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On Profanity

Over the past several weeks I have had several emails from folks compelled to write to me about my use of “profanity.”
So I thought I would respond to one of them.
Amy,
It is disappointing and downright disrespectful for me to receive email laced with profanity. Do not communicate with me anymore.
Stop while you are ahead. Is this the type of training I would receive from you? I am too intelligent to use profanity. There are other words in the Thesaurus.
– Patricia Hartley
Dear Patricia,
This is the second email you have sent me about my use of profanity. I believe the words you found offensive were “fuck” and “shit.”
Since you took the time out of your day to write, I thought I would share a few thoughts with you about my use of the words “fuck” and “shit.”
The first thing I want to point out is that there is an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every communication I send. Please feel free to use it. All you do is click the link at the bottom of my email and you don’t ever have to receive another communication from me again.
The other thing to keep in mind is that just because you find it disappointing and disrespectful that I choose to use words like “fuck” and “shit” does not mean that I am obligated in any way to discontinue my word choice.
Even if you order me to do so.
In the same way that I am not obligated to wear my hair in a style that you or others find agreeable, dress in a way that you or others find appropriate or make choices about what to do with my body, my time or my finances that you or others find acceptable.
In fact, it has taken many years for me to realize that I am in no way obligated to change any of my behavior for you or any of your friends even if you interpret my behavior as unladylike, unprofessional, lewd, selfish, slutty, materialistic, unrealistic, bitchy, bossy, pretentious, frivolous, offensive, showy, ridiculous or promiscuous.
I am allowed to do, think, say, or wear whatever I want, whenever I want to, wherever I choose to do so and with whomever I choose to do it with.
In fact you might find this surprising but I am actually quite intentional about my use of the words “fuck” and “shit.” Not only do I find the use of these words a handy way to signal my passion or strong opinion on a subject or punctuate a point to get the reader’s attention, I also use these words (fuck and shit) to repel people like YOU who choose to interpret this kind of language as disappointing and disrespectful without taking the time to actually read the writing in question.
I also deliberately use these words to signal to people like you that I don’t actually care about what you think and hopefully set an example to other women who have, like me, been under the mistaken impression that their job as females has been nothing more than to appear agreeable to other people.
Because here’s the thing Patricia, there’s a lot of women going around wasting time silencing themselves out of fear of people like you when, instead, they could be writing, preaching, protesting, creating and serving.
It is my hope that every woman feels free to use their precious time on this planet living a life of authenticity and freedom.
Which begs the question Patricia, what would you be doing if you weren’t spending your time deciding to be disappointed and disrespected by my use of the words fuck and shit? What might you create if you weren’t so busy sending me emails about my conduct, trying to put me in my “place”?
All to say, Patricia, that you matter. Your voice matters. I hope you find it some day.
xo
-a

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