When something is accepted in society, it’s considered normal to do and say certain things. It implies we tolerate it with little disapproval or criticism. Though something is accepted in society doesn’t equal everyone agrees with it.
Eating meat, for example. We live in a carnivorous society where we Americans devour meat to fill our stomachs, but a group of non-meat eaters–called vegetarians and vegans–disapprove this activity for they perceive it is as immoral or unethical to slaughter animals for human consumption. That’s a strong point. How can we say animals are important to us if we kill them for eating? We may not face backlash for eating animal flesh (we may receive disapproval from non-meat eaters, at most), but we will raise eyebrows for eating human flesh. Disgusting!
Smoking is an activity Americans do for pleasure. Though it’s unhealthy, we do it because it relieves stress, makes us appear more “adult,” our friends entice us to do it; among other reasons. Many Americans oppose it for its damaging effects on the body: leads to lung cancer (and others), stains your teeth (gross!), shortens life, and produces halitosis (bad breath). Some public places prohibit smoking to prevent second-hand smoke, avoid a stinky environment, and eliminate air pollution. It’s not illegal, immoral, or unethical to smoke–only threatening to your health.
Swearing is accepted. We utter expletives everyday to express anger, annoyance, surprise, or fear. It occurs in conversation, movies, music, television, radio, and read it in books. At an early age, we’re taught to respect the people we meet, particularly family and the elderly. We’re told “It’s not nice to say ‘shut up,'” yet we’re allowed to refer to woman as “bit****,” tell each other to go fu** themselves (or call each other motherf******), call them an a** or say we’re going to kick their a**, and tell them they’re worth sh**, they don’t give a sh**, or they have to take a sh**. How can we can allow this to occur in our everyday existence if the phrase “shut up” is considered disrespectful? Are the aforementioned words not offensive? To read more about swearing and my perspective on it, read Swearing and watch the Swearing videos.
Remember: because something is accepted in society does not equal consensus among people.