The Problem with Phallic Play-Doh

Play doh toys

In yet another example of how categorization matters, consider the latest controversy in children’s playthings: Hasbro Corp., maker of the famous Play-Doh brand modeling clay, recently released a Play-Doh set featuring a clay extruder that looks astonishingly like a penis. Hasbro has apologized to consumers offended by the shape of the extruder and has promised a replacement that’s, shall we say, less anatomically correct. Continue reading “The Problem with Phallic Play-Doh”

Out of the Mouths of Sailors: Cussing and the Power of the Selective Double Standard


Photo credit: Joshua Eirton

I distinctly remember the day in fifth grade when I was chastised by my peers for not knowing the proper litany of cuss words that, apparently, all fifth graders know. I was the teacher’s pet type who wouldn’t have used those words had I even known them (oh, how things have changed!), but I distinctly remember that my ignorance made me feel babyish and unsophisticated. Of course, I didn’t have the wherewithal at the time to recognize that fifth graders are not usually the standard bearers of maturity and style, but the fact that I could not engage in a secret barter of offensive terms made it clear that my chance at becoming one of the cool kids was being jeopardized by the minute. Another particularly ominous sign came by the sixth grade, the year that I proved that I was inadequately equipped to flip someone off. When I tried, my middle finger simply didn’t look as offensive and foreboding (or, strangely, straight) as the fingers of my peers. In retrospect, only my Reebok high tops saved me. Continue reading “Out of the Mouths of Sailors: Cussing and the Power of the Selective Double Standard”