“Wash your mouth out with soap” are words we have all heard at one time or another. Even if we only heard these words from our sarcastic friend, who just used curse words we didn’t know existed. However, why are curse words considered bad? Their meanings are usually pretty benign, in fact many other words have the same meaning. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” yet a curse word by any other name is no longer an obscenity. There have been words (e.g. crap, dang, heck) that were invented only to be used as a substitute for a curse word, yet these words do not need to be washed out of your mouth. One could argue that it is the actual sound of the word that makes it inappropriate, but if that was true there would be no children taking the Hoover Dam tour.
So if the curse word is in a certain context it looses its power, and if another word (that sounds similar and has the same meaning) is powerless, why are we so afraid of cussing? It’s true that using a ton of curse words in a speech can make a person sound uneducated, but we do not shield our children from bad grammar. However, movies that use the F-word more than once are considered unsuitable for children under seventeen. This seems like a drastic measure. The movie The King’s Speech was given an R rating because the main character cursed. Although PG movies have more sex and violence than The King’s Speech, and even though the king only cursed after being provoked by a speech therapist to say those words in order to relieve stress (what child over five does not know that cursing relieves stress), this movie is still considered to be harmful to America’s youth.
Curse words also breed hypocrisy in adults. Many grown ups cuss though out the day, yet if they hear their children (or the neighbors children) repeat any of those words, they fly into a rage. Okay, perhaps it’s not a rage, but they will give a stern lecture, which to many children is worse than a rage ( at least during a rage you get to see mom ‘s or dad’s face change color). Now there are certain activities that are for adults only, such as sex and vodka. However, curse words don’t cause car accidents or unwanted pregnancies, the worst they can do to a child is expand their vocabulary.
Not only are certain words deemed obscene, but also certain gestures. Showing a middle finger on television is not allowed under any circumstance, but showing a blurred middle finger is considered okay. Do people think that a child will not figure out what is supposed to be in the middle of a hand. “Hmmm, there is something blurred between the index and the ring finger, I wonder what it is . I think it’s the bat mobile.” Also, it is not considered offensive to raise your ring finger instead of your middle finger, even though a recent widow might take more offense to this.
We have a war against drugs in our country, however there is no war against profanity. Perhaps it’s because the way to combat profanity is to say curse words so many times that they become obsolete, and it’s no fun winning a war where no cops are involved. What is your opinion about curse words?