When I was a child, like most other kids, I was instructed that the f-word was a no-no word: too horrendous to utter, a disgrace to even mention and the most vulgar thing I could ever say.
Upon learning this, some kids made this a staple in their vocabulary. Others tiptoed around the word, ever fearful that a nearby parental ear would usher in an adolescent Armageddon. I was indifferent, and took the lesson as matter of fact.
However, now that I am grown, I have made a stunning discovery: everyone, at some point or another, says ÔfuckÕ.
The elderly lady down the street, the hallowed professor at college, the religious zealot with informational pamphlets, our parents; all cannot claim that theyÕve never uttered the demonized adjective, verb, and sometimes noun.
What remains most interesting though, besides the hypocrisy of the matter, is that the f-word is still treated as filth despite its frequent use. To this, there are two main explanations often given by adults to children, that it offends God or that itÕs simply vulgar.
Though I cannot speak for all religions or even fellow Christians, I still believe that God could care less if you say the word ÔfuckÕ. When most people say the f-word, the last thing on their mind is yelling at some celestial deity Ð theyÕre talking about sex, expressing anger, or using it comically.
ThatÕs the beauty of language, after all. Words evolve throughout time and people, and often form into something completely opposite to what it was once held.
he word ÔliterallyÕ, in fact, was just changed to include the meaning of ÔfigurativelyÕ.
Therefore, the whole argument that the f-word defames God falls flat when someone is using the f-word and not defaming God.
With that, we are left with the f-word as wretched for being Ôinnately vulgarÕ. While this could be true, as there are certainly times when its sexual connotation could be offensive, most often it depends on peopleÕs inference. Some people donÕt care for the word, some people like it, some people cringe and flail upon the wordÕs arrival.
This being said, I theorize that the f-word retains its taboo-status because itÕs used as a class-dividing tool. For if everyone uses the word, and its horrid nature is derived from the receptorÕs inference, then we are left with no other option.
For most kids, adults tell them to not hang around with kids who speak the f-word. We later learn to never cuss in a place of business, professionalism, or special meaning. We are built up to enter a cuss-free world, and are then promptly greeted by a cuss-imbued utopia.
In that respect, the f-word is harnessed by those who wish to distance themselves from others. They complain and loathe the atrocious word, make sure to keep Ôthose typesÕ far away from them, but still use the word in their private lives.
This hypocrisy is merely the adult form of what is taught to kids; no-no words that kids may not use become go-go words that signal when Ôthat personÕ has entered the room.
Maybe before we tell kids whatÕs just or unjust, whatÕs good or evil, whatÕs nice and whatÕs vulgar, we should realize that such spectrums are not black and white.
In fact, what may make something so horrible isnÕt the thing itself, but instead those who are horrified of it.