Is Me Saying Fuck Really What Most Offends You in 2017?

In the last week, I have been language policed twice.

Now, many of you know that I am very liberal with the swears so perhaps you are surprised that it’s only twice in the last week.

However.

Regardless of the quantity (nevermind the quality) of my swearing, it’s really none of their business unless I am swearing AT them or their children. I will even concede swearing in front of their children.

Neither of these instances were that.

Let me give you some context.

In the first instance, I posted my article, Why I Homeschool, on a bilingual homeschooling Facebook group. Keep in mind, I post my Chinese and homeschool related blog posts there approximately twice a week and have been for the last 2-3 years.

I do not edit my posts for this group and many of them contain curse words – often times, MUCH more than the two F-bombs I had in the Why I Homeschool post.

I have never had a problem. Not once. Not even a whisper or private message saying, “You know, perhaps you should lay off the swears.”

Well, that is, until last week.

In the comment section of the post, I see this:

Quite frankly, I’m amazed that I had the self-control to not write something scathing back. But you know what? I recognize that she does not like swear words. That is her right. And I also recognize that my blog is not for her. That’s fine. Not everyone needs to like my blog or find it useful.

I accept that.

But then, she goes and insults and personally attacks me and everyone who was not offended by my post and possibly, even liked it. And not only that, when confronted by multiple people, including the admins, she doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled down with really questionable logic and then left the group in a self-righteous huff.

Some examples:

She says, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Of course she is a Trump supporter.

People.

Trump and his normal human behavior in public is acceptable to her but my two uses of the F word in regards to white supremacy and my kids being woke as fuck on my own private site are NOT.

The amount of self-righteous hypocrisy is astounding.

Look. It’s not as if I walked into her living room and dropped F bombs at her and her children. It was on MY site. I left a LINK. Where it is generally common knowledge that the internet MAY HAVE SWEARS.

Furthermore, as a friend said, is using curse words to express myself worse than insulting others with zero curse words? Because saying that discerning people would not like a blog that uses curse words is actually insulting, to both me, the writer, and the people who enjoy the blog.

It was intended as an insult.

I would further break down her fallacious arguments, but why? WE ALL HAVE EYES AND BRAINS.

Plus, she pulled in another person and between the two of them, advised me on how to use my words and be a better parent. Clearly, they did not take the hint that yes, it’s possible for other people to have different opinions – even on the subject of curse words and their appropriateness on the internet, for children, and as a human.

I am not providing screenshots of the second person because later, they messaged me and apologized – which I appreciate. Personally, I find it hard to admit when I do something shitty or wrong or inappropriate – let alone apologize to a total stranger on the internet. So, I absolutely appreciate her apology. It took guts.

Anyhow, back to the drama.

Keep in mind, the main reasons I did not eviscerate either of these women in the comments were because:

1) I do not want people to think I am an asshole.

I mean, I am an asshole. (And if this post is any clue, I’m petty as fuck and DON’T YOU FORGET IT. Also? I KEEP RECEIPTS.)

But at that point, public opinion was most likely on my side, me being the victim of this sanctimonious eyeroll of a human.

However, if I annihilated her publicly on Facebook, she becomes the victim.

THAT CANNOT BE TOLERATED.

So, I screamed and vented and came up with scathing commentary to my friends, but in public, I did not.

Side Note: I don’t believe in doxxing or ruining someone on the internet (unless they’re a white supremacist – then by all means, doxx the shit out of them) so I have blurred out her name and her kid’s face (because I’m not a savage). But since I also believe in public shaming, I have kept her face in tact.

2) My friends were the admins and I did not want to put them in the awkward position of having to delete my comments or even remove me from the group.

I know from personal experience that administrating Facebook groups is no fun. There was no need to make their lives harder.

3) I would have felt awesome temporarily and then I would feel like an asshole. But by then, everyone else would also know that I was an asshole so even deleting my comments or posts would be too late.

Yes, I realize that this is mostly a regurgitation of Point 1 and not really true remorse.

What can I say? I’m shallow.

I thought this instance was a one off situation until the other day, on another Facebook group, someone posted an example of text that a teenager or adult could read with ease.

I wanted to see if I could read this text (despite it being in Simplified) and what should I find but CURSE WORDS. The word, “fucking,” to be exact.

I found it hilarious and thought to myself, “OMG, what if they had posted to the homeschooling group?”

But then, someone posted a translation of the story in the comments without the offensive word and I was really confused. So, of COURSE I had to stir shit up and ask:

AND LO AND BEHOLD, one of the next comments:

PEOPLE!!!!

PEOPLE!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?

We are literally talking about a curse word that is ALREADY in the text – but in Chinese. This group is FULL of LITERATE Chinese people.

And if the original poster recommended that parents could test their teenagers on the topic, THEY SHOULD KNOW.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO PEOPLE??

I feel as if I am living in some strange, alternate universe.

Since when has the mere presence of a word become so terrible that it’s more offensive than pretty much EVERYTHING that is going on in this world – including, but not limited to, our current sitting president?

I am so annoyed (because mad is too strong for what I’m feeling) and bewildered that I want to react in as juvenile way as possible and just write a post with some click-bait title and then have the post be just an endless string of FUCKS.

Instead, I have written this screed because it amuses me and I am petty and I guess I really am puerile.

People.

This is the fucking internet.

There will be things that offend you. And unless it’s dangerous, incendiary rhetoric (oh wait, that’s 45‘s Twitter account), you can choose to not go back to that site, not engage, and scroll on by.

You do NOT have to insult people or tell them they are wrong and are bad parents. Perhaps, you can tell them they are bad writers. I accept that. (But don’t all go rushing in to tell me this, ok?)

Just because I swear does not mean I am incapable of not swearing. I swear because I choose to use those words because those are the words that I want to use. By no means do I think that these words are always necessary, but that is my choice to make.

And sure, who couldn’t improve upon some judicious editing? But again, that would be my choice. After all, even though the original posts that I turned into my book, (affiliate link) So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese, included many swear words, I excised them from the book because I felt that was more appropriate.

I have plenty of friends who do not curse so on their Facebook wall and in their presence, I choose not to use words that offend them because that’s what kind and respectful people do.

Likewise, when they are at my house or on my Facebook or my site, they do not preach and tell me that they are super offended by my swearing because they, too, are kind and respectful people.

And to be clear, I am not annoyed at the lack of swearing or even the belief of not swearing.

I am pissed off by the self-righteous hypocrisy exhibited by the people who are moralizing to me about the “obscenity” of my words while behaving abominably using “clean” words.

So, yeah. My petty is showing in full force today. But at least I own it.

Pants on Fire

I have a general rule that I will not lie to my kids – even white lies, lies of convenience, or statements to make my life easier. I do teach my kids about God and Jesus, so depending on your philosophical bent, that may or may not count as a lie. But since I do believe in God and Jesus, at least I am not technically lying to the kids (or at least, intentionally). The main reason I don’t, even when it would make my life considerably better, is because it breaks trust. And once my kids catch me in a lie (and they will!), they will start questioning everything I have ever told them in the past because hey, if I lied about this, what was stopping me from lying to them about that?

I even include Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. (At least it cuts down on fictional gifts I have to purchase!) I know. I’m such a killjoy. But Santa is an old white dude who rewards you for being good on Jesus’s birthday – and it sounds a lot like the stereotypical view of who God is – so no thanks! Now, my kids know ABOUT Santa. But they just think he’s in a costume. Like Spiderman. Plus, it is much easier to explain all the Santas that crop up during Christmas time.

In fact, not only do I try not to lie to my children, I try not to lie in general. After all, what’s the point of telling my kids not to lie, not lying to my kids, etc., if they just hear me telling people lies (white or otherwise) just to make my life easier? Of course, I have no problem lying via omission. For instance, someone brings a food that is not delicious. I won’t say that the food is yummy. But I will thank them for bringing the food or comment on the plate that the food is on, or whatever. I will try to say true things in as kind a way as possible without outright lying. Hopefully, my kids will absorb this lesson without me having to explicitly tell them not to lie. Aren’t the most important lessons in life learned this way?

I find that the temptation to lie is similar to the temptation to deflect all the questions my kids have about their bodies or stuff in general. I am very honest with the kids about their body parts and I have no qualms about Hapa Papa or my nakedness around the kids. This, of course, leads to some very awkward and hilarious conversations. I’ve had to explain to Cookie Monster why his penis gets big, what pubic hair is, what a vagina is, etc. My reward for all my non-euphamizing are these types of conversations (FB friends will recognize a good many of these stories):

1) Cookie Monster: Papa has a penis and a gagina! 
Hapa Papa: Papa just has a penis.
Cookie MonsterGamera has a gagina!
Hapa Papa: Yes, Gamera has a gagina. Cookie Monster has a penis.
Cookie Monster: Papa has a penis and a gagina! HAHAHAHAAHAHAH!

2) After a month or so, we finally figured out why Cookie Monster thought Hapa Papa had a vagina and a penis. He thought the pubic hair was the vagina. He also pointed at Hapa Papa’s face and said, “Gina face! Gina mouth!”

3) Gamera: My penis hurts, Mom. 
Me: You don’t have a penis, honey. You have a vagina. 
Gamera: My ‘gina hurts, Mom. My penis fell off.

Anyway, this post isn’t to make you feel bad or judged if you do teach your kids about Santa or The Easter Bunny or even if you tell your kids or other people white lies. This is just my personal policy. I think it comes from my traumatic upbringing of constantly swallowing my father’s numerous lies in addition to reinforcing his lies with lies of our own (many at my mother’s behest). My father wasn’t even a very good liar – that’s how insulting he was. He didn’t even think enough of us to lie properly and NOT get caught. He just thought we were too stupid to catch him.

Of course, telling the truth is not the same as being blunt or using the truth to bludgeon people. (Although, incredibly tempting.) I suppose the key to this is to tell the truth in love. (Often, an incredibly difficult task.) It helps that I don’t really have a good filter when I talk to people so I am usually a little too honest in general. It also helps that many of my friends also consciously choose not to lie to their kids so we can support one another. I’m curious. Do you lie to your kids? If so, what do you lie to your kids about? Tell me in the comments.

Beauty Before Pain and Other Lies

The other day, several of my friends and I were lamenting about our mothers (and to be fair, our fathers and society has certainly contributed to the conversation) and the fucked up things they say to our daughters about beauty (and I’m sure, our sons as well, but we are super sensitive about our daughters). I don’t know why we’re so surprised that our mothers say these things – after all, I grew up hearing them all the time. I’m sure this isn’t something only Chinese mothers do, but since I have only had a Chinese mother and am a Chinese mother, that is my main frame of reference.

Even though there were so many obvious lies my mother told me, I didn’t even realize how fully I absorbed them into my psyche until the last ten years or so. (Not with the intention of lying to me, I understand. It’s only because she believes these lies and thinks they are true. Also, it’s because she happens to have some of the characteristics she considers beautiful and for some reason, she can’t wrap her mind around the possibility that someone she birthed would have different features. I swear she is a loving and good mother.)

For instance, I have always been sad that my feet were a size 8. My mother always commented about how my feet were so large and too big for my height. (She wears a size 6.) She said it so much and made me so self-conscious about it that for the longest time, I refused to buy sneakers because I thought they were too bulky and made my feet look even larger. And since sometimes, I could fit into size 7.5, I would often buy size 7.5 shoes out of total vanity but then not wear the shoes because they hurt like a bitch because, oh, hey! THEY WERE TOO SMALL. Then, I’d have to either not wear the shoes at all and waste my money or go back and return the shoes (which is a tough one if they’ve already been worn).

I think it wasn’t until maybe seven or eight years ago when I was returning a pair of gorgeous red pumps that I finally realized how stupid me trying to fit in a smaller size shoe was. Who the fuck cares whether my shoe size was 7.5 or 8? What really matters is wearing shoes that FIT. You know, because walking without pain is a good thing. So when my shoe size increased to 8.5/9 after being pregnant with Cookie Monster, the only reason I was upset about that was because I no longer fit in my awesome red heels. Once I stop pumping out babies and my shoe size doesn’t increase anymore, I’ll go back to buying hot shoes. You know, for all my hot play dates.

It wasn’t only shoe size that I was hung up on. I also would occasionally buy skirts or dresses that were a size down instead of my true size. Which of course, I could only wear comfortably before eating anything and then I’d be constricted or practically bisected after lunch so OF COURSE, I wouldn’t wear these clothes ever again, either. Another total waste of money.

I even suffered through having an engagement and wedding ring that were a size too small (and constantly stuck on my fingers and too tight) because I thought my fingers were too thick. It wasn’t until after I had Cookie Monster that I decided I was ridiculous and re-sized my rings.

Funny enough, it wasn’t until I started watching What Not To Wear that I realized my obsession with a particular size was so stupid. That didn’t change REALITY. Whatever my size was, that was my size. There is no value judgment about my feet or my body. It just was. Once I got over that and started buying shoes and clothes that actually fit, I stopped wasting money and being incredibly uncomfortable.

Another random thing I didn’t like about my body (again, due to my mother’s comments) were my fingernails. My mom has these long, tapered fingers with nice, long nails. My fingers are not quite as long and my nails certainly are not long. In fact, no matter how much I tried when I was younger, my nails never seemed to get long enough. It wasn’t until I had Glow Worm (yes, you read that right) and I saw that his nail beds were so close to the tips of his fingers that if his nails grew just one millimeter, it seemed as if he had nice, long nails that I realized it had nothing to do with my failure to grow nails and everything to do with genetics. My nail beds were further back. I would have to grow my nails at least double the length my mom or Glow Worm did to achieve the same look.

Did I just go off on a super long post about feet and nails? YES. Yes, I did. Why? Because holy crap, the stupid shit we absorb about beauty from our mothers and fathers and television and society really fuck us up. And all about incredibly stupid, meaningless things.

Anyhow, there are all sorts of articles about how we shouldn’t only comment on girls’ outward appearance such as what they are wearing or how they look, but quite frankly, I totally fail at this. And not only with my daughter. I fail at this with my sons. I am constantly telling them they are cute or pretty (equal opportunity comments on pretty girls and boys for me) or beautiful. Of course, I also tell them they are funny, silly, smart, kind, and wonderful, but that may be because I am a little bit biased.

At any rate, I’m sure I’m warping my children with an unnatural shallowness and obsession with their looks (like mother like child, I suppose). So, for our collective amusement (because if you can’t laugh at the utter fucked-uppedness of the following list, you will weep), here are some gems about beauty, straight from the mouths of our mothers:

Stay out of the sun because lighter skin is better. (Somewhat racist, but mostly classist because only peasants who worked in the fields have dark skin.) (Also, I am a stickler for sunblock and sunshirts and hats not because dark skin makes my kids ugly, but because skin cancer is bad.)

Stop furrowing your brow; you’ll get wrinkles. (My mother says this every now and then to Gamera. It’s annoying.)

Big eyes (especially with the double lid) are pretty.

Taller noses with a high bridge are pretty.

Dark, black eyes and hair are prettier than lighter brown eyes and hair.

Being thin is prettier. Being fat makes you look older.

Shaving your head makes you look sick and like you’re dying. Also, it makes you look fat. (Confer previous lie.) (My mother refused to talk to my brother all weekend one summer after I shaved his head. She was pretty pissed at me, too. She was convinced that my brother was having problems and feeling insecure and that’s why he shaved his head.)

If you don’t eat your vegetables, you won’t be pretty.

If you cry, you won’t be pretty. (My friend’s 2.5 year old daughter heard her grandmother say this to her and started to cry. Her mother proceeded to say, “You’re turning ugly!” What made my friend super pissed is that her daughter actually stopped crying.)

Another friend’s dad told her daughter not to run with a stick because if she poked an eye out she wouldn’t be pretty anymore. Forget the fact that she would ONLY HAVE ONE EYE.

GAH. I think I have to stop before I get mad. Or cry. Either way, I won’t be pretty.