The Concept of Taboo

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Why don't we say certain things or perform certain acts? What prevents us from using foul language in public? What prevents us, for example, from discussing masturbation? In every society, there is a concept known as "taboo.  A taboo is something looked down upon by society because of social custom. Incest and indecent exposure are both examples of taboos that hold a legal statute. However, many taboos are not illegal. Many actions and words are only taboo because of custom. There are no particular laws that classify things as "taboo.  In certain places in the world it is illegal to swear, but oftentimes this is not enforced. Many of the concepts we view as taboo are rarely discussed because it makes us uncomfortable to confront them. However, those behaviors that are classified as taboo usually are a major concern for our society. Taboo is a result of generations of civilizations who reject behaviors, including language behaviors, which they deem unacceptable. Various cultures have different taboos, and these rules help people to successfully assimilate into a certain society.

If we start with our own culture, the American society, one would realize that there

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