Thursday, June 7, 2012

Live From Facebook! How Insulting Is It To Use Gay As An Insult?

I get it... Texans don't like homosexuals, non-Christians, or Democrats, but don't you think it is time to get over it. A good buddy decided to purchase a Mini Cooper (not the WUW? crew's first pick for a car) and took an always entertaining Facebook poll to get some thoughts on it. We often talk about overt forms of sexism, racism, homophobia when it presents itself in pop culture but it is probably as important to address the everyday ways in which these societal viruses manifest themselves in language. 

While the FB poll participants were divided between the awesomeness and terribleness of the Mini Cooper, we would like to call you attention to the two respondents that substituted the adjective "gay" for terribleness. 

Kevin Townes, male from Iowa and residing in Dallas, Texas, asserted that the Mini was not only "gay" but that it was "super gay" - what exactly does it mean for a vehicle to be super gay? Similarly, Tiffany Kimbrough, from Nacogdoches, Texas believes that the vehicle "screams gay" and further qualifies her statement with a commentary on masculinity by stating "real men drive trucks."

In summary, we can conclude that part of being male is the ownership of a truck and that the Mini Cooper, as "gay" as it is, prefers only to date other Mini Coopers.  

Maybe it is time to retire the word gay as an adjective. Or maybe we could just call everything that is terrible "straight"....

This blog is so straight,


Krisi Kiser said...

There are a lot of words that we could all agree need to be retired when they are misused and offensive. However, I don't think we are really living in a society where language is upheld respectfully, so it is not surprising to me that words are thrown around without thinking through what the words being said actually mean. Not saying it makes it right to misuse words, just pointing out that it is done in a lot of other contexts, so I think the real problem is not realizing what you are saying. Just my take on it, although I am also a person that refuses to ever use the works "sick" or "bad" to refer to something I love:)

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." – Proverbs 12:18

WhatUpWally? said...

I agree, that is the point of the blog. Some of the words we use reinforce cultural norms that marginalize people for arbitrary reasons. You are correct that people often don't realize how their words can produce cultural scenarios that are harmful to individuals and that is the reason that we should call attention to those words.

It is the seemingly harmlessness of speaking in such a way that represents the cultural rejection of certain groups.