I was recently watching the movie Zombieland with my family. It’s an absolutely hilarious movie, and I firmly believe Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee, is my soul mate. My dad had never seen it before, and I think he got a kick out of watching me giggle like a little gurl at the jokes. My mum, however, doesn’t see the hilarity of these jokes. Not only does she skip over the whole “Mum, they’re making dead jokes about zombies” thing, but she hated the use of profanity.
We’ve had this argument a few times. Her main point is that it’s completely unnecessary to add the word, fuck, into every other sentence. My dad’s is that it’s unladylike to swear constantly (as I often do).
Have you ever used air quotes? You know, how when you’re trying to make a point about something, you lift your pointer and middle fingers, hooking them in so they look like quotation marks? You have to use your fingers for emphasis, because the tone of your voice doesn’t necessarily work. There are a lot of things you can do for emphasis. Air quotes, yelling, waving your arms. And swearing.
Once upon a time, I had a guy friend named Kane Theriault. I say once upon a time because he doesn’t talk to me anymore – for absolutely ridiculous reasons that, if I get into, I’ll never stop bitching over. So now, his name is no longer Kane Theriault but Kane motherfucking Theriault. This added profanity really shows my intense displeasure with Mister Theriault.
And who can forget the most epic emphatic cuss of all time, from Die Hard: “Yippee-Kai-yay, Motherfucker.” It wouldn’t be the same if they’d decided to skip the vulgarity and changed it to, “Yippee- Kai-Yay, Terrorist.” Or maybe that’s not PC enough. Maybe, “Yippee-Kai-Yay, Rude Person.” Possibly, “Yippee-Kai-Yay Poopyhead.”
When your teacher shows you how to use a thesaurus in school, they warn you about making sure the word you replace has a meaning close enough to the original one. So if you change, “why did you fuck with my stuff?” to “why did you meddle with my stuff?” it changes the tone enough that when you lose your temper and begin to beat on the intruder, it will seem slightly out of the blue.
Like it or not, certain swearwords have certain ways of making a certain point. And if you’re like me where you say what you think a second after you think it, sometimes having a word that perfectly fits is important.
Now to the ladylike argument:
I was not aware that in order to be ladylike, a woman has to be mild mannered and soft spoken. What’s next? Do I need to wear a dress and make you sandwiches? We need to move past the antiquated idea of what’s ladylike. To me, a lady is a woman of high breeding who holds a position of social standing, and uses her power for good. I may be getting this from medieval stories about ladies and knights, but I still think it’s a good definition. Who wouldn’t look up to a woman who defends her wit and that of those beneath her? I don’t need to have a G-rated speech to get my point across and protect the people I care about.
So, with that said (those of you who haven’t seen Zombieland are about to get really confused) when it comes to being ladylike, or necessity in regard to swearing, it’s time to nut up or shut up.