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Dear Amy,

Why is it that the sexist word "bitch" can be used in offensive context on certain radio stations and television channels in certain time slots, while racist words cannot ever be used? I don't know if my observations are entirely accurate, but I have noticed the word "bitch" being used in a derogatory manner by one male character against another female character on my favorite television show, while racist terms are never used by a Caucasian character against a minority character during a conflict in the storyline.

I am not a great advocate of censorship, but I do want things to be fair. How can I address the issue of possibly banning the word "bitch" in a derogatory manner from public airwaves as other extremely offensive words rightly are?

Thank you for your time,



Lisa --

I actually think the moment might be right for you to pursue such a limitation -- there is a strong FCC crackdown happening right now and I think that stations feel vulnerable and therefore anyone telling them that this is offensive and it shouldn't happen is likely to be met with a greater response than it usually would. I would actually start by contact the FCC -- Federal Communications Commission -- and see what they can provide in terms of guidelines.

The race analogy is a good one, however, people don't seem to think they are the same thing -- they certainly feel that race is serious and sexism is just women being sensitive. Good luck,

- Amy