a bird and a bottle

Censorship Comes to the Third Grade
February 19, 2007, 7:46 am
Filed under: feminism/s & gender, frivolity, is our children learning?, news

Turns out, not only should our kids be ashamed to hear the word “vagina,” but they should also be protected from the dangers of the word “scrotum.”

Susan Patron, a public librarian, wrote “The Higher Power of Lucky,” which recently won the prestigious Newbery Award, which is like the National Book Award for children’s book. The book’s circulation skyrocketed.

And then school librarians, desirous to protect kids (or something like that) read this on the book’s first page, in which the main character, Lucky, has just overheard someone talk about his dog, who was bitten by a snake in a very sensitive place:

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”

And they panicked.

One Colorado librarian likened the book’s author to shock jock Howard Stern. Others sent emails to the librarian listserve vowing that they would not have the book in their libraries, and still others banned it.

All because of the word “scrotum.” Not a “bad” word, mind you, just a scientific description of men’s genitalia. The author, levelheaded, says that the word is included because as the main character is prepubescent and is preparing for adolescence, “learning about language and body parts, then, is very important to her.”

Makes sense to me. Pubescent kids should know about the new lumps and growths on their bodies, no?

I can’t help but admit that this all makes the laugh — the hoohah thing and now this. We as a culture are so obsessed with sex that it has become the bogeyman, and anything associated with it is verboten. Even our own bodes.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

it boggles the mind. assuming i’m allowed to use the word “mind”, ’cause we all know how dangerous those things are…

Comment by nexyjo

fools. but usually in the crazy towns that ban “vagina” and “scrotum” the librarians are the only ones with a shred of sense…

Comment by maxwell

So my question is: does it mean we have gone past the point of no return in terms of cultural sanity when even the librarians lose that last shred of sense?

Comment by bean

Yeah, what Bean sain – isn’t it usually the librarians who are fighting the school officials in cases like these?

Man, I’m going straight out and buying that book for my kid.

Comment by Plain(s) Feminist

[…] It’s why there’s been such a hullaballoo around popular and public uses of words like vagina and scrotum (despite the fact that these are simply anatomical signifiers). Language is also often gendered […]

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