When is the word “boobies” NOT profane, indecent, lewd, and vulgar? Seldom, if at all, but surely not when they are a part of an effort to raise awareness for a serious women’s health issue.
If you had a thirteen year old son and you heard him say the word “boobies”, would you be shocked? Would you scold him and wash his mouth out with soap? Would you pray each night that God purge him of this language or would you go further and seek out an exorcist to remove the demons that surely must possess him? Or would you be like most parents and chuckle, either out loud or underneath your breath?
There are some words I would forbid a thirteen your old boy to say publicly and even discipline him if he deliberately continued to do so, but “boobies” is not one of them. The word connotes an adolescent description of a female’s breast but then so do other terms like jugs, gazongas, honkers, rack, airbags and balloons. They use these descriptive terms because they’ve probably been raised in a culture that forbids the more earthy usage of “tits”, not to mention they elicit a immature chuckle each time you say the words.
More polite and formal terms like “breasts” and “mammary glands” might be acceptable in society but what normal boy would employ adult, academic terms describing something that holds a certain titillating mystique for them. Besides, these two terms have other usages. Breast is that part of the chicken with white meat and mammary glands are on female mammals, not young nubile girls and busty women.
And herein perhaps lies the objection that some adults might have with any 13-year old boy making any kind of reference to that part of the female anatomy. Unlike the other species, human female breasts, outside their natural utilitarian function, are one of the seven female erogenous zones that Monica Geller describes here to Chandler in an episode of Friends.
By the way, here’s a humorous link that illustrates the difference between male and female erogenous zones.
But the use of the word “boobies” by a teen boy doesn’t have to conjure up the worst possible case for some adults and it sure as hell shouldn’t be restricted when it’s use is aimed at raising breast cancer awareness. And yet, such is the case with a young Indiana boy who uses this word to bring attention to this serious topic.
An Indiana eighth grader sued his school district in federal court Monday for the right to wear a bracelet promoting breast cancer awareness with the message “I (heart) Boobies.”
The lawsuit says the boy’s mother bought the bracelet for him in support of the Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Research Fund, named after actor Alec Baldwin’s mother, a cancer survivor. He wore the bracelet to Roosevelt Middle School for two days without causing a disruption. On Jan. 6, the vice principal spotted it and ordered the boy to turn it inside out because it was violating the school’s dress code.
ACLU attorney Ken Falk said the boy has not worn the bracelet to school since being warned he could face discipline if he did. The lawsuit contends the bracelet does not violate the school’s dress code, which specifies that “Students should not engage in speech or conduct, including clothing, jewelry, or hairstyle, which is profane, indecent, lewd, vulgar, or offensive to school purposes.”
“It is designed to assist in the fight against breast cancer,” the lawsuit says.
A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled last year that the bracelets were not lewd or vulgar and couldn’t be banned by public school officials who found them offensive. That decision is being appealed. SOURCE
What is this school code’s sense of morality that would view this slightly unorthodox approach to raising awareness for breast cancer as profane, indecent, lewd, vulgar, or offensive to school purposes?
What is it about the puritanical mindset that is squeamish about the human anatomy? Judeo-christian legend has it that when God created man and woman, “they were both naked, … and were not ashamed?” (Gen 2:25) Has the church over the centuries taken the imagery of Paul’s exhortation in Roman’s 12:1 to present our bodies as “holy, acceptable to God” in ways that vulgarize a woman’s nurturing breast? Attorney General Ashcroft under president Bush apparently thought so and had a set of $8000 drapes conceal the Spirit of Justice statue he routinely gave press interviews in front of at the Department of Justice.
Is this type of reaction by some men a weakness of some sort where extreme examples are played out in some fundamentalist Muslim cultures, insisting women be fully covered from head to toe in order to “avoid the lustful gaze of men”?
I am simply amazed to what lengths some adults will take an issue to with the thought of protecting the youth of this country from sexual impropriety based on a perception that appears grounded in rigid religious dogma. No one really expects a 13 year old boy to automatically go from a conscientious breast cancer advocate to a life of debauchery and pornography by wearing a bracelet with the sophomoric term of “boobies” on it. Its harmless use may attract the attention of people who might think it shameful but once the person whose wearing it explains what’s it’s for, the shame is likely to shift to the adult some and even earn the holder of the bracelet a little esteem for taking a moral stand on a sensitive topic.
It is this supercilious reaction by some adults that undermines an open and honest dialogue about a subject matter that many parents feel overly-sensitive about and reluctant to maturely discuss with their own children — S-E-X. We take an issue so vital to our survival and whose natural urges are equal to that of hunger and thirst and only talk about it in ways that wound up inhibiting healthy relationships and conjure up fears by some of eternal damnation for violating the strict parameters we have inherited from ancient paternalistic cultures.
There are many words that we should avoid and prevent our children from using, especially those that demoralize an individual and can incite them to violence, (“nigger”), lower their self-esteem, (“idiot” or “retard”) and even drive some of them to commit suicide (“faggot”, “whore”, “lesbian”). These ugly, hurtful expressions, when expressed with the intent to hurt, should be dealt with by punishing the user of them in ways that let’s them know it won’t be tolerated. But there are other words that are simply silly, adolescent depictions of something that their users have yet come to grips with in a mature way.
I’m pretty sure “boobies” is one of those terms. It is definitely one word we need to worry a lot less about than those that are used to dehumanize one another. If adults really want to role model appropriate language for their kids they might start by condemning that which we are hearing all too often in our political discourse with one another.