Thursday, March 08, 2007

What Calling A Man Faggot Says About You

This post is my contribution to: Blog Against Sexism Day

Ann Coulter is only the most recent person to use the word faggot to insult an undisputedly heterosexual man, but think about what using that label (even in a backhanded way) says about her and all the bobbleheads who don't use the word themselves but who silently smile and nod when she uses it to mock presidential candidate John Edwards or anyone else she doesn't like.

She used this F-word on Edwards for various reasons. First, because making statements like that gets her media buzz which helps her generate income through personal appearances and book sales. (Every time she let's this F-word fly, one of her books gets it's wings.) Second, because when men show deep emotion that isn't rooted in hatred, lust or fanaticism, that emotion is considered unmanly by a large number of people.

The fact that John Edwards openly mourned the death of his teenage son in an auto accident is part of what earns him the label faggot in many people's opinion. To earn the label of real man in the eyes of Ann Coulter and her bobbleheads, John Edwards would need to swallow his pain or express it through manly excesses like leaving his wife to deal with her grief alone.

Being there for his wife as she dealt with breast cancer wasn't manly either. Real men serve their wives with divorce petitions during cancer treatment.

So many times showing open caring for women or children gets a man labeled faggot unless they talk about killing someone in the next breath. ("Death to pedophiles! Death to pedophiles! Only faggots care about due process for pedophiles!") What that means is that for the F-word users and their bobbleheads there are only faggots and assholes.

The only time these intersect is when a man is an asshole towards the F-word user or manly men. "Hey, you're only supposed to hurt lowly women and gays that way!"

This dichotomy between faggot and asshole explains violence against gays or those who seem gay in even the slightest manner. The ultimate proof that you aren't a faggot is committing assault and murder.

Consider Coulter's defense given on Fox news:

The word I used has nothing to do with sexual preference. It is a schoolyard taunt.
In other words she isn't being homophobic, she is proving that she can bully those she doesn't like right along with the asshole men who then will cheer her on and buy her books. An asshole win-win situation if I've ever seen one. At least in the short term.

There is a benefit to those who buy into this dichotomy when they have people like Ann Coulter around. She can alternatively serve as a cheerleader, a buffer and a scapegoat. If something she says meets with a huge backlash which threatens to spread to those who support her, those who buy into this dichotomy can substitute getting rid of her for getting rid of the belief system behind using the word faggot.

But this labelling isn't limited to one word, there are a cornicopia of clever words and phrases which contain this same message.

This approach to life means that fully masculine men can't feel anything but lust and anger. I find it sad that to be seen as truly masculine, a man or boy must lose or hide huge chunks of his humanity.

Complexity of thought is not welcome. And this simple-minded approach is marketed as depth of character, absolute truth and strength when it is none of these things.

The bottom line with this F-word, or its substitutes, is that they attempt to shine a spotlight on their intended targets in order to assist the spotlight holders (and their cheerleaders) in hiding parts of themselves which look rotten when they are fully exposed.

Don't forget to mark Blog Against Sexual Violence on your calendar for April 5, 2007.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:06 AM   0 comments links to this post

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