The oral sex entry in a Merriam Webster dictionary causes outrage in a California school system.
It's been awhile since we attended elementary school, but from everything we've heard, seen, and read—the youth of today is so much more savvy! They build web pages, learn algebra and start thinking about college applications all before they turn 13! Impressive!
The Guardian reports that the parent of a fifth-grader was disturbed when his son looked up "oral sex" in Merriam Webster's 10th edition and found a definition with the word "genitals." "Oral stimulation of the genitals" in fact, was the exact definition. The nerve! Our question: why is this inappropriate? It is called "oral sex" afterall. Is the fact that gentials are involved supposed to be a shocker?
The protective papa, who claimed the dictionary content was not "age appropriate," proved victorious and now students in the Menifee Union school district are without a word reference to thumb through. While nobody discredits the validity of Merrian Webster's 10th edition, district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus is sure there are other filthy words hiding in the book but admits it's "hard to sit and read the dictionary." She and the rest of the school district administrators have yet to decide whether or not to remove the books for good. Banned Book: My Two (Gay Penguin) Dads
OK. Not to dash any idealism here, but it's highly unlikely that any 10- or 11-year-old average American kid who's in the dark about oral sex will stay that way for long. When entering teenhood, blissful ignorance has a shelf-life much, much shorter then however long it would take to read an entire dictionary.
Isn't this the time boys start stashing Playboy? And, geez, with the internet (which the boys of our generation didn't have the pleasure of utilizing at the start of puberty) it just seems to be likely that fingers will do exploring. Do Teens Or Thirtysomethings Have Safer Sex?
Furthermore, it's the human body—what's to be ashamed of? As another Menifee Union father Jason Rogers said, restricting materials like a dictionary leads to a slippery slope:
It is not such a bad thing for a kid to have the wherewithal to go and look up a word he may have even heard on the playground. You have to draw the line somewhere. What are they going to do next, pull encyclopedias because they list parts of the human anatomy like the penis and vagina?