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Sauce for the goose?

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A Catholic School in N. Arlington New Jersey seems to think bad language among its students is a problem. So big a problem they are asking them to forswear vulgarity… if they aren’t male.

Lori Flynn, a teacher who launched the civility campaign at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington, said the rationale was simple: “We want ladies to act like ladies.”

Incredibly,” the principal, Brother Larry Lavallee, added, the girls have the foulest language.” I suspect Brother Lavallee isn’t getting out much. To add special sauce to the mix, the school admits the boys aren’t actually bastions of genteel speech,

Teachers said they hoped that if the girls focused on cleaning up their speech on campus for a month, their improved manners would take hold and rub off on the boys. They timed the initiative to Catholic Schools Week and the old-fashioned romance of Valentine’s Day. They promised lollipops as rewards and handed out pins showing a red slash through a pair of pink lips.

(apparently Brother Lavallee isn’t so sheltered as all that, “It looks like they mean no kissing,” Lavallee said. “That’s a little harder to enforce.”

Do the boys think there is a problem? Sort of.

“It’s unattractive when girls have potty mouths,” noted Nicholas Recarte, 16. A pitcher on the school’s baseball team, Nicholas said he can’t help shouting obscenities from the mound after mishaps. He said he didn’t expect that to change.

So he’s going to keep swearing, but if a woman does it, that’s unattractive. No unfairness, nor message of accepting double standards there.

We all engage in some sort of “foul language”. I know that I do (and being in the Army certainly seemed to make it more commonplace, but it’s not that I never let an expletive fall from my lips prior. More that I got both more blunt, and more nuanced, in my use of them). One of the things in the article where I found this points out is that 1: most people use more cursing in a day than they think (between 70-100 instances per person), and 2: the sense that the world is going to the dogs.

The latter is an inference I made from this, Swearing has become a persistent part of everyday speech, used to add emphasis, emotion and humor. Become? No. I read Shakespeare, and Johnson, and I’ve seen Meredith Wilson’s, “The Music Man”. The death of decent speech amongst the young is no new thing.

So, if this is such a persistent thing, why are the women being targeted? I’d say it’s sexism. It’s not, “ladylike”. When some (female) students actually took the oath to swear no where on the campus the boys were admonished, “Gentlemen, you are not to swear in the presence of ladies.”

For fuck’s sake.

One thought on “Sauce for the goose?

  1. Admittedly the roster of bad words one cam use in a Catholic school without sanction has expanded, but prohibiting the girls from swearing in the faculty’s hearing is only going to encourage hypocrisy. Or maybe that’s the point.

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