In which we discuss swearing


In real life, I try not to swear. Sometimes I fail miserably, because sometimes life is hard and saying a bad word makes you feel a little better. I have no idea why it works, but it does. On the internet I don’t swear because I hate offending people. I really hate it, it is just one of my things. My husband says I am a people pleaser, maybe I am, but I will never admit it. Unless of course this offends you…

But here is the thing: I don’t mind swearing at all. There is not a single word that I would rule out of my lexicon; because, for me it is all about intent. If you want to hurt someone, you can inflict a whole lot of damage without swearing. It is not the words, it is how you use them.
I know a lot of woman who cringe at the word cunt. I quickly became used to this word when I was working with the Scottish Prostitutes Education Programme. In my experience, sex workers say cunt a lot. Interesting enough, I never heard it in the context of anatomy. For that, they used fanny, which never fails to confuse the American in me. I hear fanny and I think butt, not vagina. When I first started teaching in Scotland, I told my pupils to put their fannies on the carpet. My assistant looked at me like I had just stripped naked and assassinated the queen. But I digress.
Sex workers were always saying, “I am going to kick his cunt in.” This was usually uttered by an irate woman talking about a punter or a partner who had really upset her. Let us all take a moment to reflect on the imagery of this. I think it perfectly captures the rage. Everyone knew there would be no kicking, even if the man in question had a cunt to kick in, but it made the woman feel better. It gave her back some of the control she had lost. So for that reason alone, I don’t mind swearing. If it makes you feel better, do it. You are not going to offend me.

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