Comedy is something we get, we don’t get, some shoots over our heads, and then there is some comedy that offends us and not everyone else. Are we wrong to be offended while others are not?
And then there are words that we use in some instances and not others and some words that should not be used at all. Here is where Miss Margaret Cho, her comedy(?), and today’s Facebook post comes in.
Does the word FAG offend you? If you’ve made your peace with it, congrats. If you have not, we understand that, too. Just like the n-word, some POC use it and others do not and will never. Words are powerful and words as well mean nothing to many. They will use them without knowing what is behind them.
So, today, as I am sitting on my couch reading positive stories about National Coming Out Day (NCOD), Margaret Cho’s post pops up on my feed. Here’s a screen shot, just in case it gets modified or taken down, but I’ll leave the link to Facebook at the end of this article.
I had to read that Margaret Cho post a couple of times and then read what others were saying about it in the comments. There was love and adoration for Cho, saying she’s one of us and always been a supporter, but then there were other comments that aligned with what I was thinking. I’m on the side that it was a bad choice of words. Not only is she using the f-word, but she is using it in a negative fashion. Cho is using it in place of words like asshole or dictator or awful politicians. Many Facebook comments try to lift Cho above my questioning her word usage by saying, “She’s used this word for years, and reiterating that she is one of us, one of the LGBT. She’s a comedienne.”
If you think this is an example of reclaiming the word for ourselves, our opinions differ. And if we do differ, I am sure your comments will be similar to the ones I already received on Facebook, like grow a pair and your slip is showing, or calling others that agree with me, Mary. Yes, it doesn’t get too old on Facebook to turn your opponent into a dumb, stupid female since they are apparently morons and the weaker sex. Bravo Facebook users!
IF we want to reclaim this word, we need to use it only in a positive fashion. We cannot use it in a negative term toward others. That is what she did and it was wrong.
Maybe I would not have been as triggered … or apparently in need of a tampon since I am a weak pathetic female with a bleeding vagina … if she had said, “Hey, how are all my f@&s on NCOD?” I would have said, oh well, not a good word to use, it’s her humor, and it’s not in a negative fashion or degrading like we all were privy to growing up.
Going one step further for me, the f-word is one that I personally don’t want to hear from a female, that’s just me. If my best female friend said it, I would stop her mid-sentence and say, “No.” I as well cringe a little when other gay men use it in a negative fashion, and yes, I have used it that way as well in the past. Negative usage of that word should not happen, but it does, but we are working on it, or at least we all should be working on it.
And in no means is this a “cancel-culture” post. We do not need to throw away a person’s career or livelihood for one slip up like this. Margaret Cho should not quit comedy and we should not quit her. But there should be something learned from this so it does not occur again, lets say on Martin Luther King Jr Day.
My other title for this post used on Twitter and Facebook is “We Can’t Wait To See If Margaret Cho Uses The N-Word On MLK Day.” Why did I say that? Well, it stems back 18 years ago to when I was an advisor for a high school’s Civil Rights Team. We had a conference in Augusta, Maine (Maine, one of the top three whitest states in the US) and broke out into different sessions. One of those sessions was talking about words and how do they make us feel when used.
The discussion focused on fag and the n-word being used in school, public, the media, entertainment. Over and over and over, the moderators were saying, we cannot use fag or the n-word, just like that. Then they broke the students up into smaller groups to talk about the words and the feelings that went along with them. After we came back to the group, I spoke up. I said, “Why are we saying we should not use fag and the n-word? Why aren’t we saying we should not be using the f-word and the n-word. What if we said we should not be using the f-word and n****r (I said the whole word aloud)? Would that be the same? If both words are bad, why are we hyphenating one and not the other in this discussion?”
So, yeah. I have a history with this f-word world as many of us do. But apparently it is that time of the month for me and I’m a mess and a weak female, according to fellow commentors on the Bookface. As I always say, if all you have is insults, then you have nothing else.
Is it overreacting if we wish to not see that word used in a negative fashion toward anyone?
Can you reclaim a word and its power by using it negatively toward others?
Was this just an example of comedy that just didn’t hit with everyone and we should move on? An if it was comedy, what was supposed to be the punchline? Do help a gay man out.
This post is clearly the opinion of this contributing writer and may not reflect the opinions of other contributing writers or Instinct Magazine.