I swear. A lot. So do many people I know. It helps to express anger and it also helps to really demonstrate how you feel when you just can’t find the words. I swear at the telly and at my mistakes. I swear when I’m feeling anxious or fed up with my mental health and physical health problems. I basically swear.
You may have noticed that I did not swear in that paragraph. I tend not to use swearing in anything I write on social media. I tend only to use them when I think the audience will be receptive and understand why I chose to use that word.
That is the thing. At times nothing else but a swear word will do You stub your toe, you swear. You are running late and can’t find your car keys, you swear. Your team just lost or your team just won you swear. At times the placement of a swear word can turn and amusing line into a hilarious one. A swear word can encapsulate a shared understanding or feeling. It can express just how angry you are.
Wait a minute. Swearing is uncouth. It is not what you do in polite society. It is rough and indicative of a limited vocabulary. It is un ladylike and common. It’s use is an indication of a crumbling society and low intelligence and rising crime etc etc.
Swearing is a part of our language and is something that should be seen and respected as such. Calling someone a cockwomble is a statement of your feelings toward that particular person. If it expresses exactly what we feel about a persons behaviour. How they are treating others. What it’s doing to others, their integrity. Their political stance or view or what they are saying about particular groups may also result in someone swearing. Sentences should not be littered with swearing. It’s overkill then. But if someone swears it should not be jumped upon. It’s part of a grown up world. It is not the biggest crime.
The bigger crime is a racial slur, a sexist comment, a death threat. Constant undermining and twisting of your words or continual criticism or lies in the media. Bias reporting and ignoring your voice. The use of personal problems, family tragedy or sexuality to hurt or belittle. Personal insults about appearance, mental health, age, illness. Citing sexual assault, perceived sexual frustration which the writer can “cure“, stalking, threatening violence and invading personal space. Assault of any kind. This is abuse. This is a problem. This is not acceptable.
So I would like to say to anyone who thinks that the amount of abuse they get is terrible because someone swore at them on twitter just check yourself and instead of indignation think of those who every day open their emails to real hate. Don’t make excuses for those who spew real hatred based on ethnicity, colour, religion, sexuality, gender, mental or physical illness, disability, body shape or appearance
We need to agree what is abuse and what is expression. What words have real power and what words do not. What is acceptable and what is not. For me the odd swear word popping up is nothing to get your knickers in a twist over. Hatred however is.