Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Heroines Who Swear

Thoughts? :)

This is not coming from a politically correct standpoint. I have been known to swear like a trooper on more than one occasion. (Okay more often than that). Much to the dismay of my mother.

I guess it just happens that a recent heroine has brought this to the forefront of my mind. And I'm not referring to when it's being used in a sexual context but in general day to day conversation.

I have come to two conclusions.

1) When it comes to swearing less is definitely more.

2) Swearing is not an effective replacement for character development. Just because the heroine can say fuck three times in the same sentence does not make me believe that she's a tough cookie. It just shows me that she can say fuck three times in the same sentence. And no, I'm not particularly impressed that she can use it as a verb, adjective and noun.

Some of the toughest heroines I've read - Elena Danvers, Nadia Stafford, Phaedre, Kate Daniels, Mercedes Thompson - did not have to constantly say fuck to get people to take them seriously.


Nicole said...

For me, characters swearing depends on the character development. Guys and girls alike. Some are believeable cussing up a storm, others can't say "heck" without me raising my eyebrows.

And those are the well-developed characters. The poorly-developed ones usually have me rolling my eyes every few sentences anyway.

LesleyW said...

Nicole - I think if it's consistent with the character development and it works then it's fine. But this particular character, I just felt like it was put there for effect. She must be tough because she's got a mouth like a sewer.

Angiegirl said...

Lesley, interesting topic. And I completely agree with your conclusions. Less is definitely more. I can really appreciate it when it's used effectively, but too much gets in the way and does the character development a disservice.

LesleyW said...

Angie - that's it. I think you start to tune out if it feels it's just there for the sake of it and that only does the character a disservice.