language

About women swearing..... for what it's worth I think we should not put a lot of importance on if a woman says the “F” word. I know that some find swear words offensive and they think it shows a lack of intellect. It seems they find it particularly offensive if a woman swears. I wonder, why? I swear quite freely because I'm an adult and I can do what I want. They are words just like any other word. They have meaning and they have a message and just like any other word, context matters.

According to the MacMillan Dictionary the ‘F” word is: 

an extremely offensive expression used for showing anger or surprise. Impolite and offensive expression used when annoyed or angry.

Could I use: admonish, berate, darn, damn, denunciate, drat, fulminate against, heck, object to, reprehend, reprove, scold, shoot, upbraid, rake over the coals, take to task, tongue lash?

Sure, I could use a plethora of different words to express anger. In some social circles I could say, “I’m annoyed, enraged, exasperated, furious, indignant, irate, offended, outraged, cross, displeased, piqued, or vexed.” I wonder how that would go......?

Dear Mr. President,

I am quite vexed that you clutch the genitalia of women. I reprehend this activity and formally request that you cease.

That doesn’t quite have the same impact as,

Hey, King of Misogyny,

Stop fucking grabbing women’s pussies!

Which phrase is going to garner the most affect? Which phrase is more memorable? Which phrase may be laughed at? I can just imagine the response from an arrogant, misanthrope; “Oh, you want me to stop because you are vexed? Oh, how tough you are! I’m so afraid of you.”

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Sometimes we need to be loud and even offensive. By using fancy, quaint, intellectual words we can actually appear to be weak quarry cowering in our high heels. Being instructed that ‘ladies’ don’t use swear words, aren’t we being directed how to speak? Isn’t it just another way of being commanded what to do by patriarchs?

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Do I want to hear swearing everywhere? In offices, social events, political speeches or family gatherings? No, I don’t. I would not be impressed if the president swore during her/his inaugural speech. Certainly, there are times when we should offer polite speech. We should endeavor to use excellent grammar and spelling skills as we have been taught. Our children should refrain from using explicative words and practice using alternative words and being familiar with a thesaurus. Striving for speech that is friendly, calm, rational and intelligent should be our goal. Living respectfully with our family and neighbors is the goal.

We, women, gave up being told what to wear by society. Women have fought hard to choose a profession not dictated to by the male culture. We battled to get the vote. In 2019 we still have issues like, equal pay and equal opportunity to fight for, let’s not make the words we choose to use an issue when there are so many other critical concerns that need our attention.

Sometimes, in the march towards fairness and equality we are going to have to get loud and forceful. When being polite and playing nice does not achieve the goals of justice and equal opportunity then we need to push harder. When we are talked over and ignored we need to speak up. When the answer of ‘no’ is ignored, we need to force our voices. Ridiculing or castigating a woman because she calls a spade a spade or a motherfucker a motherfucker is simply another tool in the patriarchy tool box to quiet women’s voices. 

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In the rush hour traffic jam that is life, sometimes we need a horn or siren to move forward in an emergency. If the current state of affairs is not an emergency then I need to go to my thesaurus and dictionary and look up emergency. I will be polite and I will be thoughtful if I am listened to and recognized as an equal voice. If I am mocked for dancing, the style of my hat or wearing a pants suits instead of my message being heard then I will get louder and I will swear. If you don’t want to be part of the goal of equality and fairness then get the fuck out of the way.

Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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