Yep, this post is about potty words, otherwise known as expletives, profanity, cursing, and swears. I’m writing this because I am perplexed by this form of language and how it fits in with our culture. Or my culture. The traditional definition of a swear is “offensive language, esp. as an expression of anger.” This is sometimes true, but swearing is now used to help express many different things, not just anger.
As a young adult I had a bit of a potty mouth. I swore around my friends, but never around my parents or my bosses. I was raised in a household where swearing was not tolerated. Once I became a parent, I kicked the potty mouth habit and managed to eliminate swearing altogether. Well, at least when around others. Somehow it has hung on in my own private space, particularly when experiencing printer problems. My office has been privy to all sorts of profanity against those #@%#$ printers.
So here’s the rub. Swearing is everywhere now. It’s on TV. It’s in the movies… and btw, when did the f-word become acceptable in PG-13 movies? It’s in the kids music. It’s commonplace at the office. I hear it almost every time I’m out in a crowd. Many of my kids friends swear and I see it often on Facebook. Some of my favorite blog posts have expletives sprinkled throughout and are usually strategically placed to add that little punch to the humor or emotion of the post. And actually, it works.
So why do I cringe when swears are spoken around my 13 & 16 year old kids when they hear them all the time? The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when my son listens to J. Cole music. He argues that a swear word is nothing more than a word, why do I make a big deal of it? In his teenage opinion, the only thing that gives cursing the power of being offensive is the fact that people like me treat the words differently than other words. And if this is true, have I wasted all those years of wiping it out of my vocabulary? Am I a hypocrite because I swear in private? A closet swearer?
So, what are the rules? When and with whom does swearing become acceptable? Is there a certain age? Like a drinking age? I’m guessing that most people might be a little surprised if a 4 year old dropped the f-bomb? My 16 year old has tried to swear in front of me and has gotten a earful. Am I overreacting? Am I giving profanity too much power? What do you think?
Thank you for reading!
Red Barn Artworks… A small company with a big passion to create meaningful art from everyday photos.
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Red Barn Artworks... A small company with a big passion to create meaningful art from everyday photos.