About a month ago, I attended Observation Day at my son’s former elementary school. After my son Mason was diagnosed with autism, they moved him into a special education program, but I still like to attend events for the parents of normal children. In conversation, I’ll often just pick out a child at random and say, “oh that one’s mine,” if anyone asks why I’m there. It works well, and these things usually have free Goldfish and punch. Personally I think it’s unfair that just because my son is disabled, I have to hang out with parents of other disabled children, but I digress.
The benefit of attending these events, aside from maintaining my social standing as the mother of a non-retarded child, is that I am provided with a much more objective opinion of the classroom on Observation Day because I no longer have a dog in the fight. For me, it’s purely scientific. I’m able to truly observe without my motherly instincts kicking in.
I sat in the back taking pulls off my nip of scotch, trying to figure out which one of the single dads I could fuck, and I watched the class. It took less than thirty minutes to notice something problematic. One girl commanded more attention than all of the other students. She would speak up, and over others, quite often. Sometimes, she would even interrupt the teacher.
“Okay, everyone,” began the teacher, “we’re all going to share the –“
“I’m going to use the blue crayon!”
“Now, Jessica,” contested the young teacher, “don’t you think you’re being kind of cunty?”
“Wha… what?” faltered the tiny girl.
“You’re being a little cunt, Jessica, and everyone hates you because you’re a cunt.”
Harsh words, but teaching is tough. I don’t think any of the parents raised more than an eyebrow over the encounter, considering that despite the girl’s hurt feelings, we knew she was being cunty. It seemed like the situation played out exactly as it should–until a little boy talked out of turn as well.
“So, as I was saying before Jessica interrupted me, we’re –“
“I’m using the blue crayon!” shouted a toe headed young man through a toothless juice smile.
“Michael!” shrieked the teacher. “That’s very brave of you!”
The teacher walked over to the boy.
“I want everyone here to take a look at Michael. This boy here is a born leader. He knows what he wants and knows his desires are more important than any of yours!”
The teacher then instructed the rest of the class to hoist Michael up on their shoulders. “CEO! CEO! CEO!” the children chanted as they paraded him around the room.
I had to stop and think critically for a second. The children behaved identically, yet the response is totally different. Why is okay for a little boy to be a cunt, but it’s not okay for a little girl to be a cunt? Should we reprimand that little boy for being a cunt? Should we make it clear that cooperation is more important than leadership, and treat him the same way that we treat little Jessica?
Of course not. What we should do however, is encourage Jessica to be more of a cunt. The world doesn’t have enough shitty people who want to railroad others and put themselves before everyone else. The world needs more CEOs.
So how do we get girls to be more cunty? Do we change the underlying behavior and the way children are socialized? Or do we take the much simpler route of calling for a word to be banned? If we apply the principle of Occam’s razor, the answer is clear. We ban the word cunty.
Now, the idea of banning language is something that rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but luckily we’re making a lot of progress. I’m actually super excited that we live in a world where censorship isn’t hated as much as it used to be. In the 1980s, a lot of brave moms recognized that Judas Priest and Dungeons and Dragons would cause children to grow up to be murderers and psychopaths. They called for both to be banned, and unfortunately, they failed. While they turned out to be wrong about all of that, their hearts were in the right place, and now, 30 years later, we know what’s really hurting kids: non-fat Barbie dolls and words like bossy and cunty.
On top of all that – this whole issue hits pretty close to home for me. You see, I had a daughter. After reading online about how difficult it is for women to simply exist in this world, I put her down shortly after her seventh birthday.
I just couldn’t bear the thought of my little princess having to struggle with the media’s constant assault on her agency. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I’ll never forget the glossy look in her eyes as the veterinarian administered the pentobarbital and she clutched her doll to her chest as the life slipped away. Even thinking about it now, I have to remind myself that it was for the best.
Euthanizing my daughter was a difficult decision to make. But from that experience I learned that I have the ability to make tough decisions and stick by them. Banning a word, much like euthanizing a child, is a scary thing to consider. But in the end, it is for the best. If there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that the ends always justify the means. If language has to be sacrificed to make way for my agenda, so be it. It’ll all work out in the long run.