Friday, 28 November 2008

Clitoris - part of the body or dirty word?

I was surprised to read on the Independent Mind’s website yesterday that the word ‘clitoris’ is on a list of words banned from Google’s safe search option, but ‘penis’ and ‘scrotum’ both bring up millions of results.

As Catherine Townsend who wrote the piece says, clitoris isn’t a slang word, it’s the proper word for a sexual organ, and if penis and scrotum are deemed safe words then so too should clitoris. I have always been impressed by Google's ethical approach and sensible attitude towards sexual matters. I look forward to the director's response to find out just exactly when clitoris became a slang word. Yet another reminder of the continuing job we still have ahead of us to change people’s perceptions or make sure that we don't fall into age old stereotypes and prejudice.


Millie said...

Any news from google?

Simon Blake said...

not yet no!

Jake (of Facts and Friction) said...

There's been quite a lot of fuss on the internet over issues like this. Although there's always a handful proposing a theory the general consensus (I think) is that words like clitoris get added to the blacklist because of an over sensitive porn filter, or because they have a tendency to throw up pornographic results - something disproved by an unrestricted search (one of the top 5 pages was a UCL page with a 3D ultrasound of a clitoris - hardly pornographic!) for clitoris.

As an anatomical term and a rather brilliant thing hopefully this issue has been resolved, or will be soon :).

Simon Blake said...

see my later blog about the clitoris. I have now had contact from Google.