Little Kids Cursing
The latest viral video/advertisement/marketing campaign to hit facebook and social media criticism features a bunch of pre-teen girls dressed as stereotypical princesses as cursing like sailors. The ads are for a “progressive” and for-profit t-shirt company called FCKH8. The young spokespeople say things like “Stop telling girls how to dress, and start teaching boys not to fucking rape.”
The general reaction to these ads seems to be a strong split between people who think it is really awesome and people who think it is highly problematic. Part of the issue seems to be about how people feel about cursing and/or curse words in general. There are also issues about people feeling deeply uncomfortable about social causes and issues becoming products and material for for-profit companies and whether these kids are having their innocence taken from them too early by having them talk about rape and income inequality. Thomas Frank has made a career writing about how Capitalism can seemingly co-opt and takeover everything and anything.
I’m on the side that thinks this ad is highly unproblematic on all fronts. Kids do learn curse words pretty early and often have a way of saying them without realizing their meaning. One friend wrote about how she now needs to watch her language because her two-year old son said “I fucking needed that” after he started watching his favorite cartoon. The kid probably doesn’t realize what he is saying but he knows adults say stuff like “I fucking needed that” when they get some form of release after a tough day and mimicked accordingly.
There also does seem to be a general culture war going on over cursing and whether people should ever guard their language or not. I apparently curse so little that people always feel a need to comment about how little I curse or express amazement when I do say fuck or some other curse word. One of the more common memes I have seen spread around facebook says “Studies show that people who curse tend to be more honest and trustworthy.” There is no mention in the meme about which studies show this or what their methodology is.
To curse or not to curse, seems to be another fight in rebelling against anything that is perceived as being bourgeois for no apparent reason than a feeling that if something is bourgeois it can’t be right. There is a form of activism that would say “Why are you concerned with little kids cursing when X, Y, and a million other injustices and evils are happening all over the world.” I don’t see why it is impossible to be concerned with various injustices but also feel that a video showing little kids cursing is not cool, radical, or acceptable.
The ad seems more about appealing to a certain kind of hip progressive to make a buck than it really does about doing anything to end rape culture or pay disparities between men and women. And I think the kids are being exploited a bit and talking about things that they don’t or shouldn’t comprehend or understand. I am one of those people who is somewhat saddened and turned off by social issue debates becoming capitalist sales product even if I don’t think there is anything that should or can be done about this issue legally. I don’t want to outlaw FCKH8, Upworthy, and similar companies, I just don’t understand how capitalism can be so amoral and unrelenting that it co-opts everything for a buck but this probably makes me very old-fashioned.
It is a good question
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