For the most part, our adventures in Paris have been very pleasant. We are in a residential neighborhood far from most of the tourist places and the shopkeepers and waiters have been kind and patient.
But tonight we went to the Pigalle neighborhood, or red light district. I was a bit put off at first, as the only women we saw were "hostesses"( who just looked sad and desperate, I wanted to pay their rent and feed their kids), but we had a blast at the erotic bookstore and then settled into the patio of a brasserrie and drank a hit load of wine. The area was lousy with drunk Brits. There was even a broken bottle fight. But eventually the bar we were at emptied of all the tourists but us. Next to us was a table full of drunk french men.
Ruth, being the awesome phenom that she is, is fluent in french and totally understood when the french drunks started talking shit about us. She asked them if they had a problem, but that didn't shut them up. I could feel the cockswagger vibe coming off them, I think any women in the world understands the universal language of asshole misogynists. But it wasn't until we got back to our apartment that Ruth felt comfortable telling me exactly what they were saying.
"For the right amount of money, we could fuck them both"
Now had I known that was the gist of their conversation, I would have pulled the ugly American card. I am seething right now because I didn't get to say what I would have said to them in English. "Really, how much have you got? Oh I'm sorry, you don't have enough for me to fuck such a small dick"
On the other hand, all of the North African immigrants we have met have been exceptionally kind and respectful. Next time some dickwad wants to go on and on about how much more sexually liberated Europe is than the rest of the world, I am going to remember the fucking french men and then punch someone in the face. The next time someone declares that all muslims are sexists, I'm going to do the same thing. Misogyny is everywhere and kindness often only comes from people with little power.
but something has been really pissing me off lately.
I swear. A. Lot. I use "colorful language" pretty loosely. I use the word "Fuck" like a comma. Sometimes when I write I use a lot of slang and "profanity", and I feel like it gets my point across. I am a grown up. A fucking "adult", so if I want to rip loose with a few good "fuck that"'s and "to hell with this"'s, I am going to. My writing is pretty damn good, I wouldn't be getting published now and then if it wasn't.
I am getting a little sick and tired of hearing people criticize writers, speakers, activists, especially women, for swearing. If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read in a comment that I should watch my language, or that swearing makes me seem immature, or that using a "cuss word" (seriously, does anyone who actually "cusses" use the word "cuss"?) detracts from my point I could give up writing altogether and retire to a tropical island.
Swearing doesn't show that you are uneducated or that you don't know what you are talking about. It doesn't mean that you lack the skills to verbalize something in a more "friendly" way. It sure as hell doesn't mean that we have no better way to say something. Sometimes the best sentiment out there is "right the fuck on".
There are many, countless intelligent writers out there, many more so than myself, who are more than comfortable using "foul" language regularly. Whether it be Cara at the Curvature, or Roy at No Cookies for Me, Jill or Zuzu et al at Feministe, the wonderful team at Shakesville, any of the ladies at Feminising, BlackAmazon, or our very own Red Queen, the fact that we swear doesn't detract or lessen the message. I would dare anyone to call any of them uneducated. There are plenty of people out there who are saying things "politely", and frankly, I don't think it is getting the message across. What is happening when we decide to swear in our writing is that we are making people pay attention. We are making people wiggle in their chairs and think "Oh, no! She didn't!", and I am going to tell you, "Oh, yes! She did!". We have got you thinking, and if all you can see is the swearing and "impolite" language, then I think you might be either reading the wrong blogs, books, articles, or your brain just isn't capable of handling the message. If all you can see are the trees, get the hell out of the forest.
I am done taking criticism because I use any type of swearing. If you want to police language, put your efforts on the people throwing around "gay" or "faggot" as if it is an insult, or have a round or two with someone who thinks it's OK to call a woman a "bitch" or a "cunt", or to say that someone who enjoys having sex is a "slut" or "whore". Focus your censorship on someone who is using hateful speech to keep someone in their place, usually a woman (or, for that matter, calling a man a "pussy" or "girl" as a way to insult him, cuz you know, that is the worst thing a man can be, the strongest human anatomy unit ever...don't believe me...what do men have that stretches to about 300 times it's size and shoots whole people forcefully out of a ten centimeter hole?).
We are a culture all our own. We are writers, speakers, activists and feminists who are finished being "polite", worrying about who is going to be offended reading a few choice four letter cherries and we are going to say exactly what we think exactly the way we see fit. If you don't like it the door is over there, and I promise not to get choked up.
And if you are one of us, thank-you for taking the time to stop by. Take the message with you when you leave and pass it on.
I made a promise to the Queen to report on this year's WaPo "Peep Show" contest (I can't find it on YouTube yet to post the actual video, so you have to follow the link. CLICK THE LINK!!!). A few national papers do a diorama contest featuring those disgustingly sugary snack that some people mistakenly think are for eating. I have a news flash...Peeps are for Playing!
Most famously for microwaving! Seriously, if you haven't tried the Peeps in the micro yet, you simply must! But use a paper plate, I have ruined too many good plates with this demonstration.
So, Happy Freakin' Easter, Peeps and loyal subjects.