Calling a Kid the "C" Word

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Susan Arendt:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

If they had called a 9-year-old boy a "dickhead," the reaction would've been the same, I promise you.

Somehow I doubt that, maybe I'm wrong and I hope I am but still, just look at these forums many a time when discussing things such as FPS multiplayer you will see people insulting the 12 year old boys that play with such rude language yet we don't even blink.

John Funk:
The difference between gendered insults directed at boys "dick" and gendered insults directed at girls "bitch," the c-word... is one of social power and privilege. Yes, it's a bit of a double standard, but it's because we live in a world that establishes a double standard already.

If I fight with my girlfriend, there is not a word she could say to me that would hurt as much as me honestly calling her a bitch.

Just because the world has established that double standard doesn't means we have to take it lying down instead we should try to change it!

rancher of monsters:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

You call nine-year-olds boys dickheads?

Did you miss the bit where I said that I disliked anyone swearing at anybody else?
I was referring to other people calling boys "dickheads".

Doing something "ironically" is still doing it.

I've now read two interpretations of this joke from the Onion. In one, the Press are vile to celebrities no matter the circumstance and that is why it is a satirical joke (if not funny). In the other, the Press are saccharine in their treatment of celebrities around Oscar time, and the juxtaposition of a sweet girl with the C-Bomb is what makes it satirical. Both interpretations come from people I deem to be bright and whose opinions usually have merit.

If your satire is that difficult to parse correctly you're doing it wrong. If you're doing it wrong in the context of calling a little girl a 'C-bomb' in public you're a grade-A prat who probably needs to take a Twitter time-out. Say, for 70 years. Conservatively.

I get that on the internet it's the done thing to reflexively justify speech and the freedom thereof, no matter how abhorrent it is, on the grounds of FREEDOM! SATIRE! LULZ!, but have some fucking empathy for Christ's sake. If you're that 9-year old, attending school for the next n years, how fun will it be to have that word publicly linked to your name?

How about we keep the kids off limits until they're no longer kids. And that goes double for big names on the Internet, whose reach far exceeds their common sense.

rancher of monsters:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

You call nine-year-olds boys dickheads?

When I was 9 we were calling each other dickheads. Let's not pretend that all the kids are innocent little flowers, they know what swears are and are probably using them.

Anyways the joke required a better delivery method than twitter allows. Its generally quite difficult to convey satire, sarcasm or any sort of hidden meaning if the audience can't gauge your intentions.

Also here in my part of Scotland, the world cunt is used pretty liberally. You're not gonna start shouting it in front of your boss or anything but if you're in a casual environment it's pretty much used as a comma, or as a term of endearment.

Ilikemilkshake:

rancher of monsters:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

You call nine-year-olds boys dickheads?

When I was 9 we were calling each other dickheads. Let's not pretend that all the kids are innocent little flowers, they know what swears are and are probably using them.

All kids are not innocent flowers, but that doesn't mean they've all been subjected to everything or thinks it's appropriate even if they say it. I probably didn't start using language like that until I was thirteen, and I went to school with kids who wouldn't say things like that for many more years if at all. I can tell you that if you had called me a dickhead or a cunt at the age of nine you probably would have seriously hurt my feelings, I was a sensitive kid in a family that didn't tolerate swearing. Does that mean there was something wrong with me? I don't think so, because as a person, especially an adult, communicating with or talking about another person you should have the empathy to understand or at least consider their experiences and, if you're an adult talking to/about a child, you should be able to scale your language to their level.

knight steel:

Susan Arendt:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

If they had called a 9-year-old boy a "dickhead," the reaction would've been the same, I promise you.

Somehow I doubt that, maybe I'm wrong and I hope I am but still, just look at these forums many a time when discussing things such as FPS multiplayer you will see people insulting the 12 year old boys that play with such rude language yet we don't even blink.

John Funk:
The difference between gendered insults directed at boys "dick" and gendered insults directed at girls "bitch," the c-word... is one of social power and privilege. Yes, it's a bit of a double standard, but it's because we live in a world that establishes a double standard already.

If I fight with my girlfriend, there is not a word she could say to me that would hurt as much as me honestly calling her a bitch.

Just because the world has established that double standard doesn't means we have to take it lying down instead we should try to change it!

rancher of monsters:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

You call nine-year-olds boys dickheads?

Did you miss the bit where I said that I disliked anyone swearing at anybody else?
I was referring to other people calling boys "dickheads".

My mistake, though I will say this about your response to Funk. You can talk about changing the standards of words, but you also have to accept that those words have their standards for a reason. Words are meant as a vehicle to communicate ideas and concepts and they often gather widely accepted sub-concepts amongst certain cultures. You're free to argue against those sub-concepts all you want, but you also have to be able to deal with the fact that a lot of people will either not want to change those sub-concepts or misunderstand what you're saying.

Well, it looks like there's another reason to avoid engrossing myself in Twitter.

TwistedEllipses:

For my international readers, in the U.S. "the C word" (which I understand to be common to the point of casual use in the UK) is for whatever reason considered to be just about the worst anti-female insult one can utter.

Wait, what?
Maybe I'm not representative of the U.K. but I'm pretty sure it's treated as the worst swear word over here too. I'm not sure where Bob got this impression...

...oh yeah, I forgot about Jim and Yahtzee. They undermine my point somewhat.

I think he went a bit ott saying it's near common usage. Think it's more my impression is places like the state's you will NOT hear it on the tv or in a public place. Where as in the UK it can be on tv after watershed, if you go to a busy pub, a sporting event, anywhere there is either a large gathering of lad's or alcohol being consumed you will probably hear it if you keep your ear out.

tbh I don't really get why people analyse too deeply into swear words, when I call one of my mates a "wanker" I'm not saying "oooooow look at this guy he enjoys a bit of masturbation, laugh at him for this fact!" I'm normally referring to them behaving like a prat or an idiot. To my understanding "Cunt" is more considered worse than say "twat" which carry the same literal meaning if i'm not mistaken because of its traditional affiliation to female prostitutes.

I think all words in the English language have their place (with a few exceptions ie. racial slurs which are best left in the past). An swear words shouldn't be offensive to the ear, only offensive if directed at you. For instance if I come out of my flat an someone has smashed up my Motorcycle for no reason what so every then think I would be justified in calling them a cunt in that situation lol, without if the person who did it is a woman being accused of being "sexist" and derogatory to women as a sex. Most people with any sense who use the word are not thinking that complex about it. I mean if we apply that logic no woman should be allowed to call anyone a dick.

((double post))

I think at the end of the day though words only hurt if you let them and allowing yourself to be hurt by them because society tells you that you should be more offended by certain words is just putting yourself in a place to be offended.
If someone says something stupid you don't like the correct response is to ignore them and not deal with them. Getting mad/sad over the opinion of random people is just going to make things worse for you in the long run. Certainly there are people in your life who's opinions you do care about but your choosing wrong if they are the type who sling abusive and malicious words at you all the time. Also insults are all about context. No word is inherently taboo on it's meaning alone.

Also the cultural taboo and hatred towards any form of insult the husband makes against the wife is not one of correcting male privilege but can be argued to fall under the same category of gender expectations where men aren't allowed to hit women but not the other way around. The assumption being that men are emotional/physically strong enough to endure any form of abuse where women are not. Mr Funk one could argue the perceived weight of the insult of calling your wife a bitch in an argument verses that of her calling you a dick might have nothing to do with privilege, but it could just be more to do with you are taught young not to insult women and she's taught to take offense at certain words. As is proper for your gender rolls in marriage :3

Could be wrong... really don't know. I feel like there is a lack of understanding seeing as I'm in a two female household verses that of a male and a female. Just trying to analyze logically I suppose.

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

In the US calling someone a dickhead is practically a compliment compared to calling a girl the c word. There's no comparison, one can barely be called a swear and the other could probably get you kicked out of a restaurant. Besides, calling a child "dickhead" is pretty inappropriate as well.

Good article. Thanks, by the way, for the acknowledgement that people overseas tend to be a LOT more relaxed about these kinds of things.

OMFG, they actually referred to a 9-year old girl as a c**t?! Wow. I mean there's being an asshole, and then there's being an ASSHOLE...

this is an interesting commentary on the RAZOR-THIN line comedy walks at all times. Comedy, despite what some people would like to believe, is a VERY calculated style and it must be done very carefully. Whoever wrote that on the Onion really should have thought "huh, is this a bit too far?" Comedy DOES exist to push boundaries, but it also must keep itself from being just mean-spirited

Someone calls my child a cunt....there will be blood. I find it amazing how many cowards hide behind anonymity, typing there little blurbs and quips. None of these people will say it in person just like none of you in the thread will call any decent parent's child a cunt or a dickhead while in their presence.

It's like basic human decency died at the advent of the internet...

knight steel:

Susan Arendt:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

If they had called a 9-year-old boy a "dickhead," the reaction would've been the same, I promise you.

Somehow I doubt that, maybe I'm wrong and I hope I am but still, just look at these forums many a time when discussing things such as FPS multiplayer you will see people insulting the 12 year old boys that play with such rude language yet we don't even blink.

Just because jaded, asshole gamers on xbox live believe that it's okay to say horrible things to children does not mean that it is generally socially acceptable. I guarantee that making fun of a little boy in the way that this little girl was made of would get the same kind of response. It's not about "double standards" between the sexes. It's that hurting children is not considered okay by anyone who is a decent human being.

I feel like it's been over a decade that I've been seeing the sentence "I can't tell the context of that thing the Onion said". It's like...The Onion, man. Anyway, I'll gladly back up their right to say something like this, but if you failed and people widely get pissed then you have to be grown up and make amends. It's not often that they apologize for an article, "news" piece, or anything...so good on them.

Mr_Terrific:
Someone calls my child a cunt....there will be blood. I find it amazing how many cowards hide behind anonymity, typing there little blurbs and quips. None of these people will say it in person just like none of you in the thread will call any decent parent's child a cunt or a dickhead while in their presence.

It's like basic human decency died at the advent of the internet...

At some point you gotta just not care what other people say that hardly effects you. You can't resort to threats of violence when people saying something you don't like/incredibly stupid. You should dislike it sure, but it's also a really nice indicator of a person you shouldn't associate or interact with anymore.

Just step back and ask yourself. Does what this person say really affect me or those I care about? 95% of the time the answer will be no, and you should just ignore the person. Easy enough.

I think after reading Bob's post (I don't really follow the Onion so I didn't know about it previously) it seems like the particular type of satire they were going for could've been funny, but the actual tweet was way to blunt to be properly understood as such.

Also there's really a double standard with "the c-word." I mean, reducing a person to their genitals? Isn't that what a "dick" is?

NightowlM:
Just because jaded, asshole gamers on xbox live believe that it's okay to say horrible things to children does not mean that it is generally socially acceptable. I guarantee that making fun of a little boy in the way that this little girl was made of would get the same kind of response. It's not about "double standards" between the sexes. It's that hurting children is not considered okay by anyone who is a decent human being.

I don't really think so, I mean if it's warranted, like a bunch of young boys defaced someone's house or something you'd hear them be called "little shits" or something along those lines.

rancher of monsters:

All kids are not innocent flowers, but that doesn't mean they've all been subjected to everything or thinks it's appropriate even if they say it. I probably didn't start using language like that until I was thirteen, and I went to school with kids who wouldn't say things like that for many more years if at all. I can tell you that if you had called me a dickhead or a cunt at the age of nine you probably would have seriously hurt my feelings, I was a sensitive kid in a family that didn't tolerate swearing. Does that mean there was something wrong with me? I don't think so, because as a person, especially an adult, communicating with or talking about another person you should have the empathy to understand or at least consider their experiences and, if you're an adult talking to/about a child, you should be able to scale your language to their level.

When I was younger we weren't allowed to say "stupid" and called it the "s-word," but when my younger sister who's only younger by six years went to elementary school, I would hear kids going around saying "fuck" like it's nothing so I mean, things change you know?

The only thing the Onion did wrong was their delivery of the joke. If they had done it as an actual article or video I'm sure it would have been funny. As a tweet it's not funny for a variety of reasons and that's the only thing a joke can do wrong.

OlasDAlmighty:

knight steel:
But don't we call young boys "dickheads" all the time yet cunt is unacceptable?
Don't get me wrong I hate it when any person demeans someone else and think the twitter is in the wrong.
Also the fact of her age shouldn't factor into it,insulting anyone should be looked down upon.
However I do find the double standard between swears interesting.

In the US calling someone a dickhead is practically a compliment compared to calling a girl the c word. There's no comparison, one can barely be called a swear and the other could probably get you kicked out of a restaurant. Besides, calling a child "dickhead" is pretty inappropriate as well.

And that's what I don't get both I insulting someone by referring to them as just their genitals's so why such the large difference in reaction's? Why has society decided the crude version of vagina is so much worse than the crude version of penis. Thus why I called it a double standard and said it was interesting-you have just pointed out out the exact same thing I was getting at.

NightowlM:

knight steel:

Susan Arendt:

If they had called a 9-year-old boy a "dickhead," the reaction would've been the same, I promise you.

Somehow I doubt that, maybe I'm wrong and I hope I am but still, just look at these forums many a time when discussing things such as FPS multiplayer you will see people insulting the 12 year old boys that play with such rude language yet we don't even blink.

Just because jaded, asshole gamers on xbox live believe that it's okay to say horrible things to children does not mean that it is generally socially acceptable. I guarantee that making fun of a little boy in the way that this little girl was made of would get the same kind of response. It's not about "double standards" between the sexes. It's that hurting children is not considered okay by anyone who is a decent human being.

Look at the above post I quoted, it's not just xbox live people, a large majority of society for some strange reason views the word "cunt" as more offensive and is why I think that if a boy was called "dick/cock" it would get a lesser response.

rancher of monsters:

My mistake, though I will say this about your response to Funk. You can talk about changing the standards of words, but you also have to accept that those words have their standards for a reason. Words are meant as a vehicle to communicate ideas and concepts and they often gather widely accepted sub-concepts amongst certain cultures. You're free to argue against those sub-concepts all you want, but you also have to be able to deal with the fact that a lot of people will either not want to change those sub-concepts or misunderstand what you're saying.

I know that that those words have their standards for a reason I just don't know what that reason is >_<
Also even if a lot of people will either not want to change those sub-concepts or misunderstand what I'm saying I have to at least try ^_^

ShadowKirby:

JaredXE:
Here's my question: Was she a cunt?

I ask this because honestly, if she behaved in a way that would classify her as a cunt, then in my opinion there is no problem saying it.

A) No she didn't.
B) SHE'S FUCKING 9! Do you make it an habit to go around insulting 9-year-olds?

So? 9 or 190 the Onion has never discriminated before. This apology honestly makes me incredibly depressed, the world is a worse place because they apologized for it. They didn't apologize for 9/11, they didn't apologize for their shooting jokes, but they apologize for language? If there's something that The Onion can't make a joke about I don't want to know about it, because it means we can't heal from it and it means we can't escape whatever tragedy it is.

Simply put it was not funny. She is a little kid so that is a fairly extreme insult for a little girl, and after the general shitfest that Seth McFarlane made with nothing but offensive humor it was not good timing.

Honestly this year's Oscar's was probably the worst in recent memory with seemingly no redeeming features. Just one long stream of racism, sexism and bad choices.

I call kids cunts all the time, because they often are behaving like little cunts. If a parent or someone overhears me and takes issue I retort with how I wouldn't call them a cunt if they weren't being a cunt then point out how they're being a cunt.

I would call boys dickheads but that has more syllables which doesn't have the right flow and the word cunt evokes more of someone doing something with no regard for other people whereas dickhead is more of a term for someone who annoys others because they think they're hot shit.

But it's America and folks there seem to really get up each other's cunts about the word cunt and start acting like cunts when someone says cunt.

It's an awesome word and is honestly not as bad or insulting as some folks get up in arms about.

I think it works because vaginas can be both awesome things one on day and in one scenario and horrible things on another day or in another scenario. Much like the word cunt; it's only as bad as how you're using it.

" Say whatever you like, but if what you say is hurtful or leads to actual harm be prepared for repercussions, be they legal or (preferably) in the form of shame and societal shunning by your peers. "

*Facepalm*

If saying something gets you punished by the justice system because it was mean (but not slander or something like that), then you don't have free speech. Free speech protects you from legal consequences from your speech, this includes civil courts. That's why slander is considered not to be free speech and someone trying to sue someone else for calling them a cunt would be laughed out of court.

Also can we please stop pretending that cunt is specifically an anti-female slur? I've seen it used (in the U.S.) against men quite a bit, and not to imply that they're feminine or that they resemble vaginas. I know he's Australia but Yahtzee uses it against men in that manner all the time.

Yeah...the severity of this is somewhat lost on me. Partly because it's The Onion, partly where I live it's not that big a deal of a swear and partly because I refer to my next door neighbours kids as cunts quite often.

Perhaps it would have been best to use the words, "little shit" in place of "cunt." Most of the younger children I have encountered can be quite irritable. I know I was horrid in elementary school (Primary school for non-Americans).

th3dark3rsh33p:

Mr_Terrific:
Someone calls my child a cunt....there will be blood. I find it amazing how many cowards hide behind anonymity, typing there little blurbs and quips. None of these people will say it in person just like none of you in the thread will call any decent parent's child a cunt or a dickhead while in their presence.

It's like basic human decency died at the advent of the internet...

At some point you gotta just not care what other people say that hardly effects you. You can't resort to threats of violence when people saying something you don't like/incredibly stupid. You should dislike it sure, but it's also a really nice indicator of a person you shouldn't associate or interact with anymore.

Just step back and ask yourself. Does what this person say really affect me or those I care about? 95% of the time the answer will be no, and you should just ignore the person. Easy enough.

No. YOU should sit back and allow someone to disrespect you or your family. Criticism is something you can step back and ask those questions, but calling a young girl a cunt is something else entirely.

I don't get what's supposed to be funny about calling a 9-year-old a cunt with a straight face. But then again, I don't really get straight-faced humour at all (which is why I stay far away from The Onion). If you're going to leave it up to me to decide if something is supposed to be funny or not, I'm going to err on the side of "not" and probably take offence.

Doesn't matter what they said. The kid (or, more importantly, her parents) have put her in the limelight. They forced her into the limelight, so anything that is said about her is the fault of the parents, not the media (or fake media in this case).

Was the joke funny? Not really. Nor is it something to get worked up about. More of the real media proving why outlets like the Onion are exactly right in how ridiculous they are.

I'm going to say that the joke doesn't work because only a small subset of the people who see it are going to have any idea what the flying fuck it's about. Honestly, until reading your explanation I didn't even realize it was supposed to be a joke, and I know I'm not the only one who occasionally checks out The Onion without following any of the sort of 'entertainment journalism' referred to in this article. Without that background, it just comes off as someone at The Onion deciding to be an asshole on company time. In light of that, a lot of the outrage is perfectly understandable.

What I do think is overblown is the uproar over the particular word used. Yes, it is a gendered insult, but so is every other name for human genitalia, male or female. No one is being uniquely victimized by being called a 'cunt' anymore than they are by the innumerable innumerable names for a penis which have come to be used in the same insulting capacity. 'Cunt' is only a "special" insult because certain people keep jumping through hoops to make it one, and if you really think its use is hurting people you'd be a lot better off trying to lift the taboo which gives it that power (this is the case with all 'bad words') than by trying to hide it away behind asterisks and wails of outrage (on a related note, I am acquainted with an author of erotic novels who is constantly bemoaning the emphasis which has recently been placed on 'cunt' as a pejorative because it is her favorite term for female genitalia).

So, at the end of the day, is this better or worse than when The Onion ran that "Man Raped to Death by Bear" article? The answer is 'worse', but only because I like bear puns.

Time to bring one of my favorite Youtubers into this:

He basically says what I'd like to say on the topic. But hey, I'm Australian, swearing to random people is pretty common (at least where I live).

I guess the joke about the C word being cancer isnt appropriate here. well, that and I cant think of something clever.

I get what bob is saying, but even if its for humour, I dont think you should refer to a 9 year old on her biggest day (as of now) in her life that. As much as the onion likes ot joke around, I think they woul have been better off not bothering. I mean, I know the onion likes to be humourous but she's fucking 9.

I dont know, i agree. I think it was dumb to do, and would have been better off left unsaid.

Thanks for a breath of sanity on this one, Bob. Yes, the joke failed. It was badly delivered, badly aimed, and just bad. But no, it wasn't an attempt to attack the girl. I agree, it would have worked better if they'd done something like a fake opinion piece by a gossip columnist saying over the top snarky things, so everyone would have got who they were satirizing (See George Washington's column entitled "I Thought We'd Have Flying Slaves By Now").

That said, they did a proper apology, not one of those "We're sorry if anyone was stupid enough to be offended" apologies so popular today. The joke may have been far from classy, but the editors actions afterwards were.

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