Profanity In College Essays

You see, to further our goal of reaching – and hopefully inspiring and publishing – as many teen writers and artists as possible, Teen Ink needs schools.

And I think we all know how they would react to finding an onslaught of 4-letter words in our pages.

Blotting out undesirable words with asterisks is the editor’s way of sticking fingers in his or her ears, poking out his or her tongue, and singing with an awful, unmelodic whine “La-la-la I can’t hear you.” I don’t like that image of a Teen Ink editor, so let’s talk about this.

I recently submitted a (in the interest of full disclosure: rather half-baked) personal essay, and when I received an e-mail that it had been published online, I found that the text was nearly verbatim, save for three asterisks after an f, where “uck” should have been. And, as is the usual trend, publications have dragged their feet and kicked in opposition to change.

I hope this matter will be placed under your consideration.

Sincerely yours, Colin Editors’ response: Colin, you make a very well-put and convincing argument.

We don’t want readers to have a “censor” impression of us at Teen Ink either.

In the instances where we censor certain 4-letter words, it’s not so much a “not for us” philosophy we follow, but a “not for schools” one.

Curses were rationed and uttered under the breath to avoid detection and punishment.

My friends and I managed to dodge teachers’ well-tuned ears by inserting “f**k off” into coughs.


Comments Profanity In College Essays

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