So this isn’t a new topic, but I’ve just read an opinion piece about on smh.com.au:
Kick-Ass is a film with a bad reputation. In the adaptation of a graphic novel, an 11-year-old girl plays a violent assassin called Hit-Girl. At one point she says the worst of all words, the c-word. “OK, you c—s, let’s see what you can do now,” she says to a room full of grown men.
Shocked? Even just a little? I was. Not that I jumped and down demanding the film never see the light of day but let’s face it; it was included for shock value. It has achieved its end goal. I didn’t give it too much thought after that, but it did get my attention.
Emma Young points out the obvious double standard that men can swear with very little repercussion and woman cannot.
What should be seen as the real failure is the double standards still applied to men and women over language and propriety. It is ludicrous that women are expected to be more polite than men. And since the c-word is, after all, a reference to part of the female body, it seems especially odd that a great big fuss is made when we’re the ones who finally dare to use it.
I agree with what Young has written. She is spot on. And while I’m not squeaky clean, swearing profusely after a while…it gets a bit blah; for a man or a woman. But that’s my take on it; not universal law.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite here; I have been known to swear, at times, a lot. But for me, I don’t feel comfortable with the C word. No matter who says it. Couldn’t tell you why either. Just doesn’t do it for me; neither do lentils. I cannot eat, smell or be near lentils; can’t explain that one either. Just is. Put those two words together in a sentence and you’ll give me a coronary.
So am I right to assume, for most people, that using the C word isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that an 11 year old girl uttered the word? Or is it the C word, not matter who speaks it?
These are two different issues.
Linda Blair was roughly the same age when she filmed The Exorcist and for those who have seen the movie you’ll already know how nasty some of her lines were. For those who haven’t, click here to read some of the head turning lines. Bad pun, I know.
It was “deemed” shocking in 1973 and, evidently with the recent who-ha about Kick Ass, it’s shocking today. Maybe, just maybe, we’re not supposed to get used to certain words. Maybe, they are supposed to retain their shock value. Is that so bad? I don’t know.
And if it’s shocking, does that mean we shouldn’t use it at all? Or should we use it to saturation point that any shock value is simply evaporated. Is that empowering?
Some might argue that they are just words – words can only hurt you if you let them. Some might argue that words are the very thing that define and make up our society so we need to be careful how we use them.
Words are a basic civil right. Adults can monitor their own usage; children however need some guidance.
The reason Kick Ass has received so much media coverage over this issue is because it is an 11 year old girl swearing. That’s the shock value. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable having my daughter using the C word. I’m sure that it will escape her lips at some point, but I certainly don’t need to rush it.
Mistakenly, I think many parents thought Kick Ass was a film aimed at children. Clearly, it’s not.
So getting back to the double standard argument; it is ridiculous that woman swearing offends people’s sensibilities more so than when a man swears. It really doesn’t make sense. Hey patriarchal society, you’ve got more important issues to concern yourself with.
So go ahead women, feel free to swear your tits off. Or any other part of your anatomy.
SO not a kid’s movie – did the word ‘Ass’ in the title not give that away?!
I find it fascinating that Hit-Girl offends people by uttering a 4 letter word, but the fact that she is an 11-year-old assassin, shooting people at will is just dandy.
Meh, Uncle E, violence is fun, but indecency… God forbid! 😛
Hey Auntie Maria! I reckon the actual function of swearwords in English is to shock an draw attention – it gives speech an extra punch. Think about ‘lesser’ swearwords that have now become part of everyday speech; the no longer shock, they no longer fulfill their function… Some would say they’re little more than coarse language now. And yet if I – someone who doesn’t swear or use even ‘lesser’ swearwords does swear (usually by accident >_<), it immediately draws all the attention of a shout in a quiet room.
So, as rebellious teenagers continue to water down our current swearwords with overuse, I can guarantee we'll come up with new ones that will shock the next generation. If you think about it, what the c-word means is hardly taboo speech. Neither is the meaning of the f-word: 'sex' hardly has the same impact, though at one time it was also a fairly taboo word :p
I'm gonna stop now, because this is a minor essay…. Seeya!
When you’ve seen as many Eddie Murphy and Quentin Tarantino movies as I have, the occasional c-bomb doesn’t even raise an eyebrow.
Unless it comes from an 11-year-old.
With a gun, no less!
Warren, might i just say that it is not only ‘rebellious teenagers’ that “continue to water down our current swearwords with overuse…” Not to defend teenagers these days, but I mean, they would have had to learn it from somewhere……
mmmmmmm let me ponder this a little more…. Have not seen the movie yet…. now I feel I must see it just to form an informed opinion. 🙂
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Enzo Tedeschi. Enzo Tedeschi said: @mums_word writes about Kick Ass' Hit Girl: http://mariatedeschi.com/mumsword/?p=122 […]
Gosh, I must live in the dark ages, I still thought the C word was fairly taboo – is this a kid’s flick?? I think it’s rare these days that kids movies are actually made for kids – themes etc are much more ‘adult.’ With two young ones there’s rarely a film I can take them too, let alone anything rated G at all!
In NO WAY is Kick-Ass aimed at children!
I haven’t seen Kick Ass but from what I’ve read it really wasn’t meant for kids. It looks infantile which I think has been misjudged by parents as meant for kids. I really think that it was meant for adults only but perhaps parents haven’t been diligent enough in finding out what is and is not suitable.
Good news is that I just got a flyer from preschool with 2 movies that are meant for preschoolers. Sesame Street – Abby in Wonderland and Bob the Builder – The Legend of the Golden Hammer. You’re right, it has been a while that movies aimed at preschoolers.