What About Butts?

Why is it inappropriate to talk about butts in public?
baby got backI keep telling my kids this and I realized that I don’t have a clue what makes it tasteless. I know it isn’t socially acceptable, but I don’t know why.

It is like curse words, except I just tell the kids that they can say those when they are 18. They aren’t bad words. They are grown up words.

Secretly I am starting to believe that it would be completely proper to talk about butts in mixed company if four year olds were not so obsessed with butts and pooping that parents all over the place have to forbid any more use of either word.

That being said, I’ve had to outlaw the phrases “fancy getup”, “Wylie Dufrense” and the spelling of the word ass due to ceaseless repetition.

Now really, be as honest and thorough as possible in your answers as I will use these as a parenting tool.

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  1. Here is what we did. We haven’t disallowed the use of any words. We talk about context a lot and how certain words are inappropriate or make people feel uncomfortable. (Including F-words.)
    Oddly it seems to have worked.

  2. i say tell them people who are uptight don’t like to talk about butts because they are avoiding their humanity, cause that’s where the poo comes out. And them teach them to ask people who object to their butt-talk if it’s true or not.

    see why i don’t have kids yet?
    clearly.

  3. one missing comma and a couple typos. god i rock.

  4. sueinithaca says:

    I dunno either. We’ve made a rule for our potty-talker (the 5y/o girl is not a potty-talker. the 3 y/o boy *is* go figure, right?): No potty talk in front of grown-ups who haven’t authorized it or children who are younger than you.

    So, he’s not really allowed to potty talk (including butt jokes, etc) in front of his Daddy, because that kind of thing makes Daddy stabby, mostly because it’s perpetrated at the dinner table during a time of day in which Daddy would like to pretend that he’s Cliff Huxtable or some other tv dad whose kiddos are well-mannered and eat the food which is put in front of them. Being a “good wife” I help him prolong this fantasy for as long as possible each day. Usually that means 5-10 minutes if we’re lucky and the kids are hiding from us. But he is allowed to potty talk in front of me, because I don’t give a shit. Babysitter A: nope. babysitter B: go for it. I tell myself I’m teaching my kids to understand the nuances of social expectations.

    As for curse words, the kids are allowed to appropriately use them. If the girl drops something heavy on her foot, she may (and does) say SHIT! GODDAMNIT! But she may not use them directed at people “She looks like shit” “You’re an asshole” “goddamn you!” etc are not permitted. This is because I live in a fantasy world wherein I’m teaching my kids to communicate effectively and respectfully, even during heated disagreements. Ha! Please, let me stay here. It’s nice.

  5. Well, my husband thinks nothing of bragging about how funny and creative our kids are, and his first example is always “show ’em the butt hug” – son can’t help ya there. My rule is no potty talk at grandma and grandpas.

  6. It is sad that some words just can’t be used especially when there is nothing else that can replace it it.

  7. context. Are they talking about other people’s butts? being explicit about their own? Do they know who Sir Mix-A-Lot is?

    When one of my kids says their butt itches in public, that’s alright. When they say “What’s wrong with her butt?” kind of loudly at the store, it’s a problem.

    Butt as a word isn’t so much the issue as it is dealing with what is a “private area” on the body.

  8. Maybe because when kids talk about butts (At least the kids I know), they are talking about poop and farts. And some people find that gross?

    I still laugh when my niece and nephew make butt/fart/poop jokes. I’m not a good influence, clearly.

  9. We aren’t supposed to allow our kids to talk about butts and poop? Huh. Never occurred to me. Of course, I have a 3 year old girl who tells me (and everyone else) that she poops in the potty but her brother (the 8 month old boy) poops up his back.

    Seeing as one of my favorite phrases is “Sheyah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt” I’m probably not the right person to ask to comment.

  10. OK since Sir Mix-a-Lot has been covered, I have little to say here but … I think we’re just lucky that our kids didn’t decide to share all their detailed knowledge of their anatomy with the world at a very young age. We had the conversation pretty much daily about what is appropriate to talk about with family and how that might not be appropriate to talk about with anybody else …

  11. I have no idea either. It’s one of those things adults says. I’m not sure when exactly I became that adult, but I know I am.

    Then again, I’ve talked about poop in public more in the last 8.5 years than anyone ever should. Wonder why that is more acceptable than butts?

  12. I kinda think butt/poop/fart talk is ok to a point. Butts and farts are funny, I don’t know who says they aren’t. When my girls get carried away with it, then I put an end to it. At that point they’re just being gross and/or seeing how many times they can say fart. Kinda funny, I giggle later, but I understand it could be seen as inappropriate outside of our home. I dunno if they get it…but I think there are bigger things to worry about than butt talk.

  13. I laugh most of the time. I also explain that some people may get offended. When they ask why I tell them I have no idea & some people get offended too easily.

  14. smartaleck says:

    How about you just teach them that if the person reads your blog, they’re safe territory, but if he or she is too uptight to do that, then we must stick to polite tea and crumpets talk?
    (and THAT’S where the “fancy getup” phrase belongs–with the tea and crumpets crowd)

    I do have this urge to either sing Baby Got Back really loud or compliment someone on their fancy getup, but I’m in public and don’t want the men in white coats to get me…

  15. I was walking with a friend when I recognised a woman running in our direction, I noticed her because she was dressed like a lot of (in shape) women exercising with only a spots bra and short running shorts. Only she was REALLY pregnant. She stopped to say hi and when we were on our way my friend said “I just don’t think that’s right” And I have no idea why she thought that was inaproprate. I’ve also gotten repremanded by women i bearly knew for mentioning I might be ovulating (in a group on women)
    If people think butts are inapropriate then why don’t they just have theirs removed?

  16. We are on the Nat train. We try not to cuss in front of Declan, but he has heard words – we have explained what they mean, and what the consequences are – he will offend people, he will get in trouble at school, he doesn;t yet understand the full meaning of the word so why uise them? etc.

    As far as BUTTS, to me that is different than cursing, if we are talking about our bodies. Our bodies are OK to talk about as long as we are being polite. I think the curbing of that behavior needs to come in when kids get fixated with BUTT or WEINER or FART or whatever for a reaction cause they like gross words.

    Have I mentioned Declan is 7 and just tweeted out YOU FARTED from Bryan’s Twitter account?

    Whole nuther post.

  17. You should teach them to precede all questionable words with an article: “Mr. Butts.” “Sir Poop.” “Madame Shitz.”

    Proper words are always in good taste.

  18. By the way. I am not on your blogroll. YOU BUTT.

  19. When I saw this on the side bar – I knew it was you. Sarah, have you forgotten – butts are always funny.

  20. Good question. My only answer is when you start talking about butts, poop and pee, and weinies will follow. Which is only funny for the first week or so.

  21. I’m more put out by Ada saying I have a fat belly than her talking about butts.

    When Ada started using the word crap (as in “move your crap out of this room”) we told her that some people don’t like that word, so she should not use it outside the house. I guess it is the same for people who are opposed to talking about butts (maybe because poop comes out of them?).

  22. Apryl's Antics says:

    I make the rules, but they don’t listen. I’m no help. I just spent a good chunk of my last weekend relentlessly admonishing the butt/fart/poop/smelly armpit talk in front of the visiting grandparents. These grandparents, by the way, were fashioned in the 50’s and put under glass to protect them from social modernization. Turns out my kids just considered it a challenge. But, honestly, these grandparents also have a problem with bare feet in the house and the term “belly button”. More often than not *I* feel like telling them to kiss my butt.

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