Gender, Reader Polls, Women's Issues

Cursing On The Job: Should You Do It, Ladies?

Staci here. Earlier this week, in response to a reader question, Vivia Chen at The Careerist engaged in a discussion about female lawyers who curse like sailors. She noted that she found cursing to be “rather cathartic,” but her takeaway was this: “If four-letter words just roll off your tongue, go for it. And if people have problems with your style, you can tell them where to stick it.”

And while staying true to yourself and unleashing as many f-bombs as you can may be alright in some circumstances (i.e., social settings), in the workplace, it can lead to some rather negative consequences — for both women and men. But that’s really beside the point, because cursing on the job is just plain disgusting, no matter which gender it’s coming from.

I know that I may get my bra-burning card revoked for this, but I think that it’s even more appalling when it’s coming from a woman. Of course, not everyone agrees with me — one of my fellow editors thinks women should be able to drop as many expletives as they want. Before you tell me where to stick it, let me explain…

It may not seem like it from my posts on ATL, but I tend to hold women to a much higher standard than I do men — which is probably why I get so enraged when women do stupid things. I’m not anti-woman, I’m anti-stupidity, and I think that cursing in professional situations is one of the most stupid things that a woman can do. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, many people think it’s a turn-off, at least on a subconscious level.

Sure, I’ll curse from time to time in my posts, or in my Gchats with fellow editors, but it’s not very often that you’ll find me doing the same thing when I speak at the office or at public events. I censor myself all the time. Why not find a better choice of words to express your feelings? If you can’t put together a sentence without using some form of vulgarity, then you’ve probably got bigger problems than your frequent usage of foul language.

I decided to ask my fellow editors what they thought about women who curse, and this is what they had to say:

Lat: I generally don’t like profanity, but — and maybe this is sexist of me — I find it especially off-putting from women.

Danzig: As a guy with a somewhat crass mouth, I think it’s awesome when women curse. If men can be rude, then go for it, girls.

Needless to say, I agree with Lat on this issue, but Chris has more to say about it, so I’ll turn it over to him.


What is this? The 1840s? A lady shall never wear pants, she shall never use coarse verbiage, and she shall always ride sidesaddle!

If you don’t think swearing is appropriate to begin with, that’s a respectable view. Obviously, if you can’t complete a thought without expletives, that’s a problem. And there’s a time and place for cursing: if you’re around children or old people, keep your trap shut. (Although, hey, my grandmother accidentally taught me the word “jackass” when I was four, and she’s the best grandmother of all time.) But if you don’t approve of swearing, it’s gotta be gender-neutral. I thought we, as a society, were trying to get over this whole kind of double standard. (Side note: how am I the staff feminist here? I’m the token hetero white guy…)

Besides, a woman who can drop a well-timed F bomb is f**king awesome. And sexy to boot. On a professional level, some of the best female editors I’ve ever worked with have fouler mouths than me. It’s the same as when you go drinking. No man wants to deal with some lightweight girl who is under the table after one Cosmo.

Being a lady on the street doesn’t mean you can’t also handle a Manhattan or two and know your way around a few four-letter words.

Readers, where do you stand? Please kindly vote in our f**kin’ reader poll:

Should women curse at work?

  • F**K YEAH, MOTHERF**KER! (52%, 360 Votes)
  • No, it's crude and disgusting. (25%, 176 Votes)
  • Who cares? They'll still get paid the same, even if they do curse like sailors. (23%, 162 Votes)

Total Voters: 697

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Women Who Curse Like Sailors [The Careerist]

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