This is a tricky subject because language is extremely divisive and swearing is against many people's religion(s) and I respect that for sure. I respect anyone's decision not to use certain words but I also think we give most "four letter words" too much attention. And yes, I use words like "shit" and "fuck" on occasion. When I write and when I talk and when a friend comes over or we're in the car and someone cuts me off. Shit happens, you know? And Archer's like, "Mom!" And I'm like, "sorry!" and this brings up the point I've been trying to arrive at for the last two paragraphs:
It's easy to punish for words like "fuck" because the entire world is already telling my kids that "fuck" is a bad word. I mean, I don't even have to tell Archer not to say "shit" because he already knows he shouldn't. Because I feel like it's all of the other words we should be concerned with... the words the media okays and peers throw around like no big deal. Because calling a person "mean name here" is fine to do a million times in a PG rated movie but you can only say "fuck" once before you get an R rating.
I don't know if you're aware of the BULLY rating controversy but the MPAA gave Bully an R rating because of the use of fuck and later compromised with the producers to give the film a PG13 rating, mainly because a high school student spoke up and was TOTALLY right to do so and this comment made by one of the petition's supporters says it all:
Why is it that a violent movie can get a PG-13 rating, but a movie aimed at curbing violence gets an R? - August Berkshire, Minneapolis MN
For those interested, here is the statement the MPAA released during the debacle and I think it's important for all parents to acknowledge that "bad language" is seen as WORSE than horrific violence and that is (excuse my language) seriously fucked up.
This coming from the folks who rated CARS 2 "G" even though it included a scene of a car (with a face and feelings!) being slowly tortured to death.
Our priorities are so backwards, you guys, and it makes me so angry I am writing this with the angriest face right now and I'm sorry if this is turning into a ramble fest but I'm pissed.
ED: THIS (and this, wtf) is rated PG13 and this is R. Because the word "fuck" used in conversations between teenagers is more inappropriate for a teenager than murder and torture. I'm sorry but I object, your honor. I would rather my kids watch two hours of people saying "fuck shit ass fuck" than two seconds of Batman: Anything.
How did we get here? How can the MPAA be totally okay with the kind of violence displayed in the kinds of movies it deems appropriate for small children and single out words that are equal opportunity in their offensiveness. Fuck you means the same thing to all sexes, ethnicities and religious affiliations. It does not single out any minority. It is not NEARLY as "bad" as most of the words I see thrown around in prime time cable TV. And THOSE are the words we should be worried about. THOSE are the words we should be discussing with our children and peers. The derogatory, racist, sexist, antisemitic, disrespectful, ignorant meant-to-be hurtful words. All of which are FAR worse than any fuck shit assbadswearwordhere. (Speaking of which, Wednesday was National Spread the Word to End the Word Day which is what we should be talking to our children about. Because "Retard" is a hurtful word that does nothing but marginalize and perpetuate stereotypes. It's a word that should not be allowed ANYWHERE. You want an R rating for language, MPAA? There you go.)
As parents we are notorious for getting so bogged down by "ethics" that we wholly ignore them. We're like sheep, adhering to an invisible shepherd without question.
"These are words we're not supposed to say because they're bad," we say to ourselves, ignoring all of the other words that are WORSE and, yet, accepted in our society because they contain more than four letters and aren't part of some "list of swear words" whose stigmas are mostly arbitrary.
A word should be judged not on how many letters it has but on what it means and where it's coming from. It's what's on the inside that counts, right?
Well, that goes for words, too.
What do you guys think? I had a conversation with my mom about this last night who thinks its a "generation thing". Swearing was a HUGE nono in our house growing up. I didn't even know what the word "fuck" was until second grade when I came home asking my mom what "fuck you" meant because someone had said it to me and I was like "huh?" I think geography has a lot to do with it as well. It would be impossible to shelter my kids from certain words here in the city (the word fuck is grafitti'd all over half the billboards we drive past) so my plan has always been to "beat strangers to the punch" in terms of pretty much every single topic that exists and every word I can think of that they may misunderstand on their own. Anyway... I could go on, here, but I'd much rather hear from you. How do you feel about "four letter words?" Do you curse in front of your children? Do your friends? What do you consider "swearing" and how do you deal with it as a person and/or parent?