Earlier this month, Netflix released the original series, The Baby-Sitters Club. Viewers met Kristy Thomas, Claudia Kishi, Stacey McGill, Mary Anne Spier, and Dawn Schafer – with great excitement, of course! While many loyal fans remember these talented and caring girls from the novel series by Ann M. Martin, the Netflix series reinvents it for the newest generation. It addresses important topics that are prevalent in today’s society.
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Trans rights & a transgender character in The Baby-Sitters Club
Meeting Bailey & Her Pink Princess Dresses
The Baby-Sitters Club addresses trans rights in the fourth episode (“Mary Anne Saves the Day”). Mary Anne (Malia Baker) introduces viewers to a transgender girl, Bailey.
Mary Anne babysits Bailey after her dad’s coworker requests her. It is evident that Mary Anne and Bailey get along immediately. They quickly transform into princesses for a tea party and impress their guests. More specifically, they impress Bailey’s large, stuffed monkey.
Mary Anne realizes that Bailey is transgender when she searches for a different dress for Bailey to wear. There are a handful of boy’s clothes within Bailey’s closet. Bailey opens her dresser drawer and tells Mary Anne that her new clothes are in there. Mary Anne understands that Bailey’s pink clothes and princess dresses help people see her for who she truly is.
Bailey talks to Dawn after the night of babysitting. Dawn explains what it means to be transgender. She compares it to finally using your dominant hand after years of people forcing you not to.
Trans rights: Bailey’s visit to the hospital
Mary Anne continues to babysit Bailey, and with much enjoyment. Mary Anne accepts and respects Bailey fully. Additionally, The Baby-Sitters Club includes trans children’s rights within the episode when Bailey suffers from a dangerously high fever.
Mary Anne rushes Bailey to the hospital when she fails to get in touch with her dad or Bailey’s parents. At the hospital, the doctor strips Bailey of her identity when he continues to misgender her as a boy. It is clear that this upsets and embarrasses Bailey. Mary Anne speaks up for Bailey and even asks for a non-blue hospital gown.
This episode of The Baby-Sitters Club teaches viewers about respect, acceptance, inclusivity, and trans rights. It is also important to note that transgender actor Kai Shappley plays Bailey in The Baby-Sitters Club!
The show normalizes homosexuality
Another important topic The Baby-Sitters Club focuses on is that of homosexuality. Dawn (Xochitl Gomez) is new to Stoneybrook and The Baby-Sitters Club. She recently moved from Los Angeles, California to Stoneybrook, Connecticut, when her parents got a divorce. Her parents divorced after her dad came out as gay.
Dawn receives a Face Time call from her dad while Kristy trains her to become an official member of The Baby-Sitters Club. When Dawn answers the Face Time call, Dawn’s dad and his partner appear on her phone screen. Dawn tells them she loves them.
The Baby-Sitters Club normalizes homosexuality and shows children that some people have two dads or two moms, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Kristy does not react negatively when Dawn talks to her dad and her dad’s partner. Kristy’s behavior in The Baby-Sitters Club also shows that homosexuality is normal.
The next concept in The Baby-Sitters Club is feminism. Kristy’s (Sophie Grace) fellow babysitting partners consider her bossy or pushy at times, but she’s a fierce feminist. She learned about feminism from her mom, Elizabeth (Alicia Silverstone).
Starting a business
The first instance in which Kristy flexes her feminist muscles is when she decides to start her business, The Baby-Sitters Club. Now, Kristy does not do this all on her own; but with the help of her female friends. She doesn’t ask grown-ups for assistance, and she certainly doesn’t ask any boys or men to help her.
These young female entrepreneurs also solve any issues within the business on their own. It’s all about girl power!
The Baby-Sitters Club successfully teaches young girls (and boys!) about feminism.
Advice from mom
Kristy references a lot of life lessons her mom taught her. One of the lessons is independence. Kristy prides herself on being independent. She doesn’t even need her older brothers! She truly does everything on her own.
Another life lesson Elizabeth teaches Kristy is to use her voice. Kristy may seem outspoken to some, but she stands up for what she believes in. This also includes speaking out about the double standard in the classroom. Kristy knows her teacher treats the boys and girls differently. She speaks out against this.
Lastly, Kristy is brave, intelligent, and always stays true to who she is. This is all thanks to her mom.
The Baby-Sitters Club addresses feminism through Kristy as well as the other girls.
All in all, The Baby-Sitters Club addresses important topics. It is a show with acceptance, trans rights, inclusivity, love is love, and feminism.