Dirty Mouth? Clean It Up: Profanity and Vulgarity

Published September 14, 2011 by Patty Brisben

For students around the globe, September means back to school. Girls and boys ages 4 to 21 (and beyond!) trade in swimming and sunning for mathematics, language arts, history, chemistry and every variant in between. During this new school year, kids better themselves in skills that will help them in all aspects of their lives, from future careers to personal lives. They learn something new every week, if not every day.

A lot of us thought that once we had graduated high school or college, we were done. I think, though, that there’s something as women that we need to develop. Simply put, we could all work on our manners. Decades ago, women went to specific schools for this very subject. Many of us still look up to women of that era, such as Grace Kelly and Aubrey Hepburn. We look to their poise and elegance for inspiration, because they were real ladies.

That’s why all my posts for September will be dedicated to a grown woman’s version of back-to-school lessons. I’ll be focusing on modern manners and how a woman can return to a state of grace, instead of disgrace.

Today, I’d like to discuss something we all face every single day. It may seem small, but it affects the way you’re perceived greatly.

In 2011, I never thought we’d be living in an era that loves to swear. There’s a reason those Orbit gum commercials are memorable! We all have dirty mouths, and we do need to clean them up.

Profanity is so overused now that we’ve all become somewhat desensitized to it—we are immune to such vulgarity. The power of “the S-word” and “the F-word” doesn’t exactly have the zing it once had. It’s now just started to sound unintelligent. Profanity fills the holes in which a smarter, more powerful word combination could be used. Swearing no longer riles people up; it’s just started to sound silly.

Why has there been such a desensitization of curse words? Because they’re everywhere. You can’t watch a show on cable without cursing being used for cheap laughs and fake shock and awe. Pop music is suffering an infestation as well. When the musicians appear on television shows for live performances, songs have to be bleeped to the point where you can’t hear a melody. It’s become the norm.

Unfortunately, if you’re not an actress or pop performer, cursing simply isn’t attractive. People will not value your opinions when they’re studded with swears. Others will not see you as attractive because of your over-the-top profane use of language. If you think swearing will get you the attention and respect you deserve, think again.

We’re all guilty of getting heated and using iffy language. However, there are three places in which you should heed caution when it comes to what’s flying out of your mouth:

1. The workplace. Every office is different, but if you want to make the greatest impression, keep your conversations clean. Your statements will have a greater impact when you speak wisely, especially when you think you aren’t being listened to. I guarantee you—someone is listening.

2. In public. Walking around the mall, waiting in a movie theater, strolling the aisles of a grocery store, chatting over dinner—these are all settings in which someone, you don’t want to hear your profanity (such as a child) may, in fact, hear the dirty words that are coming out of your mouth.

3. On the Internet. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, a relative, boss, or friend’s impressionable daughter will see your status. Think about the kind of impression you want to have on others. Yes, I understand that your Facebook page should contain whatever your heart desires, but if you want your relatives not to be startled, your boss to be impressed, and your sister’s impressionable daughter to respect you, you have to clean it up a bit. Try and keep this in mind: if you wouldn’t want your grandmother reading it, don’t post it.

This culture of profanity has gotten the best of us all at some point, but challenge yourself to tidy up your language a little. What would really blow people’s minds is if you didn’t swear at all and you invented your own forms of letting out your emotions. Take a cue from the Orbit commercial the next time you’re frustrated with something and say, “What the French, toast?” I’m sure you’ll burst out in laughter and any frustrations will be momentarily eased. Hey, it’s a start!

2 comments on “Dirty Mouth? Clean It Up: Profanity and Vulgarity

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