Have curse words lost their shock value?

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If you’ll remember in the movie, A Christmas Story, 9-year-old Ralphie Parker accidentally said “the big one, the queen mother of dirty words.” and he paid the price for it. (via, a bar of soap) Sure, at that age it was a big deal to curse in front of your father like that, but had it been about 5 years later when he was 14, would it still have been so bad? 

Back in the real world, I hear that word and a bunch of other foul ones at school in songs, in movies, in books, and in general for all kinds of different reasons. The main purpose of swearing is supposed to express anger and frustration. “I only curse when I’m mad,” says Izabella Palacios. That’s true, but I’ve heard it as an adjective, and even playfully. I guess everyone just heard it from somewhere and eventually those words became a routine for them. “I guess some teachers are so used to students saying them that they’re not really so strict about it anymore,” said Simon Cheatham. He has a point, over the years swearing seems to have lost its power. Think about it, every swear you can think of, does it have any effect on you? When you hear it, are you bothered? This fact might not be true for everyone, but most people believe that curses have lost their effect. But still, sometimes someone will try to keep the language rated G.

Take television shows, for example, they censor a swear and put a black bar over the mouth of whoever said it. Youtubers started doing that too. They do this to protect us from the horror of profanity. But you can’t censor out real life. 

Another example is your family. You might have parents that don’t care about your language, or they probably do. But if you were to curse in front of someone like that, would anyone care? “I think they would, depending on the word that was said,” Izabella said. “Depending on the situation, if there was a reasoning behind it, then I think they wouldn’t be as mad. Personally I rarely curse, not to toot my own horn. But my younger brothers do. We didn’t always talk like this. From personal experience I noticed that in grade school we didn’t swear at all, when we heard a word like that we would just gasp in shock and taunt the swearer, but then in 6th grade some of my friends started to mutter a few curse words once in a while, but then in 7th and 8th grade it was like someone had flipped a giant switch. It was a profanity party! It’s the same way in high school. It makes you wonder, what happened?

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