that or not.


  1. SailorStar says

    British author George Orwell (1903 – 1950) wrote extensively about conservative groups naming things the exact opposite of what they really are (e.g. Ministry of Truth, also its motto “War is Peace”).

    Conservatives are doing their best to control grown women, but they’re getting pushback on that. There’s less pushback about the idea that children are property. This goes down really well with the more religious groups in the USA, with the Mormons and evangelicals sponsoring various groups that kidnap children into re-education camps meant to erase who they are to make them what the parents want.

  2. says

    That’s probably why they’ll scream bloody murder if you suggest they need to be re-educated about how the world works. To THEM, that means the torture they’ll inflict on their un-person children for thinking the wrong thoughts.

  3. SailorStar says

    Interesting bit on Lurie and homeschooling: previously, parents who didn’t want their children exposed to reality used to homeschool them. Now they’re demanding that the public schools bend to their will. And not just THEIR children–everyone else’s children, too.

  4. beholder says

    Christians can’t be bothered to make a popular appeal for their doctrine, so they have to out-reproduce their competition and rely on the time-tested truth that children express the beliefs and values of their parents more often than not.

    Indoctrinating little kids is how their religion survives and they know it.

  5. says

    Yep, conservatives go after children because children are seen as an acceptable target. It’s the same reason they keep ranting about “mental illness:” the belief that “mentally ill” people are property is still popular.

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