February 12, 2014

Lady Swearing

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****There are some swears in this post, since it’s a post about swearing. I put it under the fold.****

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Have you heard of the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You? I just discovered it myself this week. Cristen and Caroline look at interesting pop culture topics with an emphasis on gender, particularly the female gender. The one I listened to this week was The Curse of Swearing Women, which discussed the differences between men and women swearing and how culture perceives women who swear.

The whole discussion made me think about how and why I swear. I don’t swear a whole lot. I’m not a prude. I love a filthy joke and swearing doesn’t bother me except under some circumstances. I grew up in a mining town where cursing was common, though my parents didn’t curse around their kids. One of the reasons I don’t swear often in public is because of some of the bizarre reactions I’ve gotten from people who’ve heard me swear. I must come across as some kind of innocent, because when I do swear I’ve shocked people, not pious people either, professional swearers! It’s like they can’t believe that I, of all people, have said that. Since I’m a quiet person who doesn’t like calling attention to myself, it has the effect of making me swear less, even though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t think it’s due to the fact that I’m a woman since I know lots of women who swear but something about my personality. Maybe I should take up spitting to counteract it.

The ladies also discussed the power of curses and how we can become desensitized to them. This I agree with and one of the things that bothers me the most is how some people, mostly men, use “fuckin’” as a modifier for everything. It annoys the hell out of me!  I don’t know how many times I’ve overheard the most mundane conversation with fuckin as every second word. “I went to the fuckin pharmacy for my fuckin prescription and I said to the fuckin pharmacist…” It’s so incorrect! You’re not using it right! The word has no power if you use it this way and this just becomes the most boring and long conversation in the world. It’s like the overuse of a dirty joke on some TV shows. *cough 2 Broke Girls* The first time it’s funny, the 100th time it’s just lazy writing. “Haha, you said vagina…again. Snore. What else is on?”

I often think about the use of swearing in my blog posts. To use or not to use them, that is the question. A well placed swear word can add emphasis, express frustration or anger, but overuse them at your peril. Too many and you lose your audience to boredom or distaste. You can also end up using them as a crutch. Who is your audience? Do you care what their reactions are? Do you not mind losing a few if you write something they’re not going to like? Do you have sponsors or advertisers who stipulate what can be in your content? Those are all things to consider. I still don’t know how to deal with swearing in my posts. I don’t have any hard and fast rules.

This is a rather rambly post. Anyway, check out that podcast (no swears in it) or the books they used as research. It’s an interesting conversation starter!

15 comments :

  1. I grew up in a fishing community, so also no stranger to swearing. I actually don't really swear THAT much, but I still do. I am terrible at keeping up with podcasts. there are a bunch I like and never get around to.

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    1. This one is really good. It's scientific but not boring. It's well done.

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  2. I get that reaction when I swear too! And it's insane because I swear like a SAILOR, and I do not think I look innocent (though I guess I must???). I don't know. I love swearing, but I'm definitely careful about where and how and around whom I do it.

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    1. Isn't it weird? I also get that reaction when I say I drink whiskey!

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  3. I don't swear that much, either, only when it occurs to me. lol I do censor myself a bit online but there are times when it's just SO necessary.

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    1. Yes, sometimes they're the right word for the right occasion.

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  4. I swear around some people and some people I don't. I don't swear in my blog though. It doesn't bother me that other people do I just don't. I think maybe it's because I review a lot of YA books and expect that teens will read my posts. I am far from a teen but I don't want to scare them off since they are probably the majority of my readers.

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    1. I think if I reviewed a lot of YA I wouldn't at all either. It all comes down to audience.

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  5. I'm always looking for new podcasts and this one sounds fab. And to confess, I am a swearer, though I like to believe that i do it judiciously and only when appropriate. I have a kid.

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    1. As my daughter gets older, the less careful I am with my language. I'm sure she's heard a lot worse at school. She probably only hears me swear when I drive though.

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  6. I am very good at compartmentalizing when I swear. I think it's because I've always been around young kids, my cousins and sisters are all MUCH younger than I am and I was a nanny for a long time. I also never swear on my blog. I don't know why, because I agree with you, a well-placed swear can be great, but for some reason I always deleted the swears before hitting post. I figured I might use my blog on my resume some day (which I did) and I didn't want a crazy amount of swearing. It doesn't bother me in the least when other people do swear on their blog. If people don't know me well, they're shocked when they hear me swear for the first time, which always makes me laugh.

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  7. I suffer from the same looks and shock as you. I general don't swear even around my sailor mouthed friends..but when I do time stands still and people stare open mouthed. I think you nailed the reason why..a well placed curse is more powerful. So when I add one in a post, or comment or in my speech people take notice..cause Kim has something to say..LOL

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  8. I swear a lot. But I know that not everyone else does so I usually only swear around Scott and my sister (or if I'm alone) because they both swear a lot too. Though I have been getting on to Scott about the little ears who repeat! I don't swear on my blog or on social media...except for the very rare exception. It just doesn't seem worth it to risk offending audience. Some people are just so damn sensitive!! ;) ok, so damn doesn't REALLY count.

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  9. In person I swear a lot - unless I'm at some sort of formal event that requires me to be on my best behavior. I can turn it off professionally, what I've had a hard time stopping is swearing since giving birth. The Girl is three now and my husband and I still swear like sailors - she hasn't picked up too much of it - yet.

    Blogging is different, sometimes I'll insert a well earned swear somewhere - but I don't often lack other ways to express myself.

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  10. I don't swear. I never had except for one time, but I had no clue it was BAD. Thankfully I didn't get in trouble.

    Anyhoo, I agree. If you do it correctly, it's okay and no one's bored. Do it wrong, and everyone either a) goes away, b) become bored or c) rolls eyes at you because you really didn't need to use the word a million times in a sentence.

    Personally I think that if you can find a word to express yourself without swearing, then use the alternative. The only time there IS cursing though, are excerpt posts and such. None by me. :p

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

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