Catholic School Asks Female Students to Stop Cursing… but Not Male Students

Queen of Peace High School, a Catholic school in New Jersey, just instituted a “no cursing” pledge in an effort to curb foul language used by the students.

But only girls had to take it:

Female students… stood up during homeroom Friday, raised their right hands, and recited a pledge in unison.

“I do solemnly promise not to use profanities of any kind within the walls and properties of Queen of Peace High School. In other words, I swear not to swear. So help me God,” they said.

The same campaign does not encourage male students to participate, but administrators are suggesting the boys lessen their use of foul language in front of female students.

Lori Flynn, the teacher in charge of this campaign, said the goal is for the girls to “act more like ladies,” and the principal Brother Larry Lavallee agrees, adding that “girls have the foulest language.”

One of the male students quoted in an article explained that he just couldn’t help himself when it came to swearing:

“It’s unattractive when girls have potty mouths,” said Nicholas Recarte, 16.

A pitcher on the school’s baseball team, Recarte said he can’t help shouting obscenities from the mound after mishaps, and he didn’t expect that to change.

But he doesn’t have to take the pledge. Meanwhile, the same can’t be said about the girls who pitch for the softball team.

How’s that for hypocrisy?

Teachers said they hoped that if the girls focused on cleaning up their speech on campus for a month, their improved manners would take hold and rub off on the boys. They timed the initiative to Catholic Schools Week and the old-fashioned romance of Valentine’s Day, promising lollipops as rewards and handing out pins showing a red slash through a pair of pink lips.

Putting the potential behavior change of the boys on the success of the female students puts another weight on the girls who participate in the program. The school denies the existence of a double standard, even when it so obviously is there. This program promotes gender inequality like only the Catholic Church can.

I understand why schools may want to curb swearing, but to make a policy against it based on gender is ridiculous. This program (which I generally think is unnecessary because swearing happens and nobody fucking cares) should be an option to all students or no students. The wedge it places between male and female students enforces a gender hierarchy that should no longer exist.

About melanie

Melanie was raised a Methodist Midwestern girl who somehow ended up in Pennsylvania as an atheist Democrat. She studied Professional Writing with a minor in Sociology at York College of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2010. She lives for sushi, 90s one-hit-wonders, and celebrity gossip.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    As a woman, my response would have to be: “Fuck that noise.”

    • pagansister

      Perhaps “up yours!” ?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    What!?!?

    A Catholic institution has double standards where women must submit in ways not required of men?!?

    How shocking!! :-)

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      Also shocking that a Catholic institution is trying to control what people’s freedom of expression…. then again, nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    I’d like to be able to say that I am shocked or that this is able to raise some level of outrage with me, but the truth is I have long since come to regard the Catholic Church as world’s biggest bad joke in poor taste. I sincerely doubt there is anything they could do that would even get me to raise an eyebrow.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Uh… what if they, like came clean and outed (and ousted!) all the pedo priests?

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    As a man I guess I’m permitted to say fuck that shitload of shit from that fucked-up fucking bunch of fucking fuckers. That apparently falls within policy.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      God damn it, you beat me to it.

      .

      Shit.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      Damn, now I’m going to be singing “The Pope Song” all day.

  • jose

    But remember, male aggression is genetic and determined by evolution because of some mating bullshit and there’s nothing we can or should do about it.

    • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

      Boys will be boys and all that jazz.

  • Donatello

    What’s up with all those red noses? Either the school has the world’s shittiest photographer or the girls should get medical attention immediately.

    • JD929

      I think that is an artifact of using a phone camera. The image quality looks bad.

  • guest

    yep, I argued before that “behave like a lady” or “not lady-like” effectively means “shut up” so for all the girls who are not allowed to swear: what the fuck is going on at that goddamn bullshit school even”. there. you are welcome.

  • Carmelita Spats

    The RCC is a grotesque institution. Behaving like a lady entails more than cussing…It also means seeing a violent act of rape as a blessing if you happen to be the lucky gal who is stalked, raped and impregnated by a sadistic pervert…just like the Virgin Mary…Sick and disturbing stuff…

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html

    Fifty reasons to leave the Catholic Church:

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/50-reasons-boycott-catholic-church

  • Rain

    There is a loophole in the pledge. At the very end of the pledge it says “So help me God.” That means the school must prove the existence of God. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

    Oh for fuck’s sake!

  • Squeiss

    That “act more like ladies” thing. Ugh. We heard it a lot at my Catholic girls’ high school, to the point where the principal (a former nun) actually changed the sign out the front to read “n-ine Ladies College” (sic). As far as I could tell, being a lady means remembering your blazer and hat, standing up straight, never laughing or swearing, and being good at sports.

    • allein

      Good at sports? Running around getting all dirty and sweaty? That’s “ladylike” now? ;)

      • Squeiss

        It’s the main method of establishing hierarchy between all the Catholic girls’ schools in the city.

        • allein

          OK, then. (went to public school, not a sports fan.)

          • Squeiss

            I don’t hate sports. I hated wearing the ridiculous short skirt they made you wear on sports day. I joined the debating team.

            • LutherW

              What were you allowed to debate?

              • Squeiss

                Anything. They did not care enough about the debating team to notice.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    What the fuck is this crock of shit? Misogynistic assholes with brains the size of mosquitoes and ethics the size of gnats should have no say over the language and behavior of others!

  • allein

    How’s that for hypocrisy?

    Gotta learn ‘em young!

    And note to Mr. Baseball Pitcherman: It’s no more attractive when you guys do it.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Fuck. That.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    What the fuck? I really hate that anachronistic attitude, at least in my opinion, that girls should “act like ladies.” Also, I hate the fact that they are putting pressure on the girls and basically imply that if the boys don’t change it’s the girls’ fault. Boys will be boys is so misogynistic in this case.

    “It’s unattractive when girls have potty mouths,” said Nicholas Recarte, 16.

    Yeah, and I’m sure you look so attractive to women when you swear. What macho bull shit.

    • Lefty

      what 16 year old says “potty mouth?”

      • Raising_Rlyeh

        Either someone that is so sheltered that they actually use that phrase or someone that has been fed those lines by someone else.

  • LesterBallard

    Where are Garfunkel and Oates when you need them?

  • http://twitter.com/WoodwindsRock Emma

    “It’s unattractive when girls have potty mouths,” said Nicholas Recarte, 16.

    Oh, so when it comes to girls, it only matters that we’re attractive.

    At first when I read it I thought it was a staff member using that reasoning, which then I would have been furious. But still… Come on!

  • http://profiles.google.com/conticreative Marco Conti

    Hello XIX Century!

  • RowanVT

    I really like the inherent sexism by having a slash mark through the lips. It doesn’t look like ‘no swearing’, it looks like “women should not talk.”

    • ruth

      And pink! I am so fucking sick of fucking pink for the girls.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    that’s a pretty white whitey white skool there. but hey, who is surprised? this is the pedophile protection racket we’re talking about, where Real Christian men wear dresses and little boys are like candy. because, that’s what jeebus wants, and it’s in the buybull. or something.

  • L.Long

    they hoped that if the girls focused on cleaning up their speech
    on campus for a month, their improved manners would take hold and rub
    off on the boys…….

    So if the girls start wearing a better color lipstick, they will be hoping that the boys will start wearing a better color lipstick. makes sense to me.

    It is nice to know that the religidiots still don’t know the difference between cursing, swearing, and ‘bad language’. But what would you expect from dimwits that don’t know what a ‘theory’ is.

  • roberthughmclean

    They must sit around all day picking things to worry about and wondering how to imply naughty words and get away with it.

  • bruce the moose

    Not that it hasn’t already been said, but fuck that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

    So the girl are told to act like ladies, but the boys aren’t asked to act like gentlemen? Maybe this is really an attempt to keep the kids from dating until they’re out of high school, because those abstinence pledges work soooo well, you know?

  • bernardaB

    Hilarious, I swear not to swear, so help me god. The Bible only says not to take the Lord’s name in vain, which would seem to be the case here. So I suppose “goddamn” is prohibited, but I don’t remember the Bible saying anything about “shit”, “fuck”, “asshole” or such.

  • http://www.facebook.com/duzitickle Duzitickle Rawrz

    Ill bet the girls come up with alternative words to replace traditional swears. Like “fabulous day to you!”and maybe even “GODBLESSIT!”

    • Rapid Citian

      Exactly, it’s not the word, it’s the meaning behind it. Someone could say “Go bless yourself!” and I mean… it still the same meaning of “Go fuck yourself!”.

  • pagansister

    That is absolutely ridiculous, but no surprise, coming from a Catholic school. The RULE should apply to both the “ladies” and the “gentlemen”. I taught in a Catholic elementary school. Their was no swearing tolerated by either gender! AND they didn’t have to have the children “swear to not swear”—it was just understood.

  • Tainda

    Out with the flu last week and missed this story!

    My language is worse than a sailor and prison inmate combined. I wouldn’t last 5 minutes with that pledge. I do know when to turn it off though lol

    I hate double standards

  • http://twitter.com/Freemage69 Freemage

    And, of course, the lad’s quote about how he ‘just can’t help it’ demonstrates that he’s fully absorbed the underlying message of Catholic prudery–men are, at best, faux-civilized beasts who are incapable of controlling our impulses, and thus women must act as a refining influence, and if they don’t, well, it’s their fault, not ours.

  • Joy Morris

    Fuck that! Also what kind of culture do we live in where words that refer to sex are considered the worst swears?

  • bernardaB

    What is the definition of swearing, or cursing? In other words does the school have a list of words or phrases that are classed as swearing? It would certainly be longer than George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television.If there is no list, how are the girls going to know if they are swearing or not? If they use a “potty” word not on a list, do they still get punished? Suppose one says, “I have to urinate” or “I have to defecate”, is that OK? How about saying “I am having my period” or “I have a vaginal infection”? Then there are not even “potty” words like “Holy Cow”.

    Without a list or a word is not on it, who decides that a word they hear is a swear word? Is a girl punished for using a word that she didn’t know was a swear word? The list goes on. As Samuel Johnson said in response to some high society ladies who congratulated him on not including dirty words in his dictionary, “I congratulate you ladies for being able to look them up.”

  • katy

    As women we get to define what ‘lady like’ means, since it means nothing more than acting like a woman. Let’s make ‘lady like’ mean free and expressive and unoppressed by sexist institutions.

  • Georgina

    Having been brought up to believe that swearing is for those of a limited vocabulary, I have never really felt the need. However, as a rabid emancipationist, any form of gender apartheid or misogynistic activity disgusts me.
    In this case of course, the parents are to blame.

    Parents: If you must send your daughter to a catholic school, give her the tools to refuse to accept inequitable behaviour on the part of the role-models.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dee.hoffman.7 Dee Hoffman

    if smart, NO girl would attend a catholic school!


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