Virtue signaling would be announcing, "Folks, I swear like a sailor, usually...but out of the righteousness and virtue of my spirit I am going to refrain from such in your presence. Did I mention that I'm righteous and virtuous and that I'm outraged when people are so insensitive as to use profanity in the presence of those who don't like that sort of language?" It's ego-stroking, and usually low-risk approval-seeking ego-stroking at that.The idea of "outrage culture" and "virtue signaling" are pejorative terms that get applied to broader and broader subjects these days.
Essentially they are accusations of bad faith - that someone is only doing something to look good, feel good about themselves, or apply to things which are excessively performative (for instance - a rich man very loudly, and ostentatiously donating money to a charity - accompanied by a PR event). Theoretically, though, any act that someone does out of a sense of tact is "virtue signaling", because it constitutes an adjustment of our behavior to match not our personal sense of decorum, but the social decorum of our surroundings - and the fact that someone is doing something out of a sense of tact, rather than a sense of personal morality does not mean they are acting in bad faith. I sometimes swear like a sailor - but if I know someone who dislikes foul language is at a party, so I filter my language - is that "outrage culture", "virtue signaling", or simply a display of social tact?
Those who practice such -- the perpetually "literally shaking rn" -- have made them pejorative terms.The idea of "outrage culture" and "virtue signaling" are pejorative terms that get applied to broader and broader subjects these days.