Elizabeth Austin Response

Topics: Sociology, Heteronormativity Pages: 1 (399 words) Published: October 22, 2012
A Small Plea to Delete a Ubiquitous Expletive Response
In this essay, Elizabeth Austin describes her feelings about the “F” word. She gives a detailed explanation on why it should not be used in the colloquial language. Austin first gives background knowledge about the “F” word and how it came to be as the word it is used now. Austin’s thesis is that the “F” word should not be used in any certain way.

Austin first states that the word should be deleted from our use, but before that we must remove the people who use the word. “Let’s get rid of it. Scholars of social norms say all that’s necessary to remove offensive language from public speech is a critical mass of people willing to take up cudgels against it.” (Austin 6). There are tons of people who use the word and are not willing to get rid of it because they are so used to it. It is one of their words for colloquial language. Austin then describes how women went through different kind of words that described them. ““Produce and animals is what we were,” she recalls. “We were ‘chicks’ and ‘lambs’ and birds’ and bitches,’ and there was always the infamous ‘cherry’”” (Austin 6). She relates this to women because women were able to change the social norm of being called different things. Austin shows that since women can change the social norm, then society can get rid of the “F” word.

Austin continues with the ways we can get rid of the language. “Police should start ticketing drivers who use the “F” word (or the correlating hand gesture)…The Motion Picture Association of America movie rating system should be overhauled to give an automatic NC-17 rating to any film that uses the “F” word even once.” (Austin 8-9). Instead of just spreading the word, Austin thinks that we should take it into action. Actions are bigger than words.

In the end, Austin concludes that we should reconsider using the word at all. “You can still use it as a punch line, if you like. You’ll just risk the freezing silence and...
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