One of the BEST ad campaigns about representation I have seen.
Everyone has a backbone. Use yours.
So, for those of you who don’t know, etymology is the study of the history and evolution of words. It is an important study in that it helps us understand language and sociology in a far more structured light than most of us normally do.
For example: Did you know the word FUCK originally meant to hit with a stick? As far as anyone can figure, this all changed when some drunk decided to fuck his wife, his penis being the stick. Then, through sexual connotation, the word became vulgar. The fact that is a blunt and ugly word doesn’t change it’s duality - the fact that while it’s blunt it also rolls off the tongue MAJESTICALLY to say the least. Fuck this, fuck that, fuck all, fuck off, fuck me running and fuck you.
LET ME JUST SAY THAT I LIKE THE INTENTION BEHIND THIS POST BEFORE CONTINUING SO YOU DON’T BLOW AN IGNORANT GASKET.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me explain why this post fails completely.
1. FAG: not a nice word. used as a slur. used by adults as homophobic, used by kids - AS THIS POST CLEARLY STATES - as a put-down for an annoying person. Now, the thing about words like this and like “nigger” are that they are given power by the people who continue to insist that they are wrong and hurtful. YES THERE ARE CULTURAL ISSUES AT STAKE AND YES I AM WHITE but this is not the issue. The issue is etymology and society. A word overused is a diluted word.
WE GIVE THE WORDS WE USE MEANING
Society does. The majority. Not an individual, because I can call a cat a “spatula” all I want and you people will question if I might need to be put somewhere where I won’t harm myself or the people around me.
What I’m getting at is this: it is culturally established that fag is a common slur. Kids use it. Young adults use it in jest. And it only ever hurts a person when they have somebody whispering in his ear that “that’s an ugly word and they’re trying to hurt you with it” but sticks and stones will break my bones and your words can fuck off because in the end all words are just organized grunts with inflection. Are you going to admit to being psychologically wounded by a grunt?
Words with hurtful histories are like knives, and the idiots who keep those histories fresh just sharpen the things. If you stop calling attention to it - if you stop sharpening it - the knife gets dull and rusted and you’ll be lucky to spread butter with it.
DID YOU KNOW: that WE as a society DETERMINE WHICH WORDS ARE ACTUALLY WORDS AND WHAT THEY MEAN? Both Bootylicious and Whovian have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in the past decade. Those words didn’t mean a goddamned thing before then. They were just a part of pop culture, evolved into something commonplace, and were established. In an alternate universe, “Whovian” might mean “a person who goes around raping and murdering small children for the humor of it all” but it doesn’t mean that here in this universe because we didn’t give it that meaning.
Just as fuck had one meaning and grew to have another, so shall fag. strangely enough, though, where “fuck” went from neutral to negative, “fag” will do the opposite.
DON’T BELIEVE ME?
“You’re fucking annoying.”
“You’re a fag.”
Which seems worse? They both have negative connotations. “Annoying” is in no world a positive word. BUT we see it as harmless and emotionally neutral, though nobody likes to be called annoying. If this is the word “fag” is slowly becoming synonymous with, where is the harm?
2. GIRLS: do any of you know how morale works in a team setting? It is competition! It is sweaty and borderline violent! If you’re a coach of a team that is underperforming, you’re job is to CALL OUT THAT WEAKNESS and MOTIVATE the players to excel!
Here’s why calling a losing team of jocks “girls” isn’t sexist.
The female gender is genetically predisposed to over-all physical weakness in contrast to men. If you have a problem with that, take it up with evolution or the universe or your sexist god. We as a culture are aiming for total equality and nowhere in this post is anyone saying that women are inferior to men or dumber than men or should make less money than men or that men are better. THAT WOULD BE SEXIST. What the post IS doing is calling attention to the harsh mechanics of sportsmanship. The players are to be driven to strength, and being called “girls” (young women) vs “men” calls attention to basic genetics. If a typical 14 year old, 112 lb girl went out onto a football field against the typical, 195-225 lb adult male player, she would not do well. His size alone creates a problem for her and that’s just physics.
3. HOE: If you’re a girl with a boyfriend and another girl is aware of this and actively trying to steal him from you (assuming he’d be content in your relationship, otherwise) that girl is a fucking hoe. It isn’t sexist or remotely homophobic. That’s just girl politics.
“Hoe” is of course short for “Whore” and while - yes - Whores are PAID for sexual services, we also, as a society, make a parallel between THAT word and it’s cousin “Slut”, a slut being one who is sexually promiscuous (see “homewrecker” “strumpet” and “jezebel”).
DID YOU KNOW: the word Slut was originally defined as “a woman with the morals of a man”? The word is, at it’s root, more of an insult of males than females. Food for thought.
NOW FOR A POINT:
This post isn’t teaching anyone the right thing to do. Specifically the “fag” and “hoe” posters. This post doesn’t teach you about conflict resolution and, worse, it is frequently ignorant of the harm it is doing to it’s own cause. FURTHER MORE, this campaign makes a bully of itself, using peer pressure and a bandwagon fallacy to suggest that if you use any of these words, YOU LACK A BACKBONE AND BASIC COURAGE. I have a backbone. I stick up for my gay friends. But if one of my buddies is being a fucking faggot, I’m gonna call him out.
YES calling anything “gay” with a negative connotation is WRONG because “gay” is the preferred vernacular in reference to the homosexual community, and therefore a negative use of the word IS IN FACT HOMOPHOBIC.
But really, for all of these posters, the main message should be “DON’T BE A FUCKING ASSHOLE TO PEOPLE”.
Don’t call people fags OR annoying OR bitches OR hoes. Talk to them and express complaints or concerns in a calm and rational way. A single event may shape your first impression and/or superficial opinion of somebody, but if you talk to them and know them, you might just learn that they are somebody whom - under different circumstances - you could like.
But if you’re just fucking around, call your friend a fag, fight that hoe, and be a bitch.
just DON’T BE THE ASSHOLE.
this post brought to you by ME.
Me: valiantly attempting to crush ignorance, enforce freedom of speech, and disarm words that have been weaponized by people who forget that they pave the path to hell with their good intentions.
Now go watch a George Carlin or Louis C.K. stand-up special.