When women swear, it seems to mean something different, and more sinister, than when men use the same words. “Surely you can be one of the boys some other way,” one of the critics of my swearing tweeted. This same man authored a badly-written blog post last year singling out City Press journalist Carien du Plessis for special opprobrium for having used the word “crap” on Twitter. I wasn’t even aware that “crap” counted as a swearword, which shows how far beyond the pale I really am.
That suggestion – “surely you can be one of the boys some other way” – is deeply telling. It reveals that swearing is the rightful linguistic domain of men, and that women who dare step into this territory need to be reminded of the fact, lest they grow confused about how women are supposed to behave, and start wearing trousers and demanding political representation.
- Rebecca Davis, In defence of sweary women