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Thread: The "F" Word

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    The "F" Word

    As an English major and someone who studies the cultural evolution of language, it interests me that on several episodes, the guys have referred to each other as "fags." Growing up, I was taught this was a derogatory term. Is it acceptable to address homosexuality by this term now? Or is it a term gay men use for each other? On the show, it is said in jest, I was just surprised to hear the guys call each other that, when I (a straight woman) would hesitate to use the word at all.
    I am genuinely curious about this and whether or not any men on this board have an opinion about this word.

  2. #2
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Lorelei, I have an article posted here on the site which discusses this same thing...

    It's odd how the use of 'queer' has evolved

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    FORT Fogey eldee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorelei
    As an English major and someone who studies the cultural evolution of language, it interests me that on several episodes, the guys have referred to each other as "fags." ........
    A little off topic but, I also believe "fag" was also an English/British slag word for cigarrette. I'm wondering if that might have something to do with the origin of the word.

    BTW, I was brought up the same way not to use words that were derogatory works to make people feel like less. To me it's a double edge sword when some people use the word one way and others still use it in a negative way.

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    Can They Do It?? mrdobolina's Avatar
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    This is kind of off topic...and might belong in the "Cold Case" thread, but....

    On last Sunday's "Cold Case", the cold case was a gay bashing back in the early "70s. The "F" word was said so many times it made me uncomfortable. Not that they were using it derogatorily, necessarily,(well, not the cops, they used it to evoke emotion and a response from suspects they were questioning), but it just seemed to me that CBS would have put the kybosh(?) on the use of that word.
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    Caged Mah Jongg Solitaire Champion Maveno's Avatar
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    I am a gay woman, and I was brought up to never use ANY derogitory slang/words for anyone....

    But...to be honest, in the gay culture (that I've noticed w/my friends) we refer to each other in certain terms that a lot of people would find very offensive. I think it's growing more acceptable to use those terms as the main stream. I call myself or my gf a lesbo at times.....and my friends (str8) always gasp when I do say it. When I say it to gay men/women..usually we giggle.

    For me personally....it's all in how it's said, and WHO is saying it. "F#ck#n# lesbo!" would offend me if said when someone is mad at me. "Shat up lesbo!" would make me giggle if said when someone isn't mad at me.

    My brother was gay also, and he always referred to himself/others as fags.

    But......this is just me & my brother.
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    FORT Fogey eldee's Avatar
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    That is very true. The tone, attitude, intension and person using it can make all the difference. It just bothers me if people are not on the same "page" or will find it easier to make an excuse. Especially, kids. They will be able to say how they said the word but, didn't mean it in a bad way. That can go for any derogatory slang. It can also be a very touchy situation for some people to feel that they own any word and the conflict or insult they feel when someone else uses it. If anyone watched Road Rules a few seasons ago, I'm thinking about the incident between Ianna (sp?) and the Norwegian guy (can't remember his name right now).

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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maveno

    For me personally....it's all in how it's said, and WHO is saying it. "F#ck#n# lesbo!" would offend me if said when someone is mad at me. "Shat up lesbo!" would make me giggle if said when someone isn't mad at me.

    I have to agree here. I think it very much depends on *who* is saying it. One of my best friends (all the way back from 8th grade) is a lesbian and I say stuff to her all the time and she says stuff back to me but its all joke. Before she came out, I would say,
    "Be quiet, freak, what would you know?" when we were play-fighting. Now I might use the term 'lesbo' instead. Actually, I probably used the term once or twice before I knew she was a lesbian. Its just the kind of mock-arguing that really good friends do. She'll call me 'soccer mom' or 'bimbo' to get me back, so it's all good.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

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    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    One of my gay friends refers to himself as a fag. In fact, several of them do. But I don't. Like others have said, it depends on who's saying it, and I wouldn't want to hurt them by using a word that was at any point offensive. They can say it about themselves, but I wouldn't say it about them. I do sometimes call them queens, though.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    I do think that I should add that I don't say things like that to my friend in front of other people. I don't want to give anyone the misconception that it's okay to use words like that carelessly.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

    "I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently." - Craig Ferguson

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    It's the same with many things. I could call my daughter a pain in the a** but if anyone else said that it would be rude. Or "I look fat" is MUCH better that "you look fat"!!

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