Explicit Content: It’s More Than Potty Mouth!

Explicit Content: It's More Than Potty Mouth!

The title’s correct! It’s not link bait to draw you in then leave you disheartened, distrustful and disappointed.

I am ACTUALLY writing about explicit content today, especially as it pertains to the launch of my new podcast: Ready, Set … PODCAST!

Explicit Content! More Than Dropping F-Bombs!

Every once in a while you see an article making the rounds across the blogosphere and social media feeds. That article calls out the use of explicit language in blog posts and marketing materials. Such language is:

  • unprofessional
  • dumbing down language
  • offensive
  • etc.

Did you know that if you look up explicit in the dictionary, there are few, or sometimes – NO, references to potty mouth or swearing?

One of my go-to sites, Merriam-Webster shares:

Full Definition of EXPLICIT

1 a : fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity : leaving no question as to meaning or intent
b : open in the depiction of nudity or sexuality

2 : fully developed or formulated

3 : unambiguous in expression

4 : of a mathematical function : defined by an expression containing only independent variables — compare

While my writing style might give off a resounding WTF vibe, I rarely drop F-bombs. In fact, the only time I do is when I hurt myself in a stupid fashion. You know, walking into the door jamb, stubbing my toe, whacking my head on a low, open cupboard door. That kind of thing.

Most of the time, any explicit language you see on my posts is my own made-up alterations to commonly used swear words of a more benign sort.

Example: I often request that marketers refrain from engaging in activity that can be described with two of my favorite altered terms, jackassery and asshattery.

I’ve never been told by any of my readers, in private or in public, that my explicit language offends them.

Not Swearing? How, Then, Can Explicit Content Be Offensive?

This is just my best guess, I don’t have any metrics to back it up, but … I think people are offended when someone strongly, assertively, and without pulling the punches discusses the negative impact of an action or activity that the reader embraces as standard operating procedure.

This goes back to the definition of explicit shared above. When your content is direct, to the point and implies anything negative, people start to think you’re writing about them personally. No matter how careful you are to call out actions, rather than individuals.

That leads me to think that these people feel somewhat guilty for their actions, but again, that’s just my personal take.

I’ll Remain Explicit In 2015

So, after looking carefully at the definition(s) of the term, I will continue to adhere to my explicit content policy in 2015 and beyond. My new podcast, Ready, Set … Podcast, will have an explicit rating, because both my partner Brooke Ballard and I will occasionally use explicit language to make a point. Not because we think it’s cool, or because we want to be edgy.

We use the language we use because it’s real and authentic and that’s how we actually speak.

And my blog posts going forward? Same explicit content style. No ambiguity about what I think or the ideas I share.

Let’s lose the idea that explicit is simply the opening up and expelling of swear words. It’s a lot more than language that would have earned you a mouth washed out with soap as a child.

Your Turn …

Does explicit language, used well with the proper intent and purpose, bother you? Chime in with a comment!

4 replies
  1. Chad
    Chad says:

    Congrats on the podcast launch Mallie and Brooke!
    I struggled with this very thing for so long Mallie and finally I’ve just decided that being the authentic me is more important than trying not to offend people. I sometimes cuss, use foul and colourful language but I’m at my best when I just allow the words to flow and sometimes that means offending a few people.
    Thanks for being your explicit you and I look forward to hearing and reading more from you in 2015.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      We’re on the same page here, Chad. It’s not about dropping dirty words like they’re hot. It’s about speaking in our natural voice, even in writing. I’d think people would get just as annoyed with my penchant for alliteration as they would with my occasional use of made up swear words!

  2. Mitch Mitchell
    Mitch Mitchell says:

    As someone who’s never uttered a curse word in his life (yup, you read that correctly), I came here ready to debate you on what I thought were going to be merits of doing so. Thus, I’m pleasantly surprised that instead you’ve twisted things around to a point where there’s no argument to be made against.

    Most of the time I’m fairly ambiguous; not sure if that’s a fault or not. There are times when I’ll tell someone their behavior is bad in a post, while other times I’ll imply it. Thinking of being in someone’s face metaphorically as explicit… that one will take a bit more thought. So you got me thinking about stuff; way to go!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Hi Mitch!

      Always happy when something I write gets the wheels turning, especially if it creates a discussion or conversation. So glad you chose to continue the discussion by leaving a comment.

      My overall take is that if we all liked the same things, including writing style and delivery of ideas, the world would be a very boring place.

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