Stop Swear-Shaming Me


Hi, my name is Maria, I am a writer, and I swear. To you, it may not be a huge deal. But recently, I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on my writing.

Some people do not like it how I occasionally will use swear words in my writing. And by occasionally, I mean occasionally. I’ll write a one-thousand word piece with maybe three swear words in it, and I’ll never hear the end of it. I thought I was an adult living in America in the 21st century? Hm.

When Bukowski was called a hero by every major publication, did they care to point out his vulgar language? When Stephen King sold 350 million copies of his books, did people notice the hundreds of F bombs? When Salinger became a literary icon, did they forget to mention the fact he also swears in his writing?

No. No they did not. Because it didn’t matter for them. Oh, they’re artsy! Oh, it was a metaphor!

They’re representing a certain time period or class or race or generation!

Well, bitch, so am I. I swear for the same reasons they swear, so why am I being attacked for doing so?

“It’s not ladylike. It’s childish. It’s unprofessional. It makes you look stupid. It’s unattractive. It’s offensive.”

If you have learned anything about writers, it’s that they don’t write to please. They write because they fucking have to. If they don’t they’ll go insane.

I don’t force cuss words in my writing or my speech for the sake of edginess, but if it comes out, I will not edit it out to appeal to more demographics. I want to stay true to Wordsworths’ philosophy of writing being “the spontaneous overflow of emotions.” I want everything I write to be what happened in that moment. It’s supposed to be organic, not formulaic.

Why is it that me saying a few swear words every now and then all of the sudden erases all of my merit? People often assume things about people by the way that they speak.

Words, languages, accents, slang, dialect. To assume someone is uneducated and unprofessional because they don’t speak in your ideal Shakespearean English language is backwards. You are erasing identity and culture by forcing people to speak in one way. Technically speaking, there is no right way to speak. There are 6,500 spoken languages in the world, each and every one evolving with time. Slang words are being invented on the daily, even being added to our dictionaries. People speak differently in every country, state, city, suburb, district, street.

To have standards for how you want people to write or speak is unrealistic and promotes a privileged, bland world. I mean, everything has it’s own flavor, right? Writing is supposed to push boundaries; all art is.

I read books bigger than your brain but when I speak to others, I speak how I want. And how I choose to speak to others does not define my intelligence or my depth. I use slang because I feel more comfortable doing so, and I feel the conversation is more laid back that way. I swear to show the intensity of certain situations. Words are used so we can express ourselves, and sometimes “really” or “immensely” doesn’t do my feelings any justice. Sometimes I have to say “fucking.”

And if it offends you, I recommend you do your reading here instead. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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