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  • Avery Look

Cursing in a Modern Context

Imagine yourself in a frustrating situation, in which you are completely vulnerable to anything and everything surrounding yourself. People deal with annoying scenarios like this in different ways. Some might take deep breaths. Others may close their eyes and try to allow their head to go to a more peaceful place. But for some, immediate action must be taken to relieve stress. And you’re likely wondering... what is said immediate action? The release of anger. In a quick, yet seemingly effective way. Suddenly, a spew of words comes out of your mouth. Offensive ones. Swear words, curse words, profanity, call it what you want, but all of them are used for the same reason. Said words are defined as obscene or offensive expression, often released due to surprise or anger.

For a long time, cursing was viewed as a taboo thing to do. In fact, the majority of parents tend to teach their children from a young age that “cursing is wrong”. But what is cursing or swearing exactly? Well, first, the power of speech is limitless. But if you think about it, words don’t really mean anything unless you let them, right? As a society, people allow certain words to have more power than others, hence giving rise to terms like the f-word, or even the n-word. Further exploring that, these words were made offensive by people who existed long before we did. They were the ones that allowed these words to have the meaning and connotation that they once did and now have. Perhaps at some point, swear words were not even offensive. It’s weird to think about, but it’s very possible.

But onto the main focus of this piece… what has changed? Nowadays, it seems that children are becoming adults far too early. This is exhibited in their actions, their clothing choices, and even their choice in words, and a case could be made that this is all due to the fact that society’s values have changed over time. Maybe years ago, people valued the preservation of a child’s innocence, and this idea of keeping them pure and sheltered from the cruel world before their parents deemed them ready to see it for what it truly is, as opposed to now. In the modern world, others find it necessary to educate today’s youth about the state of the world as it truly is, which brings to light another question: How young is too young to know about these things? Should children be exposed to the harsh realities of the world before they may be ready for it? While there is no answer to this, it should be made known that the unclear answer stems from the unclear definition of what ready means. When is a child ready to start using profanity, if ever, and is it even okay? It’s strange to imagine a ten-year-old dropping curse words more than the average adult, but in this day and age it’s far too common.

Clearly, profanity is not viewed as the sin it was viewed as in the past. Especially considering the way it is casually used movies and TV shows, it’s inevitable that children will be exposed to such language. As much as it confuses me that kids younger than I am have said more swear words at their age than I will ever in my lifetime, I believe it is a personal choice that they should be able to make, regarding the type of person they want to be and how they want to express this.

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