Saying F*** Doesn’t Make You a Feminist

Meg LarsenFebruary 17, 2021

For mature audiences only–mature in the sense of age, not necessarily disposition. In fact, those who possess the maturity of the former but not the latter may benefit most strongly from the point of this particular article.

The other day I was scrolling Instagram when I happened upon a post from a page focused on women’s empowerment: “Breathe and remember who the f[***] you are.” Wow, so great, am I right? If I have a daughter one day, every night before she goes to bed after prayers and bedtime stories, I’m going to lean over, give her a kiss on the forehead, and whisper gently in her ear, “Breathe, and remember who the f*** you are.” That’s how I know she’ll grow up to respect herself. 

This isn’t the first of these posts that I’ve seen. In fact, if you search #womensempowerment, you’ll find quite a few of these kinds of “inspirational” posts, but I have news for the people who post these kinds of sentiments: putting profanity in the middle of a sentence doesn’t make it more meaningful, nor does it make it something worth aspiring to. 

Breathe, by all means, because if you don’t, I’ve heard, there may be some negative consequences that result. Remembering “who you are”, can, of course, go in either direction, depending on whether or not the “you” in question is really worth remembering. If “you” are a basket case, maybe remember who you’d like to be instead. But please, don’t remember who “the f***” you are. I promise you, f***ing has nothing to do with who you are, and focusing on that part of the equation may in fact have the adverse effect of distracting you from the primary focus of the exercise.  

Why have we come to this place as a society, that we think that adding a cuss word to something makes it more profound? I first noticed this trend with female comedians who seemed to think that if they made themselves just as big and bad as the crudest of their male counterparts, they would gain significance, and sadly, in many cases, they were right. Am I the only one who doesn’t think talking about your “c***” onstage constitutes comedy?  Likewise, I do not think that using obscenity in place of a perfectly good punctuation mark makes something clever. 

Did growing up among the proliferation of cheap motivational posters immunize us to the impact of an encouraging word? Have all attempts at positivity gone the way of trite cliche? Or perhaps the problem is rather that the sentiment in question was simply not that great in the first place, and the profanity is instead a red herring meant to distract us from its mediocrity. In either case, women do not need to use expletives, particularly not ones that have all too often been historically used to demean them, to encourage one another. Choose a different word or find something better to say. 

Comments (2)

  • Kelli Antonioli

    February 24, 2021 at 7:46 am

    so spot on! Sometimes I need to remind myself of this!!! Great article and so well written

    1. Meg Larsen

      February 24, 2021 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks Kelli! I need to remind myself of this sometimes too. 🙂

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