Swear-shaming: Worse than Swearing
Posted on August 31, 2014
But maybe you don’t. I don’t preach the gospel of swearing. I don’t vilify non-swearers. I don’t want anyone who doesn’t think in “swears” to talk or write in “swears.” But I do encourage everyone to let their unique expression through. It doesn’t require swearing. And it certainly doesn’t require not swearing.
For the eight months I’ve been writing this blog, well-meaning people have been suggesting that I axe the f-bombs and other swear-drops. From them, I have compiled the seven main arguments presented against swearing:
- Swearing is mean.
- Swearing shows a lack of creativity.
- Swearing is not classy.
- Swearing is not attractive on a woman.
- Swearing is a sin.
- Swearing is just trying to sound like you’re 20-something.
- Swear words have wholesome substitutes.
Before I present my responses, I shall prepare you. Trust me on this.
So, after hearing repeatedly that I was mean, uncreative, not classy, unattractive, sinful, a 20-wannabe, and unwholesome, I got kinda down on myself. Luckily, that little voice in me – you know, my conscience – kept saying, “Mary, you know that not swearing is wrong.” But why? Why, dear conscience, must you hold me to this high standard?
Here’s a message from a friend I got yesterday, who read an inspirational meme of mine on Facebook that had an f-bomb in it:
“I love that I have a chum who says ‘fuck’ as much as I do. Have a great fucking day!”
For now, forget any ideas you have about why people swear or how inappropriate swearing is. Now hear this: if it’s connecting, do it. If it’s separating, don’t. Yes, it applies to everything, so yeah, swearing. Hell, that’s why this blog exists. For swears. Kind of. (PSA: “Real is the new good” means putting an end to conditioned reactions based in a flawed moralistic idea of “good” that is separating, and choosing truly connecting actions instead of moralistic good ones.)
But it ain’t easy applying this Rule of Real when it comes to swearing. It’s so not easy that I have to do more than one blog on this shit. Like, what about when you know swearing offends someone, and a swear word comes to you as an intrinsic part of conveying an idea true to its origin? Or what about those habitual swearers who drop five f-bombs in one sentence? And is anyone even using swearing to “take the name of [the divine] in vain” anyway? Whatever baffles you about swearing – I’m gonna field it, baby. Throw it at me in the comments. Let’s see how many blogs we can get outta the crucial topic of bad words.
Personally, here’s where I’m at with swearing on my blog:
Before assigning a thought to be polite or impolite, coarse or clean, nice or mean – the thought I’m having is the closest thing to the feeling I am trying to communicate – it’s pure. Yeah, pure.
Before assigning a thought to be polite or impolite, coarse or clean, nice or mean – the thought I’m having is the closest thing to the feeling I am trying to communicate – it’s pure. Yeah, pure. Unadulterated expression, from a very connected place. And when I am in that place of connection in me, and I share that place with you… namaste, anyone? Yeah. I did just use the word “namaste” to justify swearing. See you at your next namaste, bitches!
And now, I present me, in all my purity, as I respond to the cases against swearing.
Disclaimer #14: Using swears for humor can work in the spirit of connection, especially as irony, but it’s always a fine line, a risky one, highly dependent on your audience, and can result in separation. I’m gonna do it anyway. Bitches, I ain’t 100% connecting! (I’m 100% human, though.)
Swearing is mean.
What the fuck? So easy. Angry swearing, calling other people angry swear word names – yeah, that’s mean. Even “What the fuck?” is mean, people. It’s me dissing on someone’s reasoning. It’s me judging that fucker. But what about when my friend – who is fighting to make public education effective for more than the median kid – achieves a small gain (hey, it could happen) and I say, “That’s fuckin’ awesome!”? My bitch and I be all connected then.
Swearing shows a lack of creativity.
What the fuck? Like swear words have no distinct meaning? Like in place of a definition, there is a vacuum? Lemme try one.
Bitch: someone you have solidarity with who is pretty badass but sometimes needs shaking up. Oops, censor “badass.” Replace it with “pretty adventure-taking rebellious in an admirable way.”
Damn. That ain’t no vacuum. Wait – swear words are words?
Ernest Hemingway made the case for efficiency of words as a tenet of good writing, of clearly delivering what comes from your origin – your originality. Do it simply, choose the most representative words, and don’t flower it up. So. Do I say “people I have solidarity with who are pretty adventure-taking rebellious in an admirable way but sometimes need shaking up,” or do I say, “bitches”?
Swearing is not classy.
What the fuck? That is so offensive. I’m supposed to aspire to be in a high class with a buncha people beneath me that are considered less worthy of shit? Us and them, haves and have-nots? Da-amn. I have always had a problem with the word classy. Stop using it. It puts all swear words to shame.
Swearing is not attractive on a woman.
What. The. FUCK?!? Attractive? ATTRACTIVE?!? Is that what I’m here for? To do attractive things? To only speak in words that reinforce my desirability? To act as (missionary position) doable as possible? I choose expressing me over you repressing me. In other words, I choose doing my own thing over doing/not doing whatever might make you want to do me. Done.
Swearing is a sin.
What the eff? Okay, so I was raised Catholic, and yes, I was taught to confess each and every swear word. (I didn’t and don’t use swear words to slam the divine, by the way – like, who does?) So, connecting or separating? Since I was afraid of God “up there” tallying my sins so “he” could impose the proper sentence on me – pretty separating. I mean, if you have a concept of the divine, what is that concept if not the perfection of 100% connection? Where does judgmental separation fit in? The idea of the divine advocating separation – in one’s self, among humanity, or between one’s self and the divine – is the result of some pretty significant conditioning about the moralistic good. (Yes. A blog on swearing just got me to wax all spiritual.)
Swearing is just trying to sound like you’re 20-something.
Yeah. Because swearing stops at the age of 20-whatever.
And really – holy shit I better not sound like I’m 20-something. My understanding of this Real shit in my 20’s was way off mark. For me to read back then the shit I write about here would’ve required 3 diet Pepsis and the promise of some Captain Morgan’s later just to get through it. Oh – and a shit-ton of “I already get this shit!” and “I don’t need to read this shit!” and “I am the shit!”
Swear words have wholesome substitutes.
Gosh darn it they do, don’t they? Heck yeah! Someone changed a few freakin’ letters in swear words and now nobody’ll have to be mean or uncreative or not classy or unattractive or sinful or a 20-wannabe or unwholesome! Aw fudge – I said too dang much! Enough of this crap! Bye, female dogs!