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to think 'bastard' should not be used?

(81 Posts)
hoppingElephant Sat 01-Mar-14 10:38:15

It is an unpleasant and derogatory term for a person born to unmarried parents. As a 'bastard' myself, and knowing many 'bastard' children I object to the word still being used fairly commonly. You wouldn't use the 'n' word or many other outdated derogatory terms, so why is it still acceptable to use this offensive term, including on MN to describe undesirable things 'bastard neighbours/drivers/insert word'?


expatinscotland Sat 01-Mar-14 10:39:36


LaurieFairyCake Sat 01-Mar-14 10:39:49

Because the stigma has been taken away and it's just a swear word

You should be happy the stigma has gone

icanmakeyouicecream Sat 01-Mar-14 10:42:36

My children are bastards. I still use the word bastard.

BeCool Sat 01-Mar-14 10:45:23

there was a thread on MN recently where someone was using bastard to refer to child of unmarried person. It was really offensive, and old fashioned.

I do think the word has been largely reclaimed though - a bit like wanker, and it is a good swear word. I agree the stigma has largely gone.

I don't think it is right at all to compare it to the n-word which is a much "bigger" and more offensive word IMO.

KirjavaTheCat Sat 01-Mar-14 10:48:44

Bastard children over here, regular user of the word bastard.

I don't give it a second thought, and actually I doubt most children even know where the word originated from these days, such is it's lack of 'correct' usage. It's been recycled into a satisfying swearword.

Topaz25 Sat 01-Mar-14 10:49:57

I only object to the old fashioned use of the word to refer to children of unmarried parents. Nowadays it's more often used as a general swear word, which doesn't bother me.

Dawndonnaagain Sat 01-Mar-14 10:53:53

Do we have to use Fuck in it's original term only, too. Seriously, it's not got the same connotations that it used to have, neither has For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Let it go.

mrsjay Sat 01-Mar-14 10:54:51

I do think it is just a swearword now and the true meaning has now gone, many children are^ bastard children^ these days and there is no stigma attached that has to be a good thing

Pumpkinpositive Sat 01-Mar-14 10:55:18

Because it has been reclaimed. I doubt if half of the younger generation eve know the original meaning.

Much like 'gay' - no one uses that to mean happy these days, do they?

FoxesRevenge Sat 01-Mar-14 10:55:19

You use a derogatory word to be offensive to someone, that's the point. You wouldn't call someone a fluffy kitten in the hope of hurting them would you. If we just stopped swearing and cursing at each other I'm sure the world would be a nicer place smile

Teeb Sat 01-Mar-14 10:56:00

Using the term for it's intended meaning would now be offensive.

Using the term as a generic swear word/insult isn't especially offensive (other than causing an efficient amount of intended offence.)

mrsjay Sat 01-Mar-14 10:57:57

foxes you are right i don't really like swearing either

comicsansisevil Sat 01-Mar-14 10:58:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Sat 01-Mar-14 11:03:18

It not being used in its original way is not the whole reason it has no power any more. imo. I think it's that not only has it lost its original meaning, but what it originally meant no longer matters as there is no longer any negative perception about it as a state of being. iyswim.

That's why it is different from, for example, old words used to describe people with disabilities (usually obsolete medical terms or abbreviations of them) that although are no longer used to refer to that group still have the power to hurt and offend because the attitudes towards the group are still so overwhelmingly negative.

When a term is the worst word you can think to call someone because the group is the worst thing to be - it's a problem and always will be.

I think that's why bastard has no power as a term meaning illegitimate. Because people no longer judge you, or look down at you, or think of you as less than human if your parents aren't married.

I know that's waffly, but in my defence I am really poorly and off my face on strong painkillers grin so if you can fight your way through all that to the point that I am trying to make, reward yourself with this. cake

VeggySausage Sat 01-Mar-14 11:03:37

DH is a bastard (technically). My mother was a bastard. My father was a bastard.

My parents are divorced does that make me a bastard?

The problem with using homophobic or disablist or sexist or racist languages is those people are all currently being held back by the system we live in.

there is no real stigma in our culture anymore against children of the unmarried. IN fact they may be in the majority now? Certainly there would be a stigma in some countries and it would be cruel to use the equivalent word there. But here, nah. It's a great word

So in other words YABU

ComposHat Sat 01-Mar-14 11:17:17

I think, like bugger, prat and sod it is so divorced from its original meaning that they no longer carry offence to specific groups and are generalised insults. They are used in ways in which make no sense given the original context eg. something hurting like a bastard.

CoffeeTea103 Sat 01-Mar-14 11:35:47

Yanbu in thinking that it shouldn't be used but yabu if you think it will stop.

KissesBreakingWave Sat 01-Mar-14 11:36:00

I was born a bastard (in both sense of the word grin) and don't really object to that. Calling someone illegitimate because their parents weren't sanctified by state and/or church? THAT is offensive.

LouiseSmith Sat 01-Mar-14 11:44:12

My son is a bastard, as are many of my friends and there children.

I still use the term.

FourEyesGood Sat 01-Mar-14 11:45:20

YABU. If I call someone a cunt, I don't really think that s/he is a vagina. Bastard is just a swear word - and a great one at that (although I don't like it pronounced with a long A sound - it's got to be the Sean Bean style pronunciation).

Pipbin Sat 01-Mar-14 11:49:44

We don't talk of children being 'born on the wrong side of the bed sheets' or even as clearly as being illegitimate any more. It no longer has a stigma. Unlike the 'n' word, it no longer has a meaning.
It is also the name of a wood working rasp. No point in taking offence really is there?

nouvellevag Sat 01-Mar-14 12:19:58

I'm a bastard child (grin)and couldn't give a crap about the word bastard. Honestly, the days when having unmarried parents was a Big Thing for most people are far in the past. It's extremely common, and the only person I've ever known bat an eyelid at a child born out of wedlock is DH's deeply religious, deeply unpleasant and very strange uncle. It doesn't carry the stigma it did a few generations ago.

thinking101 Sat 01-Mar-14 12:22:07

context bloody fucking hell

shouldnthavesaid Sat 01-Mar-14 12:24:54

The only person I and several others call a bastard is my father - because in both senses of the word, he is one. I don't use it to refer to the fact that he was born to an unmarried mum though - I just use it because it's the easiest way to affirm to people that I don't like him..

It doesn't carry any stigma anymore, so the word has no power at all as many have pointed out. FWIW I'm imagining some people - especially younger generations - will have no idea that it has had other meanings/uses in the past.

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