Using research, Kimmel theorizes that men use the word “fag” more often than women. I tend to agree, but I’m not about to make a blanket statement that guys are more likely to use the derogatory term. I like that the author recognizes how pervasive the term is on school campuses and in the world, and I applaud her for doing what she can to keep it out of conversation.
In my opinion, Kimmel gives the best advice possible on how to prevent people from saying “faggot,” whether or not the speaker is actually referring to a gay man:
“We should start conditioning one another not to use “gay” or “fag” as synonyms for stupid or dumb.”
This really is the only way to fix the problem. This summer, a classmate would say “that’s so gay” whenever he thought something was stupid. Even though this student was not homophobic, he still didn’t understand the meaning behind his words, so I called him out on his behavior in front of the other students and told him that “gay” was not synonymous for “stupid.” A few other students laughed at me for being self-righteous, but the guy stopped misusing the word “gay.”
It’s important not to let these things slide. When politely told that these words are hurtful, others are likely to listen and think before speaking so ignorantly in public.