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Keeping It PG

If you are a close friend of mine you may know about my little quirk. I love surveys. I fill out restuarant comment cards (sometimes they will give you $5-$10 off!), department-store online surveys, and research opportunities short of drawing blood. When someone from my former college *UNL* e-mailed me about a survey I did back in May, I was interested, then they told me it would take an hour and I'd get $15. Sign me up already!

The research was conducted by a graduate student who was working on a dissertation about our cultural language (well, college-aged) regarding sexual euphemisms. It was very interesting. There were about 120 notecards sitting on a table each baring an euphemism on it. I was to categorize first the "Violent Euphemisms" and then make categories up of my own accord. Needless to say, the first category had the biggest stack--which didn't really shock me at all. I made 6 other categories including: Formal/Non-offensive (also not shocking, the smallest pile), Outdated Terms, Unique or Odd Terms (I had never heard of any of these--I think people just made them up), "Foreplay" Terms, General/Overly-Casual Terms (basically, you're average 6th grader knows what these terms are referring to they are used that much). Then the woman conducting the research asked me numerous questions regarding my categorizations. All in all, it took about 20 minutes, and I stayed to talk to her for about 10 more minutes "off the record" (or recorder). She is using her research to conduct a subslot in sex-ed that would include language. Her research is proving that those who have fewer 'violent' euphemisms (she said I was the first person who have that category as the biggest...most often it was the smallest--I was shocked!) are more likely to support a rape culture. This doesn't necessarily mean that person A using word A supports rape, but that person A is more likely to "let it slide". This is very interesting as in reading the last book in this topic, Liebau makes the arugment that culture 'deadens' us to terms and normalcy, stating (this is an estimate as I already returned the book) that 'during one hour of TV, there are over 6 scenes or dialogue moments supporting/assuming sexual encounters'. That is a lot for a young person to watch and not eventually take as normal! Especially if the average child watches 10 or more hours of TV a week (and it is actually WAYYYY higher than that...). I know a lot of people reading this have small children and won't have to worry about this coming up for a (hopefully) long time, but it should come up. Parents should and need to talk to their 'tweens' and teens about this because in surveys across the board in the three books I read, each majority figure said that parents would be the most influential in a child's decision to have sex. It's not friends! It's parents! Not only do we as parents have a responsibilty to be open with our children, even when they have 'uncomfortable' questions, but we have a responsibilty to tell them what is 'normal' (and it definitely isn't what's on TV!) and what is exaggerated for selling purposes. It may even take a little bit of this:

I'll be looking forward to the final write-up of the findings in May.


julie said…
I'm trying not to think about all of that. It's crazy! Thank goodness for Elmo's World and Cookie Monster's letter of the day.

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