Playing nicely

English teachers are trying to ban sexist insults on the theory that “slag” and “slut” “lead to boys feeling superior to girls and make domestic violence seem more acceptable.” This is London reports:

The NUT lists unacceptable insults including “lezzie”, “pro” and “your mum’s a whore.”

While girls are included in the insult ban, the focus is on stamping out sexism, not on discouraging general nastiness.

A leaflet circulated to schools says: “Sexist language and playground banter that seeks to legitimise violence against women should be challenged.”

An NUT spokeswoman said: “Words like these promote the attitude that females are lesser beings, and as lesser beings they can become the target of violence. It doesn’t have to be physical violence to be mentally destroying. We need to nip that attitude in the bud and get kids to treat each other with respect.”

NUT stands for National Union of Teachers, by the way.

About Joanne


  1. ahobrien says:

    Doesn’t it seem likely that when teachers go out of their way to protect a certain class of pupils, it will reinforce the impression that this class of pupils is unable to protect itself?

  2. BadaBing says:

    28 years of teaching experience tells me that girls that treat themselves with respect get respect from others. Conversely, girls that come to school with hickeys, dress provocatively, use foul language, make out with boyfriends at lunch, and come to school with one in the oven often acquire labels appropos their behavior. Kids call ’em as they see ’em.

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Back in my day, a guy who insulted a girl got slugged.

  4. Reginleif says:

    Badabing: I’m guessing you’re male, because you seem to be totally unaware of the often vicious social/political games girls play. This book covers the subject fairly thoroughly, I’ve been told.

    Even if a girl doesn’t do any of the things you mention in your comment, it’s very easy for her to be labeled a “slut” based on rumors spread by insecure girls…or, sometimes, by insecure boys trying to boost their own reps for machismo by telling others that they’ve “done” that girl.

    Tellingly, you don’t seem to have any criticism for boys who come to school with hickeys, use foul language, make out with girlfriends at lunch, or knock up female students. I’d call them “sluts” as well, but too many people just shrug and say, “Boys will be boys.”