The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119441   Message #2590905
Posted By: Marje
17-Mar-09 - 08:34 AM
Thread Name: Homophobia in Playground Rhymes
Subject: RE: Homophobia in Playground Rhymes
I don't think it's surprising that children chant verses that might be offensive to adults - that's very much the point of doing it. Children are trying to make sense of adult sexuality. They can't help but be aware of jokes and innuendoes about various sexual practices, including homosexuality, cross-dressing, paedophilia etc. By sharing such rhymes and jokes, they exchange information and views (albeit misleading or twisted) about what adults get up to, and what it is that makes sex "rude". Taboos are endlessly fascinating.

It's not just homosexuality that intrigues them. The very idea of sex is a bit bewildering to many children, and they can't understand why it's so important to adults. Kids also go through a phase of being preoccupied with toilets, bottoms and excretory functions, which are much more interesting to many of them, and may seem to them to be connected with sex in some vague way that they don't understand.

So I wouldn't get too concerned about children being "homophobic" - they're just testing the water, trying to see what reaction they get from expressing various ideas.

It's up to the adults in their lives to have a word with them if they seem to be getting obsessed with particular aspects of sexuality. I remember seeing two brothers playing together. The little one (aged maybe 3) picked up his sister's doll and cradled it. His older brother said, "Yah, poofter!" This was the point at which a parent ought to have said something (alas, I have to report that no one did).

Oh, and for US readers: yes, British "knickers" (aka pants, which are NOT outer garments) are what you call panties, and a "zip" is what you call a zipper (we don't have "zip codes, you see).

How much can we say in this thread before some filter kicks in and blocks these posts?!!