Monday, November 17, 2008

The swearing continuum

When were new rules set for swearing during prime time TV? While watching prime time TV in the past hour, I have heard "bitch", "shit" "hell" "crap" "dammit" "ignorant skank" "dirty whore" tits" and even dare I say it, "ho-bag". I wonder, was there a date recorded when the only swear word left to be used on TV was the f-word?
Although I personally am not offended by the use of these words, well maybe "ho-bag", I wonder when we decided, and what made us decide, that these words were now so socially acceptable?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm totally offended by some of these words, and I'm not happy that they are allowed on prime time t.v. Perhaps it is the feminist in me, but I am so against allowing Bitch, ignorant skank, dirty whore and ho bag into mainstream daytime television. While some of these words are used in jest among adults, it is teaching our children and youth that words such as these are acceptable to use, and they are all demeaning to women. Why aren't there any swear words that put men down? Last time I checked, STUD was a positive thing, and bitch is still a bad thing.
I agree that these have just slipped into tv without anyone really noticing of putting up a fight.
Prepare for fuck - it will arrive on sesame street soon enough.

Mike said...

What about dick, prick, and jerk off? Those are all that came off the top of my head. Maybe not the same, but they certainly aren't positive words. Words evolve, and bitch is pretty interchangeable with whiner, or whining. Also a man can be called a "ho-bag," it is just less common. When i use the word bitch, i do not mean it in a demeaning way against women, just demeaning against whoever i call a bitch, or i say is bitching.
Also how are these words demeaning against women? None of the women i know are dirty whores (well a few are, but i would not consider them great examples of women). I would think that we all are no longer offended by damn, hell and crap, but 40-50 years ago they were not very acceptable. Yet the word nigger was widely used by people, and not thought of as bad at all. My point is that a word is a word, it has a literal meaning, and figurative/ cultural one, the latter of which will change as people's perceptions and social norms change. Hence the word cunt is offensive in North America, yet more common that a word like pussy in England. Al in all, I feel that a word is not offensive, but how it is used.