Awareness | Posted by Talia W on 05/14/2010
Females and Four-Letter Words
58% of women curse in public. Are you of that 58%? Is it a fact that you’re proud of, or a bad habit that you’re trying to kick? Cursing is something that should be avoided, and definitely by girls, because of the negative effects, double standard, and anti-feminist terms.
There are many negative effects of cursing. When you curse and people around you don’t, people may feel you’re unpleasant to be with and may become uncomfortable with you, which can endanger relationships. It’s commonly accepted that people who use bad words are ignorant, unimaginative, disrespectful, immature, whiny, offensive, and have nothing better to express themselves with. People will also assume that you have a bad attitude, lack of control, and little character if you curse. Society has deemed cursing as an unacceptable practice, and when you use bad words, you give off a bad impression.
While there are lots of negative effects of cursing, they will be doubly applied to girls. People often shrug it off or think slightly less of boys when they curse, but will usually be horrified at a girl with a potty mouth. How many times has a teacher or parent scolded you for cursing, and then let a boy or brother curse, criticism-free? “My brother can curse, but I get in trouble [for cursing] because I’m a girl. It [makes] me feel annoyed [that] things aren’t fair,” Hollie S. said. “Guys should not get away with this stuff!” Gila G. complained. I also know this from personal experience: there was a boy in class who cursed and the teacher never said anything, but a female friend of mine would curse and always got yelled at. Like, what? This is a double standard that is totally unacceptable! While it’s currently a fact of life, there’s no reason that it should continue to be so. Try to make people around you of this subtle form of discrimination, and make sure your brothers get yelled at when they curse, too!
You should definitely try to watch your mouth in general, but you should specifically make sure to avoid words that are derogatory to women. It shocks me when I hear girls calling fellow females words like slut, ho, b***h, etc., since it undermines everything that feminists have been working for. Such terms are used to keep women as a subservient class and inferior to men. When men use such language against women, they intend to intimidate them (and often succeed). “It [made] me feel so slight and small [when a boy cursed at me],” Ahuva M. said. “Once…a boy…cursed me and I was so dumbfounded…that I…tried to eradicate the scenario from my head!” Rena W. shared.
Because of my strong feelings against cursing, I created an organization called Bleep!, whose mission is to stop kids and teens from cursing. Bleep!’s mission is not to tell people that they can’t curse; everyone has the right of freedom of speech. Bleep!’s mission is to show people the negative effects of cursing and convince them to avoid bad language. So far, Bleep! has almost 500 members (some quoted above) in 22 states and ten countries. By becoming a member, you’re stating that you understand the negative effects of cursing, and you receive an optional monthly newsletter. To join, email email@example.com with your name, state/province, and email address. Bleep! also does programs with schools. If you would like to bring Bleep! and its message of clean speech to a school near you, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Check out Bleep!’s website at http://sites.google.com/site/bleeporganization for Bleep!’s general attitude towards cursing.
Is it an ironclad statement that people will think that you’re a bad person if you curse? No. Of course not. One of my best friends curses, and I don’t think she’s a bad person! However, the next time you hear a girl call her friend a b***h, what are you going to think of her?
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