What’s in a name?
Orac over at Respectful Insolence reports that an award-winning children’s book has been banned from some libraries in america, because, heaven forbid, it uses the word scrotum. Not in any dirty sense either, but by a character explaining where his dog had been bitten by a snake. As some people point out, the idea of a dog being bitten in the scrotum by a snake is itself far more offensive than the use of the word scrotum. I’ll say it again for good measure. Scrotum.
Seriously, kids aren’t allowed to know what body parts are called? You really think that a schoolgoing child doesn’t already know what testicles are? What term exactly would these prim and proper librarians have preferred the author use? Ball-sack? Teabag? Gonads? Lunchbox? The Twins?
And frankly, I do not get the point of euphemisms for any purpose other than creative speaking. Whether I say scrotum, balls or man-purse, you know what i mean. All three terms conjure in your mind the concept of testicles. Whether a child says penis or pee-pee, it all means the same thing. You’re still saying a word that means a body part. The very fact that the word ‘pudendum’ is from the latin for ‘shameful thing’ tells you that sometimes the euphemism even becomes the dirty word. This only happens because regardless of the string of letters you use to define it, you’re still talking about something dirty, and everyone knows it.
The fact is, kids today know a lot more about sex and body parts than parents and teachers would like to imagine. At the very least, let them learn the right words for it.