Sunday Screed – I Heart Boobies

For this week’s screed – rather than write on a subject related to one of the normal themes of this blog – I’m going to write on two of my favourite things: free speech and boobs.  How often is it that these two issues come together?  When the matter isn’t related to pornography, that is.

The debate over whether or not “boobies” is a vulgar word has gone to court:

Everyone kept a straight face in U.S. District Court on Thursday as a judge heard arguments about whether boobies is a vulgar word – or at least a double entendre – and therefore can be banned by middle school administrators.

The lawsuit was filed after the Easton (Pa.) School District forbade the wearing of “I (heart) boobies” bracelets and suspended two eighth-grade girls who refused to remove them.

Well while we’re at it, why don’t we go right back to the Victoria era and stop the use of the word “breast.”

Now your first thought may be: Well what a fucking waste of time.  It does seem rather inane to spend time and money on this issue.  Until you read about the purpose of the bracelets, however.

Ironically, the incident occurred on Oct. 28, Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which the school district endorsed and participated in.

Just not with the boobies bracelets now enjoying a boomlet among teenage girls. The bracelet sales fund a nonprofit group that educates young women about breast cancer.

In other words, school officials though the proper response to the activism of these girls was to effectively censor it.  I can see the headline now “School Opposes Fight Against Breast Cancer”.

The school’s defense screams “Puritans!”

The school district said other students might consider the word vulgar, and girls’ wearing the bracelets could inadvertently encourage bad behavior by their male classmates.

One. Of the many vulgar words out there, “boobies” does not seem to be high on the list of anyone I know.  Even my relative who possesses a Puritan-esque attitude towards vulgarity has used the term and, if I recall correctly, it was used in reference to the development of young-girls breasts.  If the word “boobies” is considered vulgar by this school, then their bar for what constitutes vulgar language has been set incredibly low.  Better remove all books with offensive language while they’re at it.

Second.  Their assessment of male behaviour is blatantly sexist.  Yes, heterosexual males tend to have an affection for boobs – myself included – but to assume that seeing the word “boobies” will lead to bad behaviour is both absurd and insulting.  At worst, it will incite some giggles.  At best, it will encourage students to go out and purchase the bracelets.  Funding cancer research in the process.

More bizarre is the explanation from one school official over what this “bad behaviour” could be:

“They can be very offensive to someone who walks up and says, ‘I love your boobies,’ ” said Angela DiVeitro, the principal of Easton Area Middle School, located east of Allentown. “They can view it as sexual harassment, and I have to make sure the kids are not being sexually harassed in my school.” But no disturbance connected to the bracelets occurred before they were banned, she said under questioning.

As mentioned above, no such incidents have actually occured.  Furthermore, I suspect if the statement were uttered it would be viewed as support for the cause.  A male who was to approach a fellow female student that he, “hearts her boobies” would probably not need the motivation from a bracelet to do so.  To blame the behaviour on the bracelet is just, foolish.

Next we see how the school has associated the noble cause of supporting cancer research with some more – undebatably – sexual slogans.

DiVeitro explained that she had forbidden other questionable items, including Hooters jerseys and Big Pecker’s Bar & Grill T-shirts from the Ocean City, Md., establishment of the same name.

Yes.  Because bracelets promoting cancer research are just as sexually suggestive as shirts promoting a restaraunt chain whose main draw is the large breasts of its waitresses or a pub using a double entendre. (Their mascot is a rooster with – you guessed it – a giant pecker).  How “I Heart Boobies” constitutes a double entendre is beyond me.  Perhaps my mind does not possess the same level of perversion apparently existent in DiVeitro’s mind.  But hey, what do I know?  I’m just a male who hearts boobies.

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