Gay Does Not Mean Stupid

I just blogged about my dissatisfcation with a Wildcat column, and now, I’m looking to praise new columnist, Tiffany Kimmel for her opinion piece in today’s paper.

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.

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3 thoughts on “Gay Does Not Mean Stupid

  1. I HATE is when men (in particular my husband and his fellow co-workers) use “gay” or “fag” in stupid little insults to each other. I know for a fact that none of them are homophobic, and like the guy in class, I feel like if someone were to really call them out (since I’m his wife, apparently, no matter how often I try, it doesn’t work), they might stop using the terms in such a derogatory way.

  2. Yeah, it’s ironic how people will let derogatory sayings slide, but will call us out or laugh at us for trying to correct it.

    I saw some great stand-up comedy this last week (including Patton Oswalt) but one thing that was said by someone that I found interesting was how conditioned we are to leaving well enough alone. One of the comics was doing some jokes about his sister from out in the midwest coming to the big city for the first time and being genuinely concerned about the life of a homeless man she stumbled across, and the irony that her brothers were actually encouraging her to stay away from him and that he should be that way. Which of course, we know isn’t the case, but that’s just how people are conditioned to act.

    It looks weirder to society to help people than to stay silent.

    1. Yeah, everyone was surprised that I told my classmate, who was my friend, that “gay” was not a proper description for Katy Perry’s dumb song. The others giggled, but I think they got the point. Sometimes, someone just has to say something and all the others will take it in, even if they visibly try to appear cool and aloof.

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