Disarming the “F bomb” and other no-no words

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The “F bomb” to some is a word so commonly used and overheard that it has been deprived of meaning. Others abstain from the word with every at all costs—perhaps even take offense whenever the idle word is cast in their direction.

How did the f-word achieve such a high ranking on our profanity blacklist? The word is so powerful; I could make my editors question my character if I chose to sprinkle it around this column.

We’ve created a variety of derivatives just so we can say it in a socially acceptable way. For some reason, euphemisms such as “freak”, “fudge,” or the lazy “eff” aren’t considered as offensive as the word they’ve substituted. These words sparked a lot of confusion in my childhood; I got into arguments with kids about what was considered a “swear word” and what wasn’t.

If you’re going to teach your kids not to swear or if you choose not to use foul language yourself, what’s the point in using these awful rewordings? To me, they mean the exact same thing. Even though I’m indifferent about profanity, I would think if you’re offended by tomato, you should be offended by “tom-ah-toe.”

To my mother’s lament, my father raised me to be impervious to the magical power we bestow these words. There is also an engrained sense of courtesy, I would never swear in front of my grandmother or in public, unless it was used with discretion.

One thing I didn’t expect was how difficult it was to determine where exactly the line was when it came to profanity. Everyone has their own line, if you going to swear for whatever reason it’s virtually impossible not to offend someone.

Though profanity was occasionally used in our household, I didn’t choose to curb swear words to my advantage until I was in junior high. It was actually quite invigorating—suddenly I had this expression in my life that was forbidden and therefore cool/rebellious by junior high standards, it even held healing properties.

Over time, it started to get easier to tell who had a stigma about profanity and who didn’t. I won’t deny that there is some remaining confusion about that border. I’ve had people tell me it isn’t attractive when women curse, but it’s fine for men. They believe swearing is a characteristic reserved for men only to boast their manliness. I’m calling B.S. on that one.

I don’t think my dad’s decision to swear in front of me as a kid made me grow up to be a classless, trashy sailor-mouth girl. I still abide by that childhood code of ethics, choosing only to swear in front of people who I know won’t take offense.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should just go around swearing all the time. The question I’d like to raise is: would our way of life crumble if everyone agreed to stop caring about swear words?

Every time I hear a fellow student gasp when someone in the class lets an explicative slip, I feel like it’s a facepalm for society. We have so many different ways to say these words there just isn’t sense in being offended anymore. It’s time to disarm the F-bomb, along with the hysteria behind our hypersensitivity.

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