That the average Indian swears is not news for anybody. Many times we also use some of our favourite cuss words to show closeness and affection.
A study conducted at Keele University also suggested that swearing can increase your ability to withstand pain. But our favourite swear words have deeper cultural and sociological relevance and this video takes a look at the sexist, racist, casteist and ableist etymology of our cuss words.
The roots of these gendered profanities can be traced to the age-old discourse of female propriety. That the men in the family ‘own’ their women, stripping them of any kind of agency. The culture of honour, present to some degree in all known societies, is a gendered phenomenon. If a female family member is sexually active outside marriage, it is taken as a great sign of disrespect towards her family’s “honour”. It is the men in the family therefore, who ‘guard’ the woman to ensure that the vital, vulnerable, “family honour” is not violated.
Also read: The Ma-Behen Rule And Other Gems From The Language Of Oppression