You don’t swear in front of women (well, ladies. You can swear in front of women who aren’t ladies!) and children, not because they’re higher status or more powerful, but because they’re protected minors. It’s kind of paradoxical, but there it is. In one case “respect and courtesy” is a matter of deference, and in another it’s a matter of “protection.” And women–the right sort of women, anyway, the kind who don’t, themselves, swear–are like children, they need to be protected from swearing.
–Ann Leckie on swearing.
My mother taught me every bad word I know. Though, admittedly, “cunt” was an accident; it was Opposites Day and I was singing the Can-can and… well. That’s how I learnt about the word “cunt”. (Also there was a punk band with that name when I was a kid; they had badly photocopied posters plastered all over the ugly statues outside the mall. So there’s that, too.)
But, then again, I’m a fuckin’ ‘Strayan, mate. We could curse the fuckin’ white off a magpie.