Breaking News: Vulgar Females Marring Women’s Media With Swear Words

the fuck sir

This just in: women swear, too! Stop the presses! No, but seriously — halt the presses, because the pages of magazines are apparently where brave New York Times writer Christine Haughney uncovered this terrifying trend. Fortunately, she exposed it in her article a couple days ago about how female-centric media are starting to unabashedly, offensively, grotesquely use curse words.

In her enlightening piece, Haughney discusses the ways in which women’s magazines have begun to swear in titles, articles and even on their covers.

The long-running debate in women’s magazines — how frank can they be? — seems to have shifted, as editors throughout the industry are sprinkling more curse words on their covers and weaving expletives into the headlines and the copy between the photos of celebrities with flawless skin.

Oh good god, not by the flawless skin. Anywhere but next to the heavily Photoshopped Covergirl ads and classic “this month’s hot guy” articles!

She goes on to note several instances in which swear words have been used, including November 2011′s Glamour cover having the article title, “Ways To Get Your Sh*t Together” and in its “November 2012 issue there was an article, with a headline that included a vulgar word, about workouts to improve the derrière.” Oh, you mean “ass”? The shame.

Women, as you may or may not know, are capable of using the exact same words as men. Fucked up, am I right? (Yes, I couldn’t help myself.) In fact, we’ve always been able to use those words; it’s just been societal standards that have kept us from using “unladylike” terms. Her apparent disdain for the “vulgarity” now used in women’s magazines and on our websites is ridiculous. After all, those aforementioned guidelines to what being a woman entails versus how men can behave — which is all-to forgiven, even in cases wherein their words actually hurt other people — are outdated and were never necessary in the first place.

Now, I thoroughly believe there is a time and place for cursing. Personally, I do it all the time unless I’m around specific people whom I know it makes uncomfortable (such as my grandparents) or in situations where it’s inappropriate (ex.: interviews, meetings, classes). But when it comes to writing for a large audience? I have no qualms with swearing because I generally write how I speak, and as a frequent user of the phrase “fuckmuffins” when stressed out, I find it difficult to completely avoid swearing.

Haughney also apparently believes that using swear words is something people do for publicitiy, stating: “Attention-starved celebrities also seem to be latching on to this trend” and going on to insult Lady Gaga for making “salty quotations.” Now, all of Gaga’s highly likely need for attention aside, why on earth would swearing be something to do for “attention” after, oh, childhood? Considering that’s around the last time people swearing was considered shocking — and even that line’s debatable these days — I can’t imagine that a celebrity’s publicist would say, “Hey, you know how you haven’t gotten a lot of press lately? You should say ‘fuck’ to somebody!”

Fortunately, the editors of these media sources have rational reasoning for why things have changed (whereas mine would be some inarticulate, crude version of “because we fucking can, obviously”). Bonnie Fuller, former editor of Cosmopolitan and Us Weekly, stated that audiences do not care about swear words. “It’s irrelevant to them,” and when it comes to celebrities’ words, readers “don’t want their quotes altered.” And why would they, anyway? If you’ve come to a website or picked up a magazine to read about a specific person, wouldn’t you want to read how they actually speak — thus humanizing them and making them considerably more relatable — versus some much more sterile version? If they rarely swear or use any form of obscenity because that’s in their images (hi, Taylor Swift), then that makes sense; if you’re reading about Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj, however, you will likely not expect a whole lot of Betty Draper talk.

Though we all have our days, I suppose.

Glamour editor in chief Cynthia Leive said, “The culture has changed, so we’ve changed. It’s how our main staff, many who are under 30, talk. Certain words have gone from being shocking to being neutered.” And she’s absolutely correct: we are simply not shocked by so-called naughty words any longer. Linguistics professor Robin Lakoff, also quoted in Haughney’s piece, stated that females cursing has long been considered “dangerous” because curse words “express anger and act as a substitute for a physical expression of anger.” Women, of course, have always been told to not express deep anger the way men are allowed to, and to do so would make them irrational or unfeminine. Plus, these words are now not scary or threatening or menacing unless the actual tone itself is scary, threatening and menacing.

“Women’s magazines perhaps haven’t pushed the boundaries enough yet to see whether readers will push back,” Haughney says, but I disagree. I think women’s magazines are not necessarily pushing the boundaries — except those still enforced by presumably old-fashioned folks who have yet to acknowledge that men and women are, indeed, capable of and allowed to perform the same actions — but are, in fact, just reflecting the way that women speak today. These particular boundaries haven’t been solid in ages. They don’t need to do anything because it is the readers who will be doing the pushing, not the magazines themselves.

Picture: UnderConsideration

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    • Amanda Chatel

      “You asshole fuck muffin jerkface.” Wow. What a vulgar little shit you are, Sam. I’m fucking appalled.

    • Breezy

      I’m still trying to break my lovely mother of being shocked when profanity emerges from her sweet little daughter’s face. Also her list of things “pretty girls don’t say” (which she is mostly sarcastic about) is much too inclusive. Last night she told me not to say dildo in the kitchen. Dildo. Really?