I tend to come across this problem very often. I was raised to be tough. My mother would kiss my boo boo like everyone else only afterward she would tell me not to act like a baby and stop crying. A regular theme in my mothers family was "Los hombres no se lloran" which translates to men don't cry. My father was short tempered and had little patience so I couldn't get away with much crying around him either. It's not like he's completely insensitive either. He tells me he loves me and we hug each other often enough. The difference is he also tells me I'm an asshole and sometimes he calls me Beavis(his way of saying Butthead). My mother actually calls me worse things but she has a better vocabulary. I wouldn't even know where to begin with what my friends and I call each other.
I just don't understand why I have to be the one to be careful with what I say. A few years ago I was written up at work for calling a co-worker an asshole. This kind of crap bugs me. That and strict sexual harassment policies. I have two sisters and a mother who I love more than anything who taught me how to respect women so I would never go there.(*note I have never been accused of sexual harassment but I do fear that I might someday say something that would be considered offensive to a woman)
I get tired of tip toeing around peoples feelings and I think people should just learn to toughen up and also lighten up some of us don't like to be serious all the time I like to joke around often.
And, yes, 'Amy' (oh, hey, that's me!) is going to be a lot happier if a person is allowed to choose his/her own words rather than have to censor him/herself to try and cater to 'Amy's' personal hang-ups and sensitivities.
Stop taking things that come out of other peoples' mouths personally and you will be a much happier person.
I think that my initial point got lost and/or misconstrued. I am a librarian and I would not have a job if it were not for words. I enjoy reading and writing a great deal. I am not saying that words are unimportant or that they don't add a great deal of meaning to our lives. But they can be taken all sorts of different ways and they are completely at our disposal. It is a giant waste of energy to choose to be offended by certain words and not by others because they are ALL just words; they are begnin. If someone breaks into your house and steals all your valuables, get angry - please! If someone beats the crap out of you or a loved one, get right pissed-off! But words? Pfffffffffffft! No.
We get so hung up on words and labels. Some day we will be so afraid of offending other people that we won't even want to speak to one another at all.
*benign.... sorry, my brain was working faster than my hands. LOL
Words are words and numbers are symbols. That is indeed technically true, but that is not what you were communicating with that statement. If it was, it would have been a meaningless statement. Words are just words, implies that they have little meaning which is patently false. And of course the emotion with which something is conveyed can assist greatly in interpretation. But that does not negate that words have inestimable value to a society.
Now where I totally agree with you is that there shouldn't be "Bad words" I think you are right. They are useless. I think the badness of words ties into religious thought. We all agree religious thought is misguided. The problem is that in our current contract with society, it has been determined that certain words are considered by the group at large as offensive.
Words contain the power of society itself, and the system it has put in place to preserve it. Words convey one's rank and present standing in that system, and certain combination of words put present standing higher and lower. Words have that power because humanity has preserved only the most social humans in the early development of people. The antisocial did not breed or survive well. Humanity developed a need to be socially in tune. Words are the means through which social standing is facilitated. This means words are the medium through which most disdain, praise, commands and expectations are processed in a society. The disdain praise, commands and expectations are really what has the power, and this is why words in turn are infused with power. Words are iconic, they have power due to what they represent. They are conduits.
I think people need to get thicker skins and more people need to know its okay to find humor in even the worst subjects because its part of how we deal and how we point out the absurdity of some things. Its pathetic to see everyone become so afraid to say or do anything out of fear from being destroyed by the PC police. We all are now being told what we can't say anymore and the list is growing fast as is the speed of the erosion of free speech. Sure we have the right to free speech but can we really use that right without fear? Companies are becoming more and more controlling over what their employees are allowed to express even in their free time and it will get to the point to where only a few are considered to be qualified to have an opinion. I'm not saying that companies can't request you to be polite and respectful during business hours but its going past the line of common sense when people are being told what to do all the time. This destructive trend not only ruins things like satire and humor in our society but keeps real debate from happening or people from being honest. We even have professional comics being held hostage by special interest groups and it makes me sick. Yes I might not like what everyone has to say but just because I'm offended or might think that the person is an idiot doesn't mean I have the right to stop them from being an idiot. Just because you don't think its funny doesn't make you the authority on humor.
In the end I think it comes down to common sense sometimes and the intent. I just find it disturbing that people are becoming so hypersensitive past the point of being plain ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that most people can't tell the difference between real hate and a silly joke and I believe that many of those who proclaim the loudest about being offended are looking to be offended. I can just imagine if we allowed the theist to control even more based on if they were offended or not and how much our choice and freedom would suffer but we should also realize the danger of becoming the oppressors ourselves in the long run based on our opinion.
Frankly, I find this post ironic. Such sensitivity to sensitivity! To be a bit brutally honest (and a bit facetious), I would say to quit crying about it, accept that the world doesn't revolve around you and your notions of social decorum, and learn to modify your behavior to suit the appropriate social context. Otherwise, you come across as a hypocrite, socially inept, and to the people you offend a jerk. While that may be all fine to you, you only punish yourself by limiting your ability to network with a world beyond your friends and dick & fart jokes.
And to complain about strict sexual harassment policies is the icing on the cake. Really? Do you really believe that women who feel harassed are just being overly sensitive? Or that men who sexually harass women DON'T have mothers or sister that they love? The notion that people need to toughen up or that they are over reacting is largely a bullshit argument. And it is insidiously used to silence women. While I am not a fan of the HuffPo, I recently came across an excellent article about this phenomenon, otherwise known as gas-lighting:
You're so sensitive. You're so emotional. You're defensive. You're overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You're crazy! I was just joking, don't you have a sense of humor? You're so dramatic. Just get over it already!
If you're a woman, it probably does.
Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?
When someone says these things to you, it's not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling -- that's inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, "Calm down, you're overreacting," after you just addressed someone else's bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.
So, here you are telling others to calm down, they are overreacting, but I imagine that if we were to suggest that it was you who was over reacting, you'd likely say "bullshit", because how you feel about stuff matters, right? It matters enough for you to complain about it in a post on a public forum, at least. But why would you assume that your feelings take precedent over others'.
Does it really grinds your gears to have to restrain yourself from violating sexual harassment policies or offending coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers? And if so, instead of asking the world at large to conform in order to agree with your wants and desires, wouldn't it be a much more sensible approach to change your own ways so that you can function more smoothly with society at large? Why is it so damn unfathomable to ask of you what you would ask of everyone else? And if that is too much to ask, then perhaps you should remain sheltered in your cocoon of close friends and family that accept your behavior and won't dare pierce your thin skin by finding your behavior offensive.
I empathise with your situation.
I'm with Reggie.
I think it is one of the rules of politeness that we tailor ourselves to whoever we are talking to, in terms of respecting each person's level of sensitivity. Not everyone's a punk rocker. Some people are little old ladies. I wouldn't talk to a 3 year-old girl the same way I talk to my drinking buddies. Most people don't like my frightening music or my appalling Freddie Kruger sense of humour. So I tone it down depending on who I am talking to. Everyone has the right to their own particular level of sensitivity. I don't have the right to impose my own standards of [non-]sensitivity onto other people - it would be rude and thoughtless. I find, anyway, that the most important thing is to be seen to be making an effort to be civilised and to accommodate the other person. If they still don't like me - then, it's not because I've been too rough with them.
I believe we should be truthful with people where at all possible. It doesn't have to be aggressive. It's just respectful. Even if they don't like it, it helps people understand rather than labour under polite misapprehensions (bear in mind I'm British).
I think there needs to a be a healthy balance of both. Your upbringing sounds a little bit imbalanced on the toughness side. However, that's probably a little bit better than overly-soft parenting. As a nation I do feel that we are too soft. All the frivelous lawsuits are an indication. Our sexual harassment policies are ridiculous. Unfortunately there are idiots who do harass women legitimately and so now we have to put up with over the top harassment policies. I feel the same way about sex offender policies. Urinating in public is not the same are raping someone. Since we're on rape, rolling over on your wife when she's not into it is not the same as knifepoint rape in the park. We try to make everything too black and white and end up with zero common sense policies. Sorry tangent...Back to the original point...people do need to toughen up. If you heard a nasty joke at work then get over it. If you get called an asshole once, then get over it. People who are actually abusive should be dealt with.