A. "Never call someone fat. Even if you're joking, you never know how much it can hurt someone."
F. "Fat" is only a word. is only a insult if you mean it to be. Context matters. The word itself is not the problem. The issue is the context of how the word was used, and, more importantly, how the person who hears the word chooses to take it. An insult may not be offensive to a person. And a noninsult may be offensive. Which is why freedom of speech demands that you have the right to offend me, and I do not have the right not to be offended
If anybody ever complains about me using the word fat I just say, "You're fat. I'm not going to sugar coat it, because you'll eat that too." And if I ever see someone calling someone else fat, rather than trying to forbid the word, I hope that person has some halfway clever response at the ready and says something like, "I'm not fat. I'm just so sexy that it overflows."
A. So does that apply with the word "gay" then? Cuz people call people gay, and also use it in a way. Saying things like "That's so gay." Meaning stupid, or "retarded", which people also say.
F. Yes, it does. Even if the word "gay" is used as insult, any insult is a personal offence. Freedom of speech allows you to criticize, satirize and indult ad mock ideas and people but it is regulated when it comes to hate speech-basically dialogue that incites violence or acts of prejudice agaist a group of people. If you called me 'gay' and meant an insult, my feelings would be hurt, maybe, but I'd still defend your right to use the word against anyone who dared to suggest you do not have that right.
H. At the same time, people should show some shred of common sense in their choice of phrases. Saying something like "that's gay" is just plain ignorant and makes you look like a bloody idiot because the word "gay" does not mean "stupid" if it is used literally or figuratively. Freedom of speech does not mean you should give some bogus meaning to a word that has already been defined. And these days, too many people use words in an ignorant way and use "freedom of speech" as their defense... and while that may be true, I hope that person is then not against being assaulted for choosing to be an asshole because it would not be appropriate to say they have their rights at the expense of someone else's.
A. True ^^
F. Words have changed their meaning ever since the first word was uttered. When our mis-use becomes common enough, the Oxford English dictionary alters it's definitions to fit current definitions. Take the word abandon for example. We use the word to mean "give up completely", like abandoning hope, abandoning a baby or surrendering ourselves to emotion. But in 14th century Middle English it meant "to subjugate or subdue" someone or something – coming from the French phrase "mettre a bandon" meaning "to give up to a public ban".
Back to gay now. Back in the 13th century the word meant "light-hearted" or "joyous" and a century later it meant "bright and showy". But in the 1630s it acquired connotations of immorality with the term "Gay woman" meaning prostitute or "gay house" a brothel. It was first used to refer to homosexuality in the 1930s.
I'd argue that those who are using the word "gay" to mean stupid are not misusing the word, but rather actively participating in the evolution of our language by changing the meaning of words people are using. That doesnt mean I like the change though.
Otherwise, I agree completely Heidi. smile emoticon
A. Cute smile emoticon
H. That's not entirely true. People can give whatever meaning they desire to any word they desire. They can say the word "pompous" means slight waisted if they so desire and that doesn't make it true. The word "gay" still means joyous or happy, no matter which way you look at it. It's whether or not you use the word literally or some otherwise formulated version thereof to suit the increasingly dimwitted society of this day and age.
F. That's not people attaching whatever meaning they desire to whatever word they desire though. This is an example of a word or phrase used to discipline members of a group, usually by teenagers A's age to put an in-member in his place or to mark group membership by singling out non-members Gay is just another in a long line of words created by the generations before us that exist for the same reason. Pantywaist, milksop, weakling, sissy, wuss, pansy, candy-ass, twinkie, cupcake ... the list goes on, have all been used.
You wouldn't say any of those words are invalid, would you? They may be slang, sure, but one of the predominant ways our language changes is through slang. When it comes to defining words, there is the standard dictionary, which by the way can show multiple meanings for one word, and there is the definition of the word in slang.
Some of the slang words that have made it in the dictionary are;
Headbanger- a hard rock musician and a fan
Dead presidents- Paper currency
Every ten years, about 100,000 new meanings to words already existing are added to the dictionary. I just love to read the dictionary and see how things have changed.