Hello, I'm Reece and I'm doing an English Project for my A-Levels, around whether men or women swear more, and if it is deemed acceptable for women to swear. My question to you is, in what situations is it OK for women to swear and does it make you look good? Replies would be amazing as this would be my background research for my project! Thanks
If you truly are going to consider someone's appearance of gender and their language use you're going to need to do some detailed reading on gender identity and performance too. Thinking about this in superficial, artificial gender binary terms will mean your project will be superficial and irrelevant from the outset.
I think Robin Lakoff wrote about this, have you started with the research already done by gender language theorists? For A level background research, you're going to need to phrase your questions more carefully.
Oh come on Reece, use your common sense a bit! A quiet "shit" when you can't find your car keys is very different to a "fuck off out my way!" To an elderly lady ahead of you in the queue. And why is women's swearing the issue here?
This topic has been done to death in A level projects to the point where my exam board actually advise against it as there is pretty much nothing 'new' to say on the subject. You also need to make sure you frame your investigation around an explicitly language based issue - at the moment this is veering towards a sociology issue. Try gathering your thoughts and phrasing them as a hypothesis based on what you expect to find. It won't matter if you prove your hypothesis wrong (in terms of marks - or at least it doesn't under the exam board I use) as long as you write it up properly and explain yourself clearly.
If it is less acceptable for women to swear, I blame the patriarchal society and the ensuing sexism that creates a restrictive, idealised image of what women should be. My grandfather was a Victorian. He believed that women should not swear, raise their voices, wear trousers... I find aggressive swearing unacceptable in either sex. That constant use of foul language without extreme provocation slants my opinion of the individual doing it. (prejudice, I know) I find random, unneccesary swearing in teenagers irritating and usually done because they think it makes them look good, or because it's so much a part of their lives that they don't even think about it. But ' in what situations is it OK for women to swear and does it make you look good?' The individual adult sets the parameters within which they swear. Whether it's OK or not depends on the audience.
Boggling now, I'm 41 and while I temper my swearing to my audience (nothing at all in front of most people, fuck only in front of close friends, cunt only on MN where it has different meanings anyway) it never occurred to me to relate it to my genitals. And I definitely don't do it to "look good", what a weird idea.
Maybe you should just do a study of swearing on Mumsnet, Reece, where recognised epithets include wankstain, cockwomble and fucknugget and we're unique (I think) in not having a swear filter. It sounds as if it might be a bit more original.
Heavens to Betsy, Reece! We don't have foul language round 'ere. We jest, of course. However, you have posted on a bloggers' talk board so we're going to move this thread over to Surveys, Students Non-Profits and Start-ups in just a moment. Good luck with your project.