Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Huh, huh, huh….he said boobies…huh, huh, huh

I’m not kidding, I didn’t know this was a big deal until I first saw a post on Twitter by @mooresclassroom, then I read an article in the Sacramento Bee, and then I noticed it on boys in my classroom.

Yep.  I ♥ Boobies.

In a trend that kids tell me has been going on for a few months, students (primarily males) are showing up to school with the little rubber bracelets that say, in huge font, “I ♥ Boobies!”.  This isn’t necessarily jiving with certain educational and administrative authorities, who have now moved to remove the “offensive” bracelets from the classroom.  A few incidents have included student suspensions, including one from Rocklin, California where a student was suspended for refusing to give the principal the bracelet.  At school today, I noticed that about a half dozen of my students (all male) were sporting the boob bracelets, all insisting that it was to support breast cancer awareness.  We talked about it briefly.  But the students were much more interested in the Koran burning, the recent employment numbers, and the upcoming football game against Casa Grande High School (Petaluma).  Boobies was a non-starter.

Let’s be really frank about two issues.  First of all, your child probably doesn’t wear the bracelet to give light to the fight against breast cancer.  He’s 16 (or 18 in my classroom), and his group of friends didn’t all of the sudden gain a massive dose of social concern regarding cancer awareness.  Neither did they all of the sudden grow out of the fact that they are teenagers.  Boobs are still fun.  I was reading message boards and news stories that contained parents that were enraged at a school’s guts to say that the bracelets were more of a fashion statement than real awareness.  Sure, and your kids never had an immature or horny thought in their lives.  Is it me or do adolescent males enjoy dick and fart jokes, even in high school?  Hell, I still love good dick and fart jokes.

And so do you Mr./Ms. Hypocrite.  Blazing Saddles and Airplane anyone?

The second issue is that the bracelets really are being overblown.  If they sit on a person’s wrist in class and are not being a distraction, why create one?  We aren’t talking about a shirt that says “Fuck Y’all, I’m from Texas” (yes, I had one), we’re talking about an immature little thing that only brings about problems that we bring upon ourselves.  I didn’t even know they were on the wrists of my seniors until I actively looked.  And then the conversation moved on.  And when we are in a classroom, especially at the high school level, do we really want to foster an attitude that screams about making the teacher totally comfortable.  I mean, the Rocklin teacher said she was offended by the bracelet and that was why the student was sent out.  Really?  The idea of “offensive” gets dicey in my view, that is, if we are really teaching something to students regarding the view of “right” and “wrong”.  I think Dodgers hats are offensive.  I think t-shirts with Toby Keith pictures are offensive.  I think anything advocating someone’s johnson is offensive.  But we really are a society where you can change the channel, look the other way, and move on.  Is this really a battle teachers want to fight?  I ♥ Boobies?

I think that Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon.com has an excellent analysis regarding the whole issue.  People that have actually gone through the death of a loved one due to cancer have a perspective that is often overlooked.  The simplicity of the ad-campaign is what’s disturbing, and the makers of the bands should get more criticism for that.

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