Women Swearing

Women Swearing

CESIF Nepal Gender and Inclusion, Thematic Areas Leave a Comment

We live in a society which has deep-rooted patriarchal attitude especially when it comes to women and their rights. Discrimination of women for being women and looking at men as superior beings is still there in our society and we are still sustaining this culture.  Whether a person retains or alters this attitude determines the character of an individual in this society. Although the laws have been passed constitutionally for the change of this kind of attitude, society still cannot overcome it. Women are still slammed for breaking this tradition. Women are asked to be tame for the sake of maintaining this attitude. They cannot speak back and are the victim of this attitude in several ways.

While swearing, women are supposed to be tamed. The practice of swearing is demonizing women. It is a part of our culture though it is not appreciated when women do it. We grow up hearing,receiving and giving it to one another. Swearing words mostly consists of female-centric words as mother, sister, daughter, and female body parts including profanities. Like, sale, Maa…..These words are used anywhere by male and nobody cares about it. Though, a majority of which are directed at men – interestingly are popular for their association with women. Mother-f*****”, “Chu****” (pu***-fu****), “Behenke L***” (sister-f*****), “bastard” and other variants of such – are all profanities that shame women 1 .It has been a free way to demonize female and female body parts.

Because society is scared of speaking women, so they created female-centric swearing words to shut them off 2. Society doesn’t like women speaking, questioning and their free attitude. So, it is the way to take her down by swearing with the word that female body possesses. Swearing represents the male dominated society which they want to promote. In this culture of swearing, women are silenced and in this way, it is harming female prosperity.

Because society is scared of speaking women, so they created female-centric swearing words to shut them off 2. Society doesn’t like women speaking, questioning and their free attitude. So, it is the way to take her down by swearing with the word that female body possesses. Swearing represents the male dominated society which they want to promote. In this culture of swearing, women are silenced and in this way, it is harming female prosperity.

The roots of these gendered profanities can be traced to the age-old discourse of female propriety3.Because, traditionally female are supposed to be quiet, disciplined, decent and obedient and not supposed to question back. They neither raise voice nor can they swear back. If they do they will be tagged as bad character. 

Besides suppressing women’s voices by the means of swearing with women-centered profanities, it is also used for taking revenge as it is a means of expressing anger and disgust. In our society, women are regarded as the honor and pride of the family, so passing a swearing word to any women will disrespect the honor and pride and hurt them4. In this way, male chauvinism has still been preserved in our society.

Female-centric swearing words also help to increase harassment of women, like, eve teasing, rape, molestation 5. The usage of these words to objectify women havebeen so normalized in the society that it is easy to harass women without any hesitation. This culture of swearing is changing the society to a more vulnerable one for women.

Most of the swearing is done by men with men, between friends or relatives but women do nothing against it despite these profanities insulting them. Many times, it causes distress to women. Hence, it is important to challenge the patriarchal attitude of swearing with female-centric words. It is objectifying women and one way to challenge it will be swearing back.

In this regard, Rachel Hoise in Telegraph, put forward why women shouldswear back. She said, ‘women swearing back isrejecting gender roles that defined the roles of old generation5. Swearing back helps to challenge gender roles categorized for male and female in our society.’

Moreover, Rachel provides the reason of swearing as a way to express the frustration women feel about the gender pay gap/sexual harassment6. Swearing is expression of anger and disgust. Hence, by swearing women can rise against harassment because again as it is said, “society is scared of speaking women”.

Though swearing is not appreciated, it is entertained by men proudly while women hesitate to do it. Swearing with female-centric words cannot be stopped so easily. To break the stereotypesthe society has created, it is important for women to swear aswell. Again, Rachel Hoise expresses that the more we swear, the more likely we are to break down outdated double standards. When men swear, they’re powerful or funny, but when women swear, it is indecent7. Hence, women have to swear back to shut patriarchy.


  1. Iyenger, Radhika.(2017). In the lexicon of profanities, a majority of them derogate women. India: The Indian Express.8 March.
  2. Arora, Jagisha.(2019). Patriotism is afraid of a women speaking, so it swears with female centric words (boltiaurat se pitrisattadartihaitabhitohmahilakendritgaliyadetihai). India: Feminism in India. February 25.
  3. Iyenger, Radhika.(2017). In the lexicon of profanities, a majority of them derogate women. India: The Indian Express.
  4. Singh, Swati.(2018). Women violence is increasing by using Mother, sister related dirty language ( Maa, bahanwaligandibhasa se badhrahihaimahilahinsha). India: Feminism in India. 24 July
  5. Ibidi
  6. Hoise, Rachel. (2016). 7 reasons why its’s bloody good for women to swear. London: The Telegraph. 7 November.

Author: Srijana Chaudhary

Photo: Sushma Bhatta

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