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Teen's Idea To Set Up A 'Swear Tax' To Point Out Her Dad's Hypocrisy Ends Up Causing A Family Rift

Teen's Idea To Set Up A 'Swear Tax' To Point Out Her Dad's Hypocrisy Ends Up Causing A Family Rift
Dimitri Otis/GettyImages

When there are no words to convey frustration, profanity can perfectly sum up our feelings in the heat of the moment.

But sometimes, wielding F-bombs like there's no tomorrow doesn't bode well, especially for those in a professional environment.

And unless you're Samuel L. Jackson, there is a time and place to blow off steam.

samuel l jackson GIFGiphy

Redditor heckheckdangit is a teen who tried to make a point of this to the male members of the household after she was scrutinized for a rare slip.

But when her stratagem backfired, she visited the "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) subReddit and asked:

"AITA for getting my family to do a 'swear tax' after my dad told me off for swearing? (My dad and brothers cuss like sailors but apparently me cussing is unladylike?)"

She explained:

"I am living with my family, it's me a 15 year old girl, my twin brothers who are 17, and my parents."
"My dad cusses a lot, and so do my older brothers. But apparently the standards are different for me, my dad overheard me saying a couple cuss words when I was on the phone with my friends and he got mad at me for my language, and for how trashy and unladylike it was."

sexist laci green GIFGiphy

"This wasn't the first time he called me (and only me) out for bad language, but it was the one that frustrated me the most because I could tell there was a double standard."
"I thought of calling him out on his language and hipocracy, but then I had a different idea."
"I said that yeah, it was a bad habit I was forming and didn't want to make a pattern... because if I got in the habit of cussing a lot, that wouldn't make me come off well when I start getting jobs or going to college. And as I was growing up, I wanted to learn how to speak respectfully and intelligently."
"But it was hard to keep from bad habits, when I heard him and my brothers having potty-mouth-syndrome so often. They're setting an example whether they realize it or not... So I wanted to work on things for myself, but also together as a family."
"I suggested we make a 'Swear Tax' where if anyone swears in front of anyone else who's participating, they give a dollar to each person who heard them. I'd want that rule for myself because it would keep me accountable and I'd really like it if the family joined me for it."

The OP succeeded in her initiative to get the whole family involved.

"So my dad said he'd join, and so would my mom. They got my brothers to be a part of it too. They didn't really have a choice, my parents decided to make it a rule."
"I know it's kinda petty but I wanted to make the point that my dad and brothers swear a lot and I almost never do."
"In the few months we've had the rule, I've gotten about 250 dollars from hearing my dad and brothers cuss, and have not sworn once."
"It's kinda making my brothers angry because they often cuss when they're mad, and I ask them for money, so they get madder and cuss more, so I get more money until they shut up."

braxton family values singing GIF by WE tvGiphy

"My dad actually got mad at me too, he was having some drinks, calling his brother and talking, and I came over after and asked for 18 dollars. He actually said he wouldn't give me that much, and there should be a cutoff."
"He gave me 5 dollars which sends a weird message... Like swearing is bad, unless you wanna swear A LOT, then it's cool??"
"I feel like I've made my point already so really now I'm just continuing to 'want the family to learn not to cuss' for the money, and it's really making my brothers mad."
"AITA for having the idea for the 'family swear tax' after my dad got angry at me for swearing? I did it because I know I swear the least out of my family but I was the only one getting in trouble for it."

Anonymous strangers on the internet weighed in by declaring the OP was:

  • NTA - Not The A**hole
  • YTA - You're The A**hole
  • ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH - No A**holes Here

Redditors shared their observations.

"Well, from what it sounds like OP is mostly making her brothers pay for their dad's sexism."
"And the brothers were forced to partake in this, they didn't agree on it. And OP wants to continue this purely for the sake of getting more money, which continues to punish the brothers for their dad's bullsh*t."
"Amazing, really, yeah." – snorting_dandelions
"Its a shame really this game highlights the fact that they're held to different standards. Its not the brother's fault, obviously, but they could set better examples if that's the standard their sister is being held to."
"Where are they in the conversation when she gets berated about her language, are they right behind supporting her by agreeing with that this double standard is unfair and that now they are losing money off it?"
"Or are the parents trying to finally enforce an objective rule evenly and she's benefited from that and she's proved a basic point that the parent's application of the rule is biased towards her."
"I'm not sure she's focused on it being a money grab than rather her feeling isolated and picked on for something they all do, just because it isn't ladylike for her to do it. Pointing it out is a bonus."
"Maybe her brothers could just try as hard as she does to please their parents and they wouldn't lose so much money. Maybe just equal effort (despite them being older and a role model for her). Then they would break even, right? NTA." – kimpossible11
"NTA they agreed to it, they have to play by the rules." – geegeepark
"Amazing how OP made them literally pay for their hypocrisy and sexist view on her swearing!" – Seeker131313
"It's a good lesson!!" – geegeepark
"Too bad they apparently aren't learning it." – squirrels33
"Hopefully the brothers will. They have more of a chance of learning than the dad because they are still kids." – WiseConflict

This Redditor is familiar with picking up bad habits through osmosis.

"As someone with a mouth like a filthy sailor that has to hold it back around her conservative family members this is so true."
"When I was away at college I didn't realize how bad I had gotten because I was surrounded by people that also cuss like sailors then I would come home for a weekend and realize how much I had to catch myself from swearing." – EmotionalFix

Every household has a different way of restricting profanity.

Some families keep the filthy language at home, while others use certain expletives as terms of endearment.

"Ha! Sounds like my dad. He's been okay with us swearing in front of him, but not in public or in front of extended family."
"He used to (lovingly) tell us to f'k off to bed." – DeafeningLight
"I used to read my kids, "Go the F'k to Sleep." Or better still, play the video of Samuel L Jackson reading it."
"My kids swear, but they do it at home or around their friends (or, in the case of the 18-yo, on social media...) But when I lifted the ban on their language, the rule was 'I don't hear about this from any teachers, your friends' parents, or your grandparents. You do NOT swear in front of your Granddad!'"
"So far, while they all have mouths like...well, like their mother, I haven't heard anything from anyone else, and if I tell them that they're getting a bit much (my middle one, at 13, literally spent a week dropping F bombs into every. Single. Sentence that she said, whether it was appropriate or fit in the sentence or whatever."
"I finally had to call her on it and tell her to make it appropriate if she was gonna use it, or stop using the word. She checked herself immediately and fixed herself." – Thr33Littl3Monk3ys

The OP was praised for her clever ploy.

"NTA. This was delightfully clever of you and a very fair way to point out the double standard."
"And all they have to do is make it stop is quit yelling at you for swearing when they do it all the time." – lightwoodorchestra
"NTA that is f'king genius... and I owe you a dollar now, sorry!" – Glowie2k2