“Our children, they are not really our children.”
Celine Dion rolled out her new gender-neutral children’s clothing line Tuesday in true diva fashion.
In a promotional video, the Canadian crooner breaks into the maternity ward of a hospital and blows a handful of sparkling confetti over the infants — magically replacing their traditional pink and blue sleepwear with chic black-and-white branded outfits.
The message of the spy-thriller style ad is one of radical individualism: Children do not really belong to their parents, or even to society, but are rather self-determining beings.
“Our children, they are not really our children,” Dion intones in a voice over as her character is chauffeured to the hospital in a black Cadillac SUV. “As we are all just links in a never-ending chain that is life.”
Later, as she enters the maternity ward in a low-cut black suit and high-heeled boots, she adds, “We miss the past. They dream of tomorrow. We may thrust them forward into the future, but the course will always be theirs to choose.”
Dion, 50, an iconic Canadian singer and five-time Grammy winner, created the collection, called CELINUNUNU with the boutique children’s brand NUNUNU, which specializes in unisex designs. The clothes are mostly black, white, grey, and yellow. Some are emblazoned with the words “NEW ORDER.”
She tweeted Tuesday that she hoped the clothes would “encourage a dialogue of equality and possibility.”
I’ve always loved nununu and what they represent. Partnering with them to encourage a dialogue of equality and possibility makes so much sense. – Céline xx…https://t.co/wYoqnDhIIE#celinununu @celinununu pic.twitter.com/HWeO54h4NT
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) November 13, 2018
Many on Twitter celebrated Dion’s move as a cultural landmark for gender non-conforming types, who have long faced discrimination.
Celine Dion isn’t into gender conformity when it comes to raising her sonshttps://t.co/ri7hQXGrkp LOVE HER AND I LOVE THIS MESSAGE. Be who you are!!!
— jann arden (@jannarden) November 14, 2018
However, even some of her fans were skeptical. Toronto Star columnist Emma Teitel complained that the clothes essentially sought to impose masculine style on all children.
“Dion’s heart is certainly in the right place but her clothing partnership reinforces the idea that traditionally masculine attire is acceptable for all genders, while traditionally feminine attire is for girls alone,” Teitel wrote. “Plain: good. Fabulous: bad. Is this really the ‘new order’ we want to establish?”
Others object to the promotion of gender neutrality in general, seeing such activism as evidence that progressivism has overreached. As University of Notre Dame political scientist Patrick Deneen argued in his 2018 book-length takedown of the liberal project, “Why Liberalism Failed”:
“Under the guise of differences in race, an exploding number of genders, and a variety of sexual orientations, the only substantive worldview advanced is that of advanced liberalism: the ascent of the autonomous individual backed by the power and support of the state and its growing control over institutions, including schools and universities.”
To be fair, Dion’s ad evinces a sense of humor, ending with Dion getting cuffed by security guards and hauled off the jail. And on an interview Wednesday with HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” Dion averred that she was not telling anyone how to raise their kids.
“The message I’m trying to get across is you raise your children the way you want to raise your children. You have to decide what’s right for them. We’re just proposing another way to take away the stereotype.”
Still, Dion shared with viewers that she has eschewed gender stereotypes in raising her three sons. She recalled a trip to Disneyland during which she chose to accept their disinterest in the “big superheroes.”
“They were looking at princesses, and they all wanted to be Minnie Mouse,” she said. “I end up saying to myself, ‘You know what, it’s OK.’ You know why it’s OK? Because they’re talking, they’re finding themselves.”