How I Landed in the Ring with Azealia Banks & Perez Hilton

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xoJane.com, Jane Pratt's lifestyle site for women, is not about changing yourself to fit any mold of what others think you should be. It is about celebrating who you are. Like Sassy and Jane before it, xoJane.com is written by a group of women (and some token males) with strong voices, identities and opinions, many in direct opposition to each other, who are living what they are writing about.

Comments

  1. I hope my fans are critical, too. I don’t want a free pass.

  2. I guess you just have to remember faggot isn’t always used in a homophobic way. I call my friends faggots (and get called a faggot) but I would never actually use that word to insult, degrade and/or dehumanise somebody. I think she was using it the same way TBH, just that the person she called a faggot actually happened to be gay.

    • When you call your friends that, what does it mean?

      • I don’t know, just means faggot lol. There’s two ways to use it (other than the homophobic way). Like for a random example if I wanted them to get something I’d say “go get that, faggot” and they’d say “fuck you faggot”. Most guys are constantly insulting each other all the time (in a ‘not actually trying to insult you’ way), faggot is just one of those insults. The other way is if a guy is acting girly or scared, like for example I’m creeped out by spiders and one time when we were all hanging out a massive one dropped on me and I kinda freaked out lol, to which everyone said “stop being a faggot”. They’re not actually saying “stop being a homosexual man”, they’re just saying “stop being a faggot”. I can definitely see why that would still be seen as offensive, I just think it’s important to acknowledge the word isn’t always comng from a place of homophobia.

        • So you’re saying that the F word is always an insult, but that is okay among friends who are gay, because friends insult each other all the time. The way you describe people using the word to mean feminine or fearful is misogynist as well as homophobic.

          I don’t think this fits either of those cases, but let’s add to the folder labeled, “Ways you can use the F word that are offensive (all)”

          • Whoa there buddy, I’m not gay. Neither are my friends. I’m just letting you know the ways the word is used and I don’t think it’s uncommon at all. If you add it to that folder I’ll agree with the addition wholeheartedly, I’m just saying the word isn’t always used as an expression of hatred or fear of gay people. I’d say most of the time gay people have nothing to do with it, in fact I can’t recall many times I’ve heard the word faggot used to actually describe someone who’s gay. If Perez was straight I’m willing to bet she would’ve still called him a faggot. Maybe she even had that racism 3.0 look on the matter, you know – “I’m clearly not homophobic look at how comfortable I am using homophobic slurs”.

        • But it is. Because it it wasn’t, they’d use a word like “jerk” or “ass” or “clown.” They are saying, so far as I can see, “quit acting like a dude that may not be a fag, but sure is acting like one.”

          If acting like a faggot is “girly” and being “girly” is bad, then being a faggot is also bad, yeah? So being less than a man, is being a faggot, is being a girl. It’s just not good no matter how you look at it.

          The word means something, and I get that you think you are making it mean something else? Except, really, you aren’t. No one is. It’s a disparaging term.

          • Being a faggot is bad, yes. What I’m saying is faggot doesn’t necessarily mean homosexual (though admittedly in the second example it’s coming close). I’m not saying I’m not being ignorant on the subject, I’m just revealing that ignorance to you for you to understand the PERSPECTIVE behind the ignorance. You can’t combat what you don’t understand. People who use the word faggot like I (and pretty much every straight man I know) don’t use it thinking about gay people, it’s just a word. Like how the N word is offensive but white people will still call each other nigga and use it as an emphasis (“damn nigga!”) when there’s no black people around. Not to insult black people, because nigga is just a word to us (though I personally don’t use the word, too hipster-ish).

            • And I would argue that you can’t separate the meaning from the word. It’s terribly insulting and privileged and yeah, racist. You may not be thinking about black or gay people, but that’s because you, as a white straight man, don’t have to.

              Use it if you want, but at least know what you are doing. Own the crap behind it. It’s phobic and yeah, misogynistic. the N word is racist so either own that history and meaning (you or whoever) or be way more creative and eloquent and use words that mean bad-horrid, horrible, jerk, malfeasant, cur, etc There are thousands of words out there that don’t carry the racial or homophobic weight. But if you choose to use those words, then own the meaning.

            • Fair enough, you can argue that all you want. But telling people “you’re bad” isn’t going to make them change, it’s going to make them more defensive. I’m quite a rational person and so we can have this discussion, but if you think this is how it’s going to go down with most people who use those words…Nah. If you want to make people understand the problem behind their use of the word YOU have to understand their use of the word. Just calling them racist, homophobic, sexist or whatever (ESPECIALLY if they feel they’re not those things) is going to make them either dismiss you completely or get very defensive about a point that you could’ve otherwise made them agree with you on. You have to undnerstand that your perspective isn’t the only perspective in the world and not everyone who has a different one is just choosing to be a bad person. There are different perspectives (some of which we can objectively say are wrong, like this one) but you can’t change them without first understanding them, is my point. People who use these words aren’t thinking “I’m a bad person for this”, but it seems you think they are thinking that and just don’t care.

            • People who use these words aren’t thinking “I’m a bad person for this”, but it seems you think they are thinking that and just don’t care.

              You’re right, I do think this, and you haven’t told me anything that makes me think any differently about that. I pointed out that these uses of the word are homophobic and sexist; Julie Gillis has explained how they are, painstakingly. Saying that white people use the N word doesn’t make it less so, and to counter your point, I think it’s clearly the case that when white people do it, they’re intentionally evoking hip hop culture. The words we use, we choose for a reason. You and your friends have decided that the F word is nicely offensive as a slur. Nice job. Now tell me why you think you’re such good people for doing it.

            • Well i’m pretty sick of dealing with hostility for trying to provide you with an insight so yes go ahead and call me a bad evil person, I’m done.

            • But he isn’t doing that and I don’t see him as hostile. He’s trying to explain as are you. This is exactly the point in which the defensiveness takes over and then the response is, well hell, I can use whatever damn words I want…etc..instead of reading what’s being said. You can use whatever words you want. They do have meaning and while some people go about not being aware of them, it’s ethical to take into consideration all of the meanings and to decide what words fit your ethic. And yeah, you’ll have to deal with people’s opinion of those words if you choose to use them.

            • I don’t care anymore.

            • So here’s the thing. I don’t think they are thinking “I’m a bad person for using this word but I don’t care.” Some are using it because they are actively racist or homophobic and I’m not concerned with them. The others are using it because they aren’t thinking about what the word means. They are using it because, like you said, there is ignorance of a certain kind given to them by privilege. They don’t, most of the time, have to think about what it means. They go about saying N*gga or F*ggot thinking it’s funny or for a laugh without ever having to consider the word’s history, what it means and that by using it they are taking part in that word’s history and meaning. They are white and straight and yeah, they do get defensive. I think they get defensive for a couple of reasons-1) because they don’t like having their privilege called out (their fun stopped etc) and 2) I think someplace inside they do have an inkling that yeah, f*ggot means something not so good.

              Many, many people don’t feel they are racist or sexist or homophobic, but there still are actions they engage in sub or unconsciously that are indeed part of a system of racism, sexism, homophobia. So when that dynamic/action is pointed out, they have a choice to let it go and continue to be less and less racist etc or to keep it and be like..welp, whatevs. But at that point they can’t say they are really un-racist etc…

              I’m saying that it’s actually a good idea to think about it and then either decide a) I don’t like the meaning of those words, the implication of using them, how it might impact people or promote a system of oppression so I’ll find other words, or b) keep using the words but own the bullshit that comes with it.

              I grew up in the American south in the 70′s, as a white woman. I’m really damn clear I carry remnants of racial bullshit just like virus traces and I work hard to note them, deconstruct them and eliminate them. And it doesn’t do me any harm to do that. In fact, it makes the world a better place when I see people try to make it safer for others.

              You and your friends can do whatever you want, I just think it’s important to be really clear in yourself why you are doing it.

              I’mm off for the night so have a good one.

            • ThePaleKing74 says:

              I think Louie C.K. and Matt Stone and Trey Parker explain what Raegus was getting at much better:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-otAJrtY-w
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7C0vd-L5lg

              And if we’re going to bring up the history of the word faggot, you should note that word has been used as pejorative for women and the elderly, and don’t forget the literal definition of the word: a small stick. Also, you can do a quick Jstor or Lexus/Nexus search and pull up a plethora of articles by linguists that suggest that shorter, monosyllabic words are more apt to carry a larger variety of meanings across subcultures that speak the same language. Would Raegus’ friends be less homophobic if they were British and were used to “smoking fags” while drinking at the bar?

              People who are truly racist or homophobic or misogynist are going to find some word to belittle people they irrationally hate. Conversely, playing semantics is an easy, straw-man argument that does nothing to address that hatred and will quickly veer your perspective into irrelevancy.

            • I can understand Julie’s point to an extent. Normalising the word automatically lowers your empathy to the feelings of a gay person when it’s mentioned because it IS harder to see it as offensive. Just like glamourising black poverty trivialises their problems (I used to do this myself, wondering what black people are ‘always’ complaining about when they’re seen as “cool”, like that solves all their problems).

              In short, I’m saying it IS wrong and probably shouldn’t be used, period. I’m just saying there’s no hatred for gay people behind it when used that way.

        • I think you (and everyone) should remember (and be KEENLY AWARE) that just because a word means one thing to you does not mean that it means said same thing universally (connotation). Moreover, we should likely defer to the people against whom pejoratives are defined and leveled when it comes to determining their “appropriate” usage.

          To wit: I have a friend who is a rape victim. She does not condone the casual, flippant, figurative use of the word “rape”. Out of respect to her, I censor myself in her presence. Do I personally care how people use the word “rape”? No. Have I used it inappropriately by my friend’s standards (“I got positively RAPED with orders at work today. It sucked!”)? Yes. But I still censor myself because I can appreciate that a rape victim has a personal and intimate right to define the term “rape” having been subjected to it, and that (whether friend or stranger) any decent person should respect their wishes in regards to the term.

          • That’s just common sense.

            • If you agree, it follows that if I ask you, being a man who has sex with men and has had the pejorative “faggot” leveled against him millions of time throughout my quarter-century of life not to use the word “faggot” flippantly out of respect to me, you should agree not to do so. I really don’t care whether you do or don’t, for the record, and I don’t think you’re a horrible person for using an offensive word. I’m just clarifying for myself how you view proper usage of the term.

              I think our problem in discussing words that incite strong emotions in people is that we tend to discuss said words in absolutes: someone simply “should” or “shouldn’t” be able to use the word in question in the manner in which they are. To me, it’s less an issue of limiting someone else’s speech in a way of which I approve and more an issue of basic manners. I don’t think anyone should be prevented from using any given word, but their use of the word does reveal a degree of their character.

  3. LolitaSA says:

    I have to commend the levelheaded discussion in the comments section. I have never read a comments sections where people engaged in such a calm, intelligent and insightful manner, NEVER. I heard and understood all perspectives so clearly that I myself questioned my use of those terms. I’m from South Africa and the term kaffir is the equivalent to n’gga and so I found this topic quite relevant. Wow, my heart has been warmed.

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