Toddlers have been told to stop making a “diamond” star sign while singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in case the gesture is misinterpreted as sign language representing a female body part.
Staff at the Sure Start centre in Acomb, York, were accused of an “overreaction” for stopping the children making the symbol for fear of offending people. A disgruntled mother said: “It seems a little politically correct. These are innocent little children just making a sign to show a star.
“No one would give it a second thought. Now every parent may worry their child may be making an offensive gesture when they’re singing this song.”
Staff members had been on a course to learn Makaton sign language – a system used by about 100,000 people in Britain that assists people with communication difficulties and shares many signs with British Sign Language, which is used by deaf people.
In both, the sign for female genitalia is an inverted diamond made with a thumb and forefinger, held in front of the crotch.
During the singing of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, children will usually hold their hands high in an upright diamond as they sing the lines “like a diamond in the sky”…
However, a spokeswoman for City of York council, which runs the Sure Start mother and toddler group, said it was “a sensible decision taken to prevent deaf children or deaf parents being offended by the use of the gesture”.
Given the season, the sensibilities and sense of humor of most folks – I hope there will be appropriate gestures made at the next public meetings of the City of York Council. Helping Council members to know how people evaluate their fitness to represent anyone with more than half a brain.
Probably something sturdier than this :)
Talk about a sensitive mission: The Army is experimenting with heavy silk underwear to find a way to protect soldiers’ groins and abdomens from bombs that they step on in Afghanistan, where militants have been planting improvised explosive devices by the thousands.
Protection of troops’ lower bodies has become a priority in the past year as more soldiers and Marines patrol on foot to push out Taliban fighters and protect villagers, the Pentagon says.
“A modest amount of protection can make a big difference in men being able to depart the battlefield intact,” says Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute…
The Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center is experimenting with garments that protect a crotch and abdomen, says Col. William Cole, Army program manager for soldier protection and individual equipment.
Among the items are heavy silk underwear that might mitigate some wounds, General Peter Fuller says. Thompson says silk makes sense for protection. It is strong and dense and could provide some protection from a blast.
Weight and comfort of protection, however, are concerns for soldiers who already wear body armor and haul weapons and ammunition, Cole says.
Seems to me silk would be pretty comfy – even heavyweight. Got to be better than long john woolies.
All the years I spent hiking and hillwalking, silk underwear was frequently used as a comfort layer between me and the heavy scratchy stuff.