Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is The Term "Sissies," Offensive?

Decide for yourself.

Yale administrators are catching heat from a civil liberties group for last month's flap over the word "sissies," which was pulled at the 11th hour from a T-shirt designed for the Harvard-Yale football game.
Greg Lukianoff, president of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, penned a column for The Huffington Post on Monday chastising the administration for urging the freshman class council to nix the shirt, which would have displayed an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote
-- "I think of all Harvard men as sissies" -- on the front in bold white letters and "WE AGREE" on the back.
"A couple of Yale administrators decided that the word 'sissies' was too offensive because some people interpreted it as a slur against gay men," Lukianoff wrote. "This was news to the Yale freshmen who, like me, see 'sissies' as being funny primarily because it is such a ridiculous,silly, old-fashioned put-down, somewhere between 'cad' and 'toots' as far as insults go.
Lukianoff praised the anti-Harvard shirt as having some literary merit, but Yale's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community called it offensive and demeaning, according to the Yale Daily News.
Adam Kissel, director of FIRE's Individual Rights Defense Program and a 1994 Harvard graduate, sent a letter to Yale President Richard Levin on Dec. 18 rebuking the school for not respecting freedom of expression.
He urged Levin to respond by Jan. 12 2010 -- marking the Harvard-Yale hockey game -- with assurances that Yale will no longer seek to censor "the unmentionable."
"If these Yale administrators have a problem with the word 'sisses,' they've got to have a problem with the cheers that get said at hockey games," said Kissel, the one-time drillmaster for the Harvard band who was responsible for writing the half-time shows.

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