Out of Control Policy Blog

Ban Wagon--"bitch" and "ho" edition

    The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch.

    The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates "a paradigm of shame and indignity" for all women.

Nineteen of 59 council members have signed onto the law, which would also "ban" the use of "ho." But would this affect dog show aficionados (or those who just like to snicker when refined announcers talk about female dogs)?

    "We'd be grandfathered in, I would think," said David Frei, who has been a host of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York since 1990. The word is a formal canine label that appears on the competition's official materials. But Mr. Frei said he worried about the word's impact on some viewers, especially younger ones.

Much of the article discusses how these naughty words have become quite prevalent, even in some unexpected circles. No surprise to hear them from hip hoppers, but council members?

    And Ms. Mealy admitted that the city's political ruling class can be guilty of its use. As she circulated her proposal, she said, "even council members are saying that they use it to their wives."

Sort of interesting that that line hangs there in the NYT article, without further exploration.

Could also file this under the ongoing Singaporization of New York. (You know, Councilwoman Mealy, gum-chewing has plenty of antisocial consequences.)

Related
: Ban Wagon--trans fat edition; national pastime edition; royal family edition; distracted driving--and walking--editions; and of course smoking.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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