Reading the newspaper today, my husband came across a Los Angeles Times article in which the Parents Television Council, a conservative watchdog group, has been counting the number of times penis and vagina have been used in network prime time television. The usage of these words, we are told, has escalated dramatically over the past ten years, which prompted PTC president, Tim Winter, to say, "It's a broader reflection of the progression of raunch."
The progression of raunch? The utterances of penis and vagina from our lips is raunch? Now, I don't know about other parents, but in our house we don't use the colloquial pee pee and va jay jay. We labels it as we sees it. It's big p and capital v all the way. Consequently, penis and vagina are said quite frequently, and as the children have gotten older these two choice anatomical sobriquets have only gained momentum, quite possibly making ours the house Tim Winter would say is the raunchiest in America.
Trust me, penis is a better choice than what I was raised with...my mother taught me to call my member a do do. That's right, do do like the opposite of don't don't. And aside from assigning it asinine nomenclature, my mother discouraged us from discussing it or anything else below the belt line...ever. I have two younger sisters and yet don't remember the word vagina being spoken by anyone at any time. I can only imagine what euphemism Mom chose for them. Cupcake? Pussy willow? Lock box?
I imagine my little family is even more free and easy saying penis because it's part of my work. Mommy with a Wee-Wee just wouldn't sound as...substantial.
Which reminds me, a few years back, I did a Mother's Day show called Momilicious or Mompalooza or something like that, and in it I got to work with Laraine Newman and Caroline Aaron. To promote the show we did a radio spot reading our pieces. We had to tweak them, taking out curse words and salacious subject matter, to fit with FCC regulations, but that didn't bother me one bit because I remember thinking how I had made it.
People will hear me read and flock to my blog. Laraine Newman, for God's sake! SNL royalty. I've hit the big time.
I remember how excited I was when I turned on the radio and heard my voice coming over the airwaves. The host, Wendy Hammers, introduced me, telling the listeners that I had a blog called "Mommy with a beeeeeeeeep."
What the fuck!
She continued, "And you can find Hutch's blog at double-u double-u double-u dot mommy with a beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep dot blogspot dot com."
No. No. No. Noooooooooooooooo!
I was crestfallen as I watched fickle fame and flimsy fortune slip fortuitously out of my hands.
The shows that PTC have cited to use penis and vagina most frequently are 2 Broke Girls, Two and a Half Men, 30 Rock, The Office, American Dad, Family Guy and Grey's Anatomy. OK, PTC may have a point, some of those shows bleep even my raunchiness meter. But their word usage is the least of my worries, it's the content that parents should be concerned about.
Now, I personally love adult humor because it's for adults. However, any parent who plops their impressionable five year old in front of the telly to watch Family Guy and then complains when Baby Stewie spouts penis, vagina, slut, or douche nozzle is...well...a douche nozzle.
There's not one show on that list that I allow my kids watch. Well, maybe 30 Rock, but come on, it's Tina Fey. But for the most part they'd both rather watch their own shows: Maxwell is still having a love affair with Phineas and Ferb, while Sebastian just discovered the zaniness that is Laverne and Shirley. Not a penis nor vagina in sight.
So, here's my query... Why the study? (And who are the pervs stuck at home counting penises in the first place?) I get the importance of offering children age appropriate programming, but these shows weren't developed for kids. Here's a flash overly sensitive parents, change the channel, or better yet turn the TV off all together.
You see, I'd get it if you were disgruntled by too many crotch or boobie shots. Or you were disgusted by simulated sex scenes or titillating innuendo. I understand that your little one might be too young for hospital operations, zombie feeding frenzies, violent gun play or anything including syringes, autopsies or Nicolette Sheridan. But to get up in arms about words?
Come on people, don't dog the penis. That's my brand.