Defending four-letter words

By Taylor Best

Would you say that instructors and students should spout curse words such as the “F-bomb” in or outside of class? While I don’t exactly condone cursing loud enough to be heard by my fellow classmates or instructors, arguably, cursing has been shown as an outlet for pain, a non-violent way to communicate anger or frustration, and a means to create bonding among peers by sharing mutual language.

However, while many may be offended at the idea of free-flowing language in or out of the classroom, the most important key is that I, and you, are protected under the First Amendment to express ourselves freely, even if it’s a mere poetic murmur of, “Oh s***, I forgot to turn in my assignment last night.”

Here is a thought-provoking reality: you are among the most privileged 18 to 20-somethings in the entire world, and we, as American college students, live in a day and age where monumental steps have been taken to ensure our basic liberties and rights. According to the First Amendment of the Constitution, we are allowed to express our individuality through freedom of speech. Those 18 to 20-somethings living in Communist North Korea or China would never be afforded such freedom. Cursing is more than just a way to sprinkle emphasis into the way you communicate, it’s a freedom. It’s a right. It’s something that not everyone on a global scale is guaranteed.

For those who don’t curse on the day-to-day basis, bellowing out a “F***!” may alternatively ease your discomfort. According to an article titled, “Cursing Relieves Pain, But Not If Over-Used” from, “Cursing can provide effective, short-term pain relief,” and, “… [it] helps…because of the emotional response it produces in the swearer. The emotion (aggression or anger) leads to what the researchers call ‘stress-induced analgesia’, a natural form of pain relief that results from the surge in adrenaline that accompanies the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response to stress.”

In addition to pain relief, swear words can enable us to react to bad people or stressful situations without having to resort to violence. Instead of punching, kicking or slapping, we can take out a few four-letter words from our curse-word dictionary, which channels and disarms anger effectively. Better a few sharp words than a sharp dagger.

Beyond health and public safety, curse words are associated with bonding among friends, family members or classmates. Swearing, in some circumstances, can represent a release from normal social constraints, or, an indication that we are able to comfortably be ourselves. Imagine watching The Hangover, but instead of the original script, it’s been edited with all colorful language removed in order to appease the audience that believes it offensive. Please, tell me how funny the punch lines would be without any “punch.”

I support cursing from an intellectual standpoint. Depending on who is around – when it is an acceptable time, where you are, and the situation you’re referencing – cursing can enhance your livelihood. The English language is diverse and powerful, and I am an advocate for the infamous four-letter words.