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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Culture Is Changing... Should We? (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

stempleton
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Let me first say that I've NEVER been called on this, but I'm looking for reaction from my fellow Children performers.

From the beginning of time we often use terms like "where's your boyfriend" to girls, and "why is your girlfriend laughing?" to boys. These types of references are in many of our routines. They often actually are integral to the plot of the routine, and not merely laugh lines. (Have you ever divided up the girls and boys in competition with Axtell's "Off The Meter?) In these ever changing times, do any of you feel the need to bow to PC and make them either "gender neutral" or even more extreme? I ask this as I am working on a kid/teen version of 3 card monte, with the typical "girl in the middle (queen)" start, then all three cards changing to kings.

Not looking for a debate on any social or political issue, and hope the moderators will intervene if it does. Simply looking for opinions of the working children's magic pros. Many thanks!
MichaelCGM
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No need to "bow to PC" without cause. Unless one is getting a lot of complaints from clients and/or audience members, script your show as you see fit. As professional entertainers, it's our job to script our show for best results, unless explicit concerns are voiced.
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Magical Michael

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o2b2b2
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My view is to avoid any problems before they occur. It’s not difficult to be gender neutral, so why not go that way before someone brings it up. Better to be ahead of the times than behind them.
Dick Oslund
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Michael and I don't always agree, but in this "case", we agree.
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Mindpro
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Yes, me too
Jed Maxwell
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Label someone only when you *know* the label applies. Boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, sexual orientation, creed, color, politics... why set yourself up for attack by assuming anything?

I play it safe by being everything-neutral. It is just a minefield out there with too many parents reading (and adopting) the mindset of attention-seeking crazy journalists and internet posters.

It's not placating to the crazies. It's choosing to not play their game by giving them either attention or fodder.
"You're a mentalist!"
Scott Green
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A decade ago, when I started doing this full-time, I had no real understanding of gender dysphoria, transgender issues, etc. Now I know these issues affect people—real people, children and adults in our audiences—and I know the hardships these people often face, from bullying to depression to high rates of suicide. So I have no excuse not to perform a show that extends them compassion.

I don't see the harm to the performer in using gender neutral language (i.e., referring to the audience as "my friends" instead of "boys and girls"). You don't need to split the kids by gender for your Off The Meter routine. This side of the room vs that side! First grade vs second grade! Libras vs Capricorns!... You don't need to ask for a girl to play the queen in a routine. You can ask the children to volunteer if they'd like to pick the queen, and then, without saying anything about gender, pick whomever you would like to be in that role. (If you make a habit of always trying to pick a girl, make sure there are volunteer opportunities in your show that are gender-neutral so children who present as neither boys nor girls still have things for which they can be picked.)

It's not PC culture forcing you to do anything. It's you now knowing more about the world and choosing a compassionate, empathetic path, instead of refusing compassion and empathy because a dram of change is too much of an imposition.
stempleton
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I appreciate hearing from both sides here. One commonality that seems to present itself is that the longtime posters here(myself included)and the new users seem to have opposite points of view. Not making any causal link to that, just pointing it out.
VolunteerMagic
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Well said, Scott Green!
o2b2b2
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If you are doing kid shows, the people who hire you usually skew younger. It will be noticed if your approach is not what they expect. Scott Green is absolutely correct. I don't understand why performers have a big reaction or make a big deal about making such a small change in words. I did school shows full time for nearly 30 years, often over 400 a year, so have some experience in this. You can either stand and yell “ get off my lawn”, or make small changes and keep your customers happy.
TomB
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The culture is changing, and there is a culture war. I am not a fan of self censorship. If your show is kid friendly, you do not need to change it.

The PC crowd will never be fully accepting of anything you say. They will always find a reason to be offended. You will never win.

Little kids just want to have fun and be entertained.

In the end, they hired the performer. If you are losing demand, then you might have to adjust and size up your competition. If people like you, do not change for the sake of change. If there is a specific request, then you can talk about that with the client.
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