Foul-Mouthed: Women Now More Vulgar than Ever

January 31, 2012  |  

For the most part, women have always shared dirty jokes between themselves in private but gone are the days when cursing wasn’t seen as ladylike.  With more women pushing the PC boundaries on TV, particularly reality shows, young women and girls are growing raunchier by the day, some say.

Regina Barreca, a feminist scholar and English professor at the University of Connecticut said there may be fewer filters nowadays.

“I think there is less a sense of fear of public shaming. We’ve got all kinds of other things that are permissible. In a way, those are hard-won rights that women have been able to sort of gain … where we’ve been able to speak up and be ambitious and be sexual and control parts of our lives.”

Regina says some women may view the right to be blunt and vulgar as a way of further pushing those boundaries, but when it comes to young girls, people aren’t so thrilled with this trend. A recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute found that girls who watch reality TV expect and accept more conflict in their lives and typically focus more on outward appearance than inner beauty. Specifically:

  • 72% of girls who watch reality TV say they spend a lot of time on their appearance, compared to 42% of non-viewers.
  • 68% of girls who watch reality TV say that it’s in girls’ nature to be catty with one another, compared to 50% who don’t watch reality TV.
  • 28% of girls who watch reality TV say that sometimes you have to be mean to get ahead, compared to 18% of the girls who don’t watch reality TV.

The problem with reality TV, says Jennifer Pozner, author of “Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV,” is that the shows are marketed to women as if they are true reflections of day-to-day life.

Reality TV is “not indicative of women in the culture. Narratives are crafted before they even find the people to cast. And then they cast with a very, very specific set of tropes and stereotypes in mind. You’ve got the Itchbay. The Slore. The good girl who cries all the time — the weepy waif. You’ve got the angry black woman,” Jennifer said.

“I see a big problem with ideas changing in ways that will encourage girls and women to think that they should expect and accept being constantly seen as competitive with other women and expect and accept if they’re not super skinny or they haven’t spent $10,000 on a pair of earrings (that) nobody will value them or that the way to get what they want is to be violent.”

That’s been the issue most black women have with Reality TV shows and that’s the influence Jennifer also says women need to pay more attention to as opposed to a simple increase in common cursing—after all we’re just using the same language that men use on a daily basis and no one bats an eye.

Do you curse regularly or do you still view it as unladylike? Have you noticed women have gotten raunchier in real life with the rise in reality TV shows?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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