Boys Can Curse But Girls Can’t?

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About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. Nick, mostly says:

    I used to work in a private Catholic high school, and one of my favorite students used to curse like a sailor (at least that’s how she described herself). But being a dorm parent in a girls dorm wiped away any illusions I had about them being the “fairer sex.”

  2. Alyssa Royse says:

    What the fuck?

    Back in the old days, when I was a creative writing teacher in the juvenile prison system in Saint Louis, my kids used to ask me about swearing all the time. I told them they could swear all they wanted, but they needed to know two things: It will not impress or shock me, and they couldn’t swear instead of communicating. So, if they were going to swear, I would assume there was something really important behind that language, and they had to be prepared to express it.

    “What do you mean?”

    “You can call me a goddamned mother fucking bitch if you want. But if you do, I’m going to stand right here while you explain what I did to make you feel that way, how you feel and what you want us to do to change the situation.”

    They swore a lot less, because they realized it was often a waste of time. But when they did, they did it really will, and with great impact.

  3. Boys are expected to swear, because they’re intrinsically unrefined and dirty and gross, a stereotype promulgated by every form of media, all day.

    Oh not just expected but rather demanded. Swearing, when used improperly, is often used to take the place of what one really wants to say. It becomes a form of communication that covers up what they are really feeling.

    This rule is basically teaching girls how to communicate properly and throwing up yet another roadblock in front of boys that keeps them from communicating properly. And then when they fail to communicate properly it’s somehow their own fault.

    I personally have begun to use cursing as a flame to burn off the extra rage I feel in a situation and then follow with a standard more calm explanation afterward (or in some cases I’ll start calm and once I explain I burn off the excess).

    (But of course I have to admit that when comparing this to my own school days where it was quite literally the case where boys got in more trouble for hitting girls than the vice versa, assuiuming she got in trouble in the first place, I have a hard time feeling anything along the lines of sympathy over this.)

  4. Alanna G. says:

    The timing of this article is great. I am a female graduate student at one of the largest catholic universities in the country. Today I dropped the f-bomb in front of a female first year student in a casual environment, figuring that at this point in the school year the freshmen should be shockproof. But the look on her face said otherwise. It’s a shame that in this day and age that women are still being told what and what not to say.

  5. John Anderson says:

    I often ask this question when talking with fellow men about sexist laws that only or mainly benefit women. Does it hurt men? What I mean is if something benefits women, isn’t it a good thing even if it doesn’t benefit men as long as it doesn’t harm men? It would be better if it benefits both, but that doesn’t make it bad. It just means it could be better. Is a no swearing pledge a good thing? If it is then this is a good thing, but it could be better. I think we need to start approaching things in that light.


  1. [...] Noah Brand has a few choice words for the sexist stereotypes surrounding a few choice words.  [...]

  2. […] the same website, a Catholic school required the girls to take a no-swearing pledge while the boys looked on silently, highlighting a double-standard when it comes to gender and swearing: girls are judged more harshly […]

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