Can “Boobies” Ever Be Lewd?

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.


17 responses to “Can “Boobies” Ever Be Lewd?

  1. The country has taken an extreme turn in sexuality. It seems they want to ban everything to do with sex and sexuality and dumb down our kids — ban anything that refers to the human body. Funny since it is the one thing we all have in common.

    Another example of over-reaching.

  2. Boobies is not a word that would offend me. I write it often in my work and most editors deem my work PG at worst when I have the word in there. I think the bat crazy right wingers will find any word sexually inappropriate. To them I say, “Screw you” and I am sure they will find that offensive as well.

    • I think I would be offended to if someone told me “screw you” :-), but then that’s what we intend. Offense to the use of “boobies” in the effort to raise awareness to breast cancer has to be related to some twisted sense of the naked female body.

  3. How udderly ridiculous! Instead of focusing on this trivial issue, they should turn their attention to stopping instances of bullying and hate speech. I can’t stand it when priorities are so screwed up.

    Boobies, boobies, boobies. I love the word!

    • I love them, too!

      Oops. You said you love “the word.” Yeah. That’s what I meant.

      Obviously ridiculous. It’s apparently O.K. to be shown how to put a condom on a banana, but not O.K. to wear an “I ♡ Boobies!” band. Ridiculous.

      And for the record, I have no problem with teaching Condom Use 101. I’m just saying that it’s slightly nonsensical to ban breast cancer bands but allow that.

      • “It’s apparently O.K. to be shown how to put a condom on a banana…”

        I suspect that in that school that if the principle felt compelled to enforce a vague reference about profane, indecent, lewd or vulgar behavior concerning “boobies” that his parent base is probably the type that insists on abstinence only training. So no demonstrations with a condom and banana in that school is my guess.

      • Larry,

        You are probably quite right, but there are exceptions. One school I attended was unbelievably uptight about dress code, mannerisms, etc, yet handed out condoms. The “I ♡ Boobies” thing wasn’t in vogue then, but I’m sure if it was, they would have rejected it.

        I just can’t believe this is such a big deal. It’s for a good cause.

  4. We remain a country obsessed with sex, to the point that it is perverted.Our churches have been obsessed with it. There are so many words that would be better off discarded forever. This is simply not one of them.

    • I honestly think it is a small minority who are inclined to over react to most any subtle sexual reference. Unfortunately they make the loudest noise and get way too much attention as a result.

      These are people though who I’m sure seldom think outside the box or step back and view the bigger picture … just to use a couple of cliches.

  5. Good article, but I am disappointed about the distinct lack of boobies. (False advertiser!)

    It’s always boggled my mind how sex-phobic Americans are, despite having more sex than any other nation. They are also curse-phobic, despite swearing as much as any other nation and claiming Freedom of Speech a fundamental right. This is just such a bizarre counter-intuitive thing. And it also goes to show how effective censorship has been at stopping people from swearing and wanting to have sex.

    Meanwhile, violence, no matter how realistic or gruesome, is A-OK even for toddlers. The Supreme Jokers say so. Words? No, we’ve gotta stop people from using those things! And just whip out a titty for a couple of seconds and watch the riots start.

    People get worked up over the most idiotic, meaningless, things. As you said, it’s all about the INTENT. Whatever damage caused is caused by the intent behind the word, not the word itself. Any word, even the word “word” can be turned into profanity or “hate speech”. (See the word Teabagger) You can’t even say “ass” or “shtooping” on most daytime TV anymore. Eventually they’ll just censor the entire dictionary, just in case somebody decides to turn a word into a double entendre or slang for a body part. Idiotic.

    It’s not like there’s wars, poverty, a broken democratic system or other REAL social problems to solve. No, we have to persecute people for liking boobies. We live in a society of imbeciles.

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