How Do You Feel About Swearing? (Write Anything Wednesday)

swearing, The Big Lebowski

One day, I was looking at the Community Chat page on The Blogging Meetup and I came across a few posts by Steven Sawyer. I responded to a couple of them, but I didn’t respond to a post about swearing (in blog posts).

In the post entitled, “Why use profanity in blog posts?” Steven Sawyer posed a few other questions about the use of profanity. One of the bloggers who responded to Mr. Sawyer’s post, Kiwanna, shared a post of hers from earlier this year on the very same subject.


Here’s What Steven Sawyer and Kiwanna Said

Mr. Sawyer said it was less about his Christian faith but more about how curse words make a writer look. In short, he said that the use of profanity showed a lack of respect towards readers.

Kiwanna feels that swearing is a turn off. From her view, there is no need for bloggers to swear in their posts.


Here’s What I Think About Swearing in General

On the whole, I’m not bothered by swearing — provided curse words are used sparingly. Also, there are times when I feel that it’s appropriate (or inappropriate) to swear. I feel the same for any written work, any form of entertainment, and live conversation.

In real life, swearing may in fact be healthy. Studies have shown that swearing can lessen physical pain. It can serve as a healthy release of anger, depending on how often one uses curse words and how taboo they are. Swearing might also help members in some close-knit communities feel closer. In short, it can serve a basic human need.

With that in mind, here are a few criteria I use:

1. It Depends on the Writer’s Mood

Is the writer angry? In that case, a little swearing isn’t bad in my view. If it is a personal blog, that is what it’s there for.

Also, like a said before, a personal blog exists first and foremost for the writer. (There might be some naughty words in there, because I was pretty peeved.) Even professional novel writers should write for themselves first.

Now, I know when a person publicizes their written work it means that it’s open for public consumption. But if a blogger isn’t writing with their own voice, that defeats the purpose of the blog.

This might turn off some readers, but it’s not really meant as a sign of disrespect. The blogger might already have a specific audience in mind. In that case, the regular readers might not mind the use of profanity at all.

This leads me to my next point …

2. It Depends on the Audience

Where is the blog being posted? Who does the blogger want to appeal to? Who is being addressed?

The people in the community (on certain sites) may use profanity. In that case, I see no problem with putting curse words in text there. And in that sense, it is not disrespectful to the audience.

However, it someone is writing a professional blog or a blog they want professionals to see, it would be sound advice to think more about the words they use. Hiring managers might not like the use of profanity (or certain topics, for that matter).

Additionally, there are some people who refrain from using curse words and would like to avoid their uses in daily conversation. When someone respectfully tells me that they don’t like curse words

3. It Depends on the Type of Conversation and Purpose

As I mentioned above, there are people who just don’t like to swear. In those conversations, it is easy to avoid swearing because you know they won’t. (But sometimes there are frustrating people who make me want to swear because of their shenanigans.)

There are many comedians who do swear and they use certain words to pepper their jokes. People who view their shows, sets, programs, and specials are forewarned. This goes back to one’s audience.

In other cases, two people might be debating a topic. I think it shows weakness when one person resorts to swearing (at the other person) because the other person is saying things the first person doesn’t like or doesn’t agree with, provided the other person isn’t being rude or disrespectful.

Of course, there are people who use swearing to intimidate. That hypothetical person in the debate is definitely using swearing to intimidate and that disgusts me.

4. It Depends on the Amount of Curse Words in a Given Space

Like I said above, I am not bothered by occasional swearing. But the excessive used of profanity is a turn off.

I hate it when the person I’m talking to swears incessantly. Now, while I understand that someone might be angry, I can tell when someone wants to use “grown up” words just to use them. The overuse of swear words detracts from their entire speech.

Take “The Big Lebowski,” for example. I know that it has a following, particularly on the Internet, but I didn’t like that movie because of the amount of curse words. In one car scene with Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, their characters were repeatedly yelling the F-word. Of course, the F-bomb was thrown around much more in that movie, but I couldn’t get past that scene.


As Far As Blogging Goes …

There are bloggers I follow who use swear words. I don’t mind their swearing because their blog posts are well-written. Also, they are very respectful to other bloggers, including me.

I am harsher on myself, though. I have used swear words in some of my earlier WordPress posts, but sparingly. (There is one post that is full of curse words, but I put them in spoiler text. This was to reflect the topic of censorship.)

In writing some posts, I decided to remove some words because I felt that there were unnecessary. I might remove some of them upon closer inspection.

Also, I think I have cut back because of some of my followers. I can tell that some don’t like curse words. And it’s easier to refrain from swearing when I write my featured posts, and posts on any serious topics, anyway.

Still, I won’t judge others who use swear words. It’s their blog, it’s their choice, and if some people don’t like it, so bit it. We can’t read everyone’s blogs anyway and there are blogs that just don’t speak to us, whether or not there’s any swearing.


What Do You Think?

I want to here from the blogging community. I’m going to leave a poll here but everyone is free to leave a comment.

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6 thoughts on “How Do You Feel About Swearing? (Write Anything Wednesday)

  1. First time reader, saw this post in the Blogging Meet Up and knew I had to read it. I absolutely love your take on the whole thing. Your entire article is well written and put eloquently, it also does a fine job of looking at it from your perspective as well as an outside perspective. I agree with what you said about it being first and foremost the writers blog, each and every individuals writing style is that of their own. Trying to control the context of their verbiage would be just as bad as straight forward censorship. I however don’t swear often, if at all, in any of my blog posts. I used it once in a story, and once in a more recent post on which I was quite furious while writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

      Indeed. All blog owners have the right to express themselves. If that includes swearing, so be it. That might turn off many readers, but there may be more who don’t mind and like the blog overall.

      Self-censorship is a choice the blog owners should make on their own. Do they want to appeal to anyone who visits their blog or are they just trying to appeal to select groups? While there needs to be an audience in mind, it doesn’t hurt to make the content more appealing to potential followers outside that target audience.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’ve stated every point that I would make about swearing in a blog post. There are some words that are so totally offensive to me that I stop reading when I come across them but for the most part I don’t have a problem with swearing. we all do it, whether we wish to admit it or not. Even the most faithful religious swear..they just change the word to an inoffensive one. My godfather, an Anglican priest of extremely deep faith says “oh Peanuts” when angry. That is his swear word. I was “fussed at” by a follower for using profanity in a post as they found it to be “beneath” me. Sorry and tough beans, but I am Human. My blog is for ME first, my sons second and everyone else is just a bonus. For the posts that I know will be read by a large audience (daily posts and challenges) I stay far away from cussing. For me? well it is a part of my life experience and will be stated eventually. great post by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.

      Even the most faithful religious swear..they just change the word to an inoffensive one.

      That’s a great point. Many people might use safer words to express anger, but they are still expressing anger. And they are probably thinking of those bad words they are replacing.

      Also, as I read in one of the articles I linked to, some of the swear words we know today had their roots in religion. As parts of the body became taboo (in public spaces), so did many of the words describing those parts.

      Swearing is a choice and a calculated risk. When we do it, it may be the most effective way of releasing anger, but we risk offending readers or listeners. As a result, we may also lose (potential) followers, but we need to know who we want to appeal to in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I swear more than I should. I feel like swearing could release stress if needed. I am not a scientist but…..hmmmm…it sounds about right. I feel that sweating can be necessary when you are alone and cannot offend anyone. My mom always washed my mouth out with soap when I was a kid so I refrained from swearing around others.

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