From Astrology to Tax Policy, Netflix’s “The Baby-Sitters Club” Shows Tweens Contain Multitudes



Netflix’s “The Baby-Sitters Club,” the charming and early-stage coming-of-age show based on the Ann M. Martin classic book series of the same name, is back for a triumphant second season, so that its protagonists embark on their next great adventure: the eighth year.

The girlfriends had already proven their entrepreneurial skills last season, even beating the competition from older girls who didn’t take their childcare responsibilities seriously. This season doubles the complexity, business acumen and, frankly, the genius of tween girls as an extended member requires navigating a new dynamic.

But it’s not all dollars and results here. On “The Baby-Sitters Club,” standing out from a world that often pokes fun at whatever teenage girls and tweens like as trivial or silly, our favorite feminist sitters contain a wealth of interests and expertise.

The show picks up at the end of summer vacation with Mary Anne (Malia Baker) desperate to know what her relationship status is with Logan (Rian McCririck), after a romance as hot and heavy as two 13-year-olds could be having in summer camp (they kissed, people!). Now, with the first day of school days away with only Logan’s silence as he spends the rest of the summer with his grandparents in Kentucky, Mary Anne must piece together the clues to their location.

She turns to Dawn (Xochitl Gomez), the edgy, hipster and anti-capitalist Californian with a mastery of astrology and tarot card reading, for a night of candlelight and consultation with the spirit world to get to the bottom of. the situation of Mary Anne -boat.

“The sun of Virgo, the moon of Virgo, the rising of the Virgin, yours,” Dawn tells Mary Anne. “Triple Virgo – very rare… You are organized and extremely detail-oriented. We will do your [chart], and cross-reference compatibility. “

The two deduce that Logan, with his birthday on January 10, is a Capricorn – perfect for Mary Anne – and end up playing pranks on Logan masquerading as the Census Bureau to try to figure out his time and place of birth so to work fully graphic. This, of course, is not the only scene that astrology is referenced in the series, or even in this season.

Ultimately, Mary Anne and Logan try to be a couple, but after a few epic encounters, the two decide not to let the others – or even the stars – figure out how they should relate. Instead, they won’t label their connection and just take their time to find out what “us” looks like.

Mary Anne’s foray into astrology, however, is not something to dismiss. It’s light, joyful, and even uplifting to see teenage girls and tween girls embrace something very popular and feminized in our culture without the usual reaction of being laughed at or ridiculed. It’s reminiscent of how Hulu’s comedy “PEN15” describes how best friends in college suddenly believe they’ve become witches and use this new magic to try and get the boys to like them. It may seem small and unimportant – let the girls have fun with something that is popular among their population, without shame or denigration. But our policing and derision of the interests of girls and young women has long been a feature of the male-dictated social hierarchy.

The firing of boy groups, Justin Bieber, reality shows, YA series like “Pretty Little Liars”, astrology and other interests with predominantly female and young fan bases, is to demean women and men. girls and insult their intelligence. You could also say that it is a slippery slope to poke fun at these interests, at any other issue that young women particularly care about, such as reproductive rights, a topic that is often viewed even by progressives as just a “problem.” of women ”or“ an identity policy ”. , and less important than the harsh, supposedly more masculine economic problems.

Speaking of economics, of course, “The Baby-Sitters Club” also shows that teenage girls and tweens can both be obsessed with astrology and know more about tax policy than at least 75% of our population. Congress. Truly.

The debate begins for the first time when the president of the Baby-Sitters Club Kristy (Sophie Grace) is sidelined by strep throat. In his absence, Lance Officer Dawn steps in and makes many changes during his brief one-week tenure. One of her policy changes she is trying to push through is to reassess whether the current amount of dues is fair to expect from each member.

The cast of “The Baby-Sitters Club” Season 2 (Netflix)

In a reasoned and thoughtful conversation about whether club members should pay fixed dues or a percentage of their income, Dawn goes from a human, walking version of the CoStar app to Senator Elizabeth Warren in the flesh. .

“If I work more, I cover other people,” said Stacey McGill (Shay Rudolph), raising concerns about a percentage system for their contributions.

“This is how progressive taxation works – those with more give more,” says Dawn.

At this point, Jessi (Anais Lee), the club’s newest junior member, also reminds Stacey, “I can’t work as much as you do because I can’t stay out late and I have ballet. is a much larger percentage of my income. ”

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I hope the Republicans in Congress and those who oppose a wealth tax are watching! Granted, these conversations are written for girls by adults, but taxation really is that simple, and young people who run their own businesses and influencer accounts understand it.

Redistributing wealth and expecting different “contributions” from low-income people compared to rich people, billionaires and corporations, is not only fair and essential for economic justice. It is also a public good. The conversation about progressive taxation almost immediately turns to the charitable component of the club’s dues, as its members will donate a percentage of the dues to a charity.

“If we start paying a percentage of our contributions to charity, who will choose the charity? And will it be the same charity every time? asks Marie-Anne. Herein lies another question on which our representatives seriously need to learn more: how to invest democratically in society and public goods.

The club ultimately decides that they will take turns choosing where to donate their dues so that everyone’s voice can be heard and everyone’s values ​​are supported – as opposed to, say, undemocratically elected politicians who pay billions. billions in the US military and police, when most of us just want affordable health care and education.

The transitions between Dawn and her comrades chatting and discussing astrological signs, relationship statuses and what is otherwise known as “the girl-to-girl conversation” flow so naturally that the message of “The Baby-Sitters Club” is clear. . These interests among young women and girls are by no means contradictory.

Being feminine and enjoying traditionally feminized interests is not incompatible with being bright and political. The babysitters’ multifaceted interests, hobbies and passions are a testament to the seriousness with which The Baby-Sitters Club takes seriously the intelligence and political participation of young women and girls.

Both seasons of “The Baby-Sitters Club” are now streaming on Netflix.



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