I have to just go on ahead and say something. Are you ready? It might ruffle your feathers a little bit, so be ready.
I think the romanticization of swearing in blog posts is really, really stupid.
Phew. I feel better.
I remember when I first started blogging and I heard about bloggers who were called things like “edgy,” “brave,” or otherwise “awesome.” The majority of people so labeled write blog posts that kind of feel like you ran into a sailor who decided to write about content marketing, social media, or something related. Bloggers labeled “edgy” or “brave” average 2-3 f-bombs a post. Often their headlines get you started with a nice f-bomb or how “crappy” something is or how they’re calling BS or how so and so is an a-hole, etc.
What’s really interesting is that a lot of female bloggers seem to have found success in the online world not because they are writing content that is particularly useful or actionable but rather because they are writing content that is “edgy and brave.” In other words, they are cussing a lot.
Oh my, a woman who swears! How AWESOME!
Or is it?
I’m no prude
Let me take one possible response to this post out of play immediately. It would be easy to assume that I am writing this from the perspective of some fragile little lady who just thinks swearing is the worst thing since unsliced bread. To be honest, and to my father’s chagrin, I have quite the potty mouth, especially when playing Mario Brothers on the Wii, apparently. I can’t sing some of my most favorite songs in polite company because they are rife with yucky words. Cussing is not something I think about if I’m in familiar company or in a setting where it doesn’t seem completely inappropriate.
‘Nuff said, right?
So why does blogging f-bombs p…tick me off?
Truthfully, the act of incorporating cuss words into blog posts doesn’t really rub me the wrong way. I mean, it depends on the blog site, I suppose. If you are writing as the CEO of a company, it’s my personal opinion that you shouldn’t sit there and write like you’re a rapper straight outta Compton. But that’s just me. A blogging style is a blogging style.Who am I to tell anyone what to do?
What bugs me is a two-fold issue. First, there is the omnipresent feeling that if you are using cuss words in your blog posts, you are REALLY at the peak of the blogging game. Ain’t nobody holding you back, man. You are going to write naughty words and you’re going to use them as often as possible.
This strikes me as a very juvenile way to approach writing, especially writing that is often developed in a professional setting. Now, maybe I’m crazy (many of accused me of such), but if I am sitting down with a new client, am I going to sit there and talk like Cartman from South Park? Am I even going to discuss my favorite scenes from South Park? I wouldn’t. So here on my blog, which is an online representation of my professional self, I do not use that kind of language or those kinds of allusions.
The other problem I have though is that there seems to be a sentiment that a woman blogger can make a bigger splash if she cusses as much as possible. If you run down the list of some of the most highly-trafficked blog sites run by women, you are likely to see a plethora of unsavory words. These women are literally shining with the “I’m as macho as any man” aura. They’re going to be tough and they’re going to cuss and they’re going to call people out and talk about how stupid everyone else is.
Why is that awesome again?
The Liz Strauss model
Personally, I would love to see more women given kudos who write like Liz Strauss. Other women who fall into this category include Lisa Petrilli, Heidi Cohen, Peg Fitzpatrick, and Sherree Worrell. These women do not need to add a layer of 6″ thick machismo to their blogs for the excellent content to get shared and noticed. They are applauded, like many male bloggers are, because their posts are really, really good. There is content people can use. There is content that is helpful.
Now that’s a concept. Applauding bloggers for writing good content. Huh.
If you’re a cusser, you’re a cusser.
Of course, there are women who just genuinely are potty mouths and don’t really care what anybody thinks, just like there are men who don’t care what kind of language they use. That’s groovy and stuff. I would still posit that you are not wreaking of professionalism when you write that way, but that’s just me and my background. However, if a person is writing in a manner true to him or herself, you can tell. And their content will still have substance. The people who are just cussing because it’s “cool” you can also identify pretty easily. For example, their content really doesn’t leave you thinking anything other than, “Wow, that was a lot of cuss words for such a short post.”
Am I on to something here? Am I *really* crazy? What are your thoughts on this issue? I’d love to hear ’em!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ventriloblog/15498679/ via Creative Commons