Has Cursing Lost Its Shock Value?

Katie Le

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Simply stubbing a toe may cause one to blurt out profanity. Or maybe someone driving slow may cause annoyance and create the need to cuss the driver out. In any given situation, people tend to curse whether it is on purpose or unintentionally. Curse words have become a part of everyday language for some individuals. Cursing is simply a ¨part of American culture¨ said Rana Aribi, senior at Lincoln Northeast. Curse words used to be greatly filtered, but over the past few decades they have made their appearance in today’s society in television shows, hit songs, and everyday conversations. It is not a big deal to say a bad word now because curse words have evolved and developed different meanings unlike previous generations. As of today, curse words have become more commonly used in conversations as a joke, to express emotions, or it is a natural habit.

People tend to cuss to emphasize how they feel towards someone or an event that occurred. Others tend to randomly use profanity in their sentences even though it may be unnecessary.  From school to grocery stores to home, curse words are frequently heard at these locations from people of all ages in that environment. There are parents who curse at their children in stores to get their child to obey, but this sets an example that swearing is acceptable in public situations. Modelling this behavior will create children to imitate the adults and copy their language.

Kids of all ages have started cursing. Part of the reason is being influenced by peers. Adults, friends, and a community can influence the behavior in language and actions. Cursing then has a chance of becoming a habit hard to control. On average, it is estimated a person will curse 80 times over the course of a day- more than 3 times an hour. However, this continues to increase as cursing has become more frequent.  

The trend of vulgar language is more acceptable and casual in our culture today but it exposes the youth to believe it is okay to cuss. It used to be shocking to hear the youth use profanity, but it has become more common to cuss so it is considered a norm. With school not enforcing stricter punishments to students and some parents modelling that swearing is okay, it makes the youth believe we can start cussing since there is no physical harm done. “I get cursed out at all the time. Usually when I arrest someone or escort a student, they call me names and there’s not much I can do about it,” Officer Hill says.

At the end of the day, the language spoken is ultimately the person’s own choice. Now there will be a few times where someone may accidentally slip-up and cuss. However, curse words are losing their shock value as people are frequently including them in their vocabulary choice. This then devalues curse words and loses its sense of purpose. Because times of changed, cursing has greatly transformed. Eventually, the shock starts declining until it is no longer important whether or not a child curses. Officer Hill claims, ¨Cursing has definitely became more acceptable in society today. When I was in high school and people would cuss, you got in trouble for it. Now there’s students cursing at teachers and getting away with it. However, know your audience if you are going to cuss. There is a time and place for that. If cussing is how you want to talk at home or in private then go for it. But it is not appropriate to drop f* bombs at teachers or children.¨