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Would my son get kicked off the flight for wearing this? – Just wondering if it is offensive in Germany

25 May Posted by in Culture, Language | 1 comment
Would my son get kicked off the flight for wearing this? – Just wondering if it is offensive in Germany
 
This past week, a woman missed her connecting flight on American Airlines because she was asked to change out of her shirt that said, “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d F*ck a Senator.” The airline deemed the shirt too offensive.

I’m not saying whether I agree or not, but it just reminded me of this children’s shirt that we received as a hand-me-down for Fynn.



tshirt_web


Last summer, I brought it with me on our family trip to Mexico.

And I was surprised when my dad (the man who curses at the drop of a hat) was taken aback; I would even say he was somehow offended by the shirt.

I thought it was odd that he gasped at the sight of the shirt and asked if Fynn would actually wear it. I mean, it’s not like it says the F word or anything on it.

But perhaps because of the whole “children shouldn’t curse” thing, my dad deemed it inappropriate.

Perhaps I have been living in Germany just long enough for English curse words to roll off my back… or perhaps I’ve just always been such a potty mouth that I am just desensitized.

Did I initially laugh when I saw the shirt?

You betcha.

But has Fynn actually worn the shirt? Nope. I’m too chicken.

The whole mother thing overrides my nonchalant (former) cursing thing, which means I am also not cursing in German.

The other thing this shirt reminds me of is discussing vacation destinations with Kay.

It’s interesting the destinations that Americans deem to be unsafe and destinations that are okay with Germans and vice versa.

This shirt came from Egypt, obviously. A destination where, for Americans, we are told isn’t the safest place to travel let alone for women to be traveling there alone.

Kay, on the other hand, found this statement to be ludicrous and insisted that it is a popular place for Germans to travel all the time.

Each time we discuss dream vacation spots, it’s interesting how each of us reacts based on our cultural upbringing and what we’ve been lead to believe.

It also takes some getting used to when Kay lists common German vacation spots versus common American locations.

Going to Mexico is common for Americans, yet you won’t find too many Germans there. Their equivalent might be going to the Canary Islands. (Another story for another time.) But what I once thought of as “foreign” and/or a very long flight to get there, is now just a stone’s throw away.

As for the t-shirt, I’m tempted to let Fynn run around the neighborhood with it on and see if the neighbors say anything.

Offensive in English? Yes.

Offensive in German? Hm?

We’re flying Air Berlin to the US, but I don’t think it’s worth taking the chance.


  1. Susanna Perkins05-26-12

    I have no idea whether the shirt is offensive in Germany or anywhere else — but I am appalled that someone can be denied boarding because somebody else doesn’t like the speech on their clothing. I mean, really? Have we (meaning the US) become that censorious and intolerant of differing viewpoints? Or have we bought into the fear mongering so much we’re incapable of telling the difference between political speech, snark, and terrorism?

    It makes me very sad that this question even needs asking.
    Susanna Perkins recently posted..Support Yourself Overseas as a Photographer — Even if You’ve Only Taken Casual Snapshots BeforeMy Profile

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