Let's Not Take Back the "F Word"

By Shawn Binder on February 19, 2013

Azealia Banks is a female rapper who is best known for her hit “212” and for her never ending Twitter beef with celebrities ranging from Angel Haze to Perez Hilton. If Azealia isn’t tweeting about getting high or forgetting her stash when she’s in the studio, she’s throwing insults at fellow celebrities in an attempt to seem off the cuff and raw. As a Banks fan, I wish she would put her phone down and get back to making music. Her most recent stint of twitter beef began when Banks and Perez Hilton (an obnoxiously sleazy celebrity-gossip blogger) threw insults back and forth. The event eventually escalated when Banks hurled the insult “messy f*ggot” at Hilton.

Photo via twitter.com/AZEALIABANKS

The Internet, predictably, lost their shit and sent her a fire storm of retorts. Banks later would try to defend her choice of words by saying “a faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There’s a BIG difference.” Okay, Azealia. Not to get on my social justice soap box, but this is the worst explanation for using a slur ever. Not only are you being offensive towards the LGBTQ community, you’re now dragging in gender roles into the mix, which, from my understanding is a huge hot botton with the masses. Banks later went on to further try and vindicate herself by comparing the “f word” to the “n word,” and how it strikes her that society still finds one offensive, but not the other. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure both are still hurtful.

If society is outdated, and we need to move past slurs, why would society want to take back the “f word” instead of erasing it from our venacular?

The word I’m discussing has been under the transformative power of slang for decades. The word in question was once used as slang for cigarettes and also a term for a “bundle of sticks.” It wasn’t until Americans decided to claim the word did it receive it’s hateful connotation. According to StraightDope.com, “The first known published use of the word faggot or fag to refer to a male homosexual appeared in 1914 in the U.S. It referred to a homosexual ball where the men were dressed in drag and called them “fagots (sissies).”

As someone who is personally invested in the pain that this word can cause, I’ve experienced the deep ramifications it can have. Not only have I been called this by peers and classmates, but close friends of mine have as well. The most severe incident occurred when a friend’s lawn was vandalized with an American Flag and the hurtful slur plastered on a sign for all to see.

Photo via twitter.com/AZEALIABANKS

Much like other slurs, this word holds deep emotional pain for those who have experienced it first-hand. I can still recall times in middle school being taunted by my peers for a word I didn’t even understand the meaning to. I can understand the appeal of wanting to take back a word. It’s empowering, I imagine, to take something so hateful and turn it into a word that you can use casually with the people it once hurt. However, I don’t think we’re there yet on this particular word. Homosexuality is still being regarded with the utmost disgust by parts of society. Gay youths are still ending their lives over the pain of being called this word. It is a known fact that hurtful language is usually coupled with physical attacks. Not only is this word an indicator of hate, but it help facilitates physical bullying. We, as a collective society, are not progressive enough to allow this word to have any other connotation besides the humiliating one it’s currently associated with. Albiet, this is just my opinion but I think it stands to reason that I’m not so sure the day will ever come where we will “take back the word.” The meaning of this word has, indeed, changed over the yearsonce it takes on a connotation so painful…it’s time to let it die out.

In regards to Ms. Banks…less Twitter beef, more solid rap songs.

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