Why are f#@k and c&%t so bad?

There are swear word and words you do not use in polite company such as shit, bitch, pussy, damn, hell, etc. (yes I know YMMV on some of these). But why do the two words fuck and cunt have a special honor in the pantheon of rude words? Say “shit!” all you want in a card-room and no one bats an eye but say “fuck” and you get a warning or removed from the table. Correct me if I’m wrong but you can’t even say “fuck” in the pit.* Call a woman a bitch or talk about her pussy/snatch/lovehole/silk igloo and she may be offended but throw cunt in there and you’re at a whole new level. In fact, I think a man calling a woman a cunt is taken by society as more offensive than a white man calling a black man a nigger and “nigger” is about as offensive as you can get.

So why is it that “fuck” and “cunt” are pretty much verboten where ever you go even when other offensive words are allowed (or at least condoned)? Maybe there is a GQ answer here but I suspect it will be a lot of opinions and talking about how words make me feel so that’s why this is in GD.

  • I’m hoping the mods let my use of these words in this thread go since I’m looking for a mature discussion on the issue.

You’re wrong. :smiley:

You can say it in every SD forum.

I would agree that “fuck” is worse than words like “shit”, “piss” etc. But I would disagree that “cunt” is worse than “nigger”, though I would agree that both are pretty much the two most generally offensive words based on my experience. As for why, I think the words we find offensive are reflective of the society we live in. If a religious culture, taking the Lord’s name in vein or any ideas that go with that are offensive. In a prude culture, sexual acts and bodily functions are offensive.

As I see it, our culture is getting away from being as religious and is less prude than it’s ever been, but we’re also more aware of bigotry, so this is why “nigger” and “cunt” are at the top, because one is overtly racist and the other is overtly sexist. This is also why I think “fuck” is still worse than most others, because it ties directly to sex, whereas a word like “shit” is just related to a bodily function. And “bitch” is generally not all that bad because, though it can be used in a sexist way, it has gotten pretty wide usage in other ways and generally anyone that wants to be sexist will use “cunt” instead.

Personally, though I’d like to see a culture where we don’t have any words that are considered completely off-limits, and instead we will condone or condemn what is said based upon the intent, I’d actually say I think the change in these bad words is generally a good thing. That our culture has shifted in such a way that overt racism went from not only socially acceptable but expected, to being one of the biggest social taboos, I think shows progress in the right direction.

The very short answer is that speakers of the language agree some words are worse than others. The reasons include denotation and connotation and the history behind the words. People sometimes want there to be a strictly logical set of rules for this stuff, and that’s just not how it works.

Eh. Fuck used to have that mystique, but I think it’s slowly but surely losing it. It may always be heavier than “damn”, the mildest (IMO) of profanities that actually deserves to be called a profanity, but it’s no longer THE WORD. It lost its special status because it became commonly used in movies and (premium cable) TV shows. When you hear some variation on the word “fuck”, say, 369 times in The Wolf of Wall Street, or roughly once every twenty seconds, it loses some of its power.

Cunt has moved into that position. Part of that is by analogy to nigger. I guess bitch lost out on the honor because it’s a bit too flexible; cunt’s just cunt. You can’t cunt someone out, and while female dogs have cunts, no animal is a cunt. (Well, my cat’s a cunt sometimes, but hey, she’s a cat.) This, by the way, is why I suspect cunt can’t be undermined by overuse in the way fuck has been. Fuck, aside from its many definable meanings, is a general-purpose intensifier. You can’t do that with cunt. Cunt, at present, pretty much always means vulvagina or, by extension, a woman. (You can also use it as a general insult at a man, and we’ve got cunty that’s more or less like bitchy, but that’s about it.) Finally, in no way is calling a woman a cunt to her face even remotely close to calling a person of color a nigger. Not the same league, not even the same damn sport.

Anyway, why fuck and cunt get special treatment? I dunno. Speculating, they’ve got a nice hard sound to them that sorta grates on the ear. No, not grates–punches. They’re like an aural punch. So that’s my thoughts. Also, I enjoyed getting to type fuck and cunt a lot in this post, cause I’m secretly still 8 years old. :slight_smile:

More than that. (NSFW): http://juurianchi.tumblr.com/post/73974605047/this-supercut-of-every-f-bomb-in-the-wolf-of-wall

Perhaps an unwritten rule but some words have to be considered "worse’ than others or the language as a whole has no meaning.

I hit a deer and smash up my car “Aw fiddlesticks” just doesn’t impress the same angst of frustration as “FUUUUUUCK!!!”

Times change and so does the meaning of language. When I was a kid in the 60’s calling a guy a dick was almost as bad of an insult as calling a girl a cunt. Now it’s almost a silly insult at best.

As George Carlin said, context. Always context. If it’s 95 degrees on July 4th and you say to your woman “Are you fucking hot, cunt?” there’s probably going to be a problem.
If you’re making love to her and say “I love fucking your hot cunt” you may get away with that.


It’s entirely due to social trends. “Cunt” is more acceptable in the UK than in US, although it seems like it’s use is on the uptick over the past decade.

Compare and contrast. (Utterly NSFW)

Derp. Typo–I was looking at the list of fuckiest movies over on wikipedia and apparently failed to bring the right numbers over. 569 is the correct number (though I was right on the fucks/minute, which wiki lists more specifically as 3.18.)

“Tell me, do you always curse this much?”

“What are you, a Mormon?”

“Yes, I’m a Mormon, that’s why I just smoked a pack of Newports and drank three vodka tonics. I mean, when I first met you, you were all ‘Oh phooey, I burnt the darn muffins.’ Now, you go into a bar and ten minutes later sailors come running out. What up with that?”

The exact number varies by source:

The makers of the video I linked to counted 522. Since they seem to have put the most effort into counting, I’ll go with them. :smiley:

Fair enough. If my math is correct, that gives that video a very respectable 120+ fucks per minute. Hollywood (and porn industry), you have some catching up to do. :stuck_out_tongue:

Because it is a Human social requirement that there be some forms of expression considered impolite, some offensive, some extremely offensive. Words will move up and down the scale over time and new (or rather, old) words will take their place. But there are always going to be a handful at that bleeding edge of offense.

“Fuck” has lost most of it’s punch, it isn’t really at the extreme anymore.
“Cunt” I think has become more ‘offensive’ in my lifetime.

That would be 2 fucks every second. :eek:

It’s about 3 fucks a minute.

I don’t think I’ve given 522 fucks in my entire life.

I disagree. I think the two are the same degree of heinous insult.

However, I will use cunt because I happen to like that word (I know, unusual for a woman) because it’s so powerful and I give zero fucks who is offended by it. Although I do use it judiciously; I think overuse would take some of the gasp out of it. I never use n***** because that shit offends me. Sadly, I’ll tolerate misogynist slurs but I won’t tolerate racist slurs. But that’s just me.

One point I wanted to bring up is that, in the UK, AFAIK, cunt is on the same level as bitch and not nearly as pearl-clutching-inducing as it is on this side of the pond. So I think there’s some cultural context at play that inform our opinions about words like this. I don’t know if n****** is the same hot-button slur overseas as it is in this country because of our history with that word with respect to the Civil Rights Movement.

Silk Igloo?

He’s not just wrong, he’s fucking wrong. You can say fuck anywhere on the Dope.