Swearing in Society


Mia Egerman, Editor in Chief

Swearing has become one of those things that’s gaining acceptance in society. Times are changing and traditional values are proving to hold less significance than they used to. But what made swearing so bad in the first place? There have always been two sides to the spectrum; the modernist perspective and the moralist perspective. Moralists believe swearing is troublesome to everyone, and is almost never convenient. They argue that “it’s infuriating to hear someone behind you in the movie line swearing energetically,” while modernists would say it just depends on the movie (Nunberg). Modernists would urge that “throwing the F-word at somebody [is] just a particularly colorful and emphatic way of saying, ‘I’m awfully vexed with you right now,’”. Now that may be true, but a few Titans believe there’s just a time and a place for everything.

Sophomore, Hannah Thompson, said, “it depends on the situation. You wouldn’t swear during an interview, but if something bad happens and you get angry, it can be justified outside of the workplace.” https://holykaw.alltop.com/how-to-manage-your-angerThis seems to be a popular opinion, as well as calling it a “form of self expression that allows you to express feelings you would not be able to express otherwise,” (Valentina Garces). However, not everyone sided on the modernist end of the spectrum. Freshman, Sean Heare, argues that “people who swear a lot can’t control their emotions very well.” Junior, Irving Melgar also thinks “there’s more than one place where it would absolutely not be appropriate, like church.” Regardless of what you believe, swearing is all around us. It’s in TV shows, music, and even in advertisements that young children come across. Where do we draw the line between simply “colorful language” and “strong vulgarities”?


Our values and constructs may change over time, but so does vocabulary. In order for profanity to exist, there must be people to disapprove of it. Whether that be a true moralist, or just your mother getting upset at you for talking to her with that mouth, both sides need each other to thrive. Geoff Nunberg says, “Swearing itself can never become so ordinary that we no longer consider it naughty. You can’t have profanity if there are no prudes left to be shocked by it.” Ultimately, as long as you can recognize a formal vs informal setting, you’re not perpetuating any taboos of society and can go about your #%*@&$* days.