Friday, September 26, 2014

Do the words #bakla and #bading still necessarily refer to #homosexual men?


One one hand, the use of disparaging or abusive words or phrases to characterize your government (like "faggotry") can be seen to be in extremely bad taste. An equivalent of this would be to characterize the Obama Administration as "niggerish" because of the President's African ancestry and his policies that are favorable to civil rights.

But then the word 'faggotry' has increasingly been used more to describe conduct and behaviour (both of which can be changed) and has had less to do with race or sexual orientation (both of which cannot be changed). So comparing it to the hypothetical use of "niggery" to describe Obama's government is really an apples-to-oranges exercise.

Nonetheless, it can be argued that the use of a negative term widely used to describe a group; as a pejorative tends to propagate and sustain the climate of abuse that gave rise to the slur to begin with. Perhaps, a more apt comparison would be the word "gay" used as an adverb by the hip-hop crowd to mean "light weight, insipid, or repulsive", is a double edged sword that not only describes an action, but also defames a specific group at the same time.

But one can also argue the point by asking the question: Why does the male gay community choose to continue to associate themselves with those 'offensive' words? The words are evidently used to describe bad things. So then perhaps gay people should start regarding these words as no longer necessarily referring to their community.

It's sort of like the reverse process of what happened to the word 'gay'. The word once connoted something else. But then it increasingly was used to refer to homosexuals. So then over the years people started using it less to describe a happy occasion.

So maybe we should now start being more precise about how we distinguish words that describe sexual orientation and words that describe flat out bad behaviour and/or bad taste.

Interestingly too, Chris Rock who is African-American once launched into a diatribe about 'brothers who continue acting like niggers'. In that, he was highlighting the word 'nigger' as more a description of an attitude that should be eradicated rather than a word that slurs his entire ethnicity.

That said, African Americans call themselves "nigger" because they realize that one way to neutralize the power of the term is to appropriate it. They are the only one who may use the term. They own it. There is a similar phenomenon in the gay community. Gays call each other "bakla"; but would be very insulted if a straight person called them that.

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Compiled from a Get Real Post comment exchange.
http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2014/09/kabadingan-and-kalaswaan-in-philippine-government/comment-page-1/#comment-767941

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