It might be 2018 but women are still told that it’s ‘unbecoming’ of a lady to swear. Preferences are preferences when it comes to dating and it’s understandable if you prefer a partner who doesn’t have a foul mouth.
But it’s disturbing when women especially are told that swearing is unattractive or that it is too masculine because it presupposes that women have a duty to appear attractive.
We do not. And it borders on how we view language ownership, and men seem to have some sort of monopoly on aspects of it, like profanity.
The same sexist attitude extends to women who speak in slang or certain vernaculars i.e ‘street’ who might be told that it doesn’t suit them.
A language consultant at King College London, Tony Thorne tells Metro.co.uk that, thankfully, gender roles are changing and men are (or will have to be) coming to terms that language should have an equal playing field.
He says: ‘Both gender fluidity and the questioning of gender norms have changed perceptions of feminine behaviour and masculine responses fundamentally and the effect of social media in empowering women and giving them an equal voice.
‘But we can see from messages on social media that many men have not evolved, cling to macho attitudes whereby – probably because they feel embattled and insecure – they choose to, or pretend to believe in such dated concepts as “ladylike women don’t use bad language”.’
So what do blokes think about women swearing these days? ‘Personally, I don’t find unattractive, but I do understand that some will say different.
But I don’t swear myself so I try to make those around me do the same,’ says Jodel, 23. In an earlier conversation, he told me that he doesn’t find it appealing when girls speak in certain dialects, for example, a colloquial regional slang.
Hugh, 25, on the other hand does find swearing a put-off. ‘I find it quite vulgar if a woman swears. I feel it makes them seem more masculine if she does. I’m more used to men swearing more. To be honest, I try not to swear myself because it isn’t good manners’.
While they may not intend to take full ownership of profanity and also slang language, men who feel that women shouldn’t act this way just by virtue of being female, need to realise that this is essentially what they are propagating, that they are the sole users of this territory.
‘There is an expectation that girls shouldn’t cuss and swear or use the extreme sexual terminology that boys use to ‘big themselves up’ and the only way for young males to justify uncomfortable feelings towards girls using this language is to tell them it’s not sexy,’ adds Tony.
If anything, studies have shown that honest and intelligent people swear more – that may be why women are swearing more. While not all men feel that women shouldn’t swear and/or use slang terms, those who do might want to dig deeper and ask themselves why they’ve put up limitations on what women can and should do.