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The power of slurs

Slur is defined as a verb, in various ways:

1) to speak incoherntly esp. while intoxicated or due to a speaking disabilty like a lisp
2)To slander /to be slack tongued/an aspersion or disparaging remark
3)To say something that is ridiculous , inarticulate or purely obtuse

A synonym of the noun form is stigma. Its antonym is compliment.

I think the first definition is interesting. In context, a slur (as a noun, not a verb) is a disparaging remark hurled at someone you hate. It stigmatizes them. In social relations, it is frequently hierarchical: white people use racist slurs against black people, men use gendered slurs against women, and women use those same gendered slurs against other women. These slurs can be lesbophobic, or both racist and misogynist, against female minorities and gender-nonconforming females. It is a way of asserting power over someone and to create harmful division and competition. With the “intoxicated” definition of the verb, the person doing the slandering is drunk on power. Alcohol depresses higher-cognitive thought; so too does the use of slurs.

Yet this power is based on a projection, an abuse of power. Men who call women sluts and whores are making a reversal by slandering the women (reduced to sex objects, conquests and trophies) and not the men (the conquerors) who are fucking and “tainting” them. Men who call women prudes and dykes are attempting to guilt-trip them into sex or are suggesting corrective rape for lesbians. These are all in related to PIV sex and androcentric sexual values like sexual possessiveness (more on that later). On the other hand, men who are promiscuous or merely enjoy sex with any arbitrary number of partners get the double standard: they are “pimps” (positive connotation) “studs” “players” and so on.

“Just saying, if you think it’s ok to call a trans person tr*nny because they pissed you off, I wonder: are gay men you don’t like ‘faggots’? You know, are there good gay men, who behave in ways you approve, and then are there faggots? Am I deserving of respect and autonomy as a disabled person until I piss you off – do I become a cripple then? A stupid gimp who never knew anything in the first place?

Reevaluate yourself.”

– gaydiationpoisoning

When I point out these double standards to supposedly progressive or liberal men, they are stumped. They tend to reply by saying stuff like,”cunt can be used for men too” (not true, at least not in collective use), continue to use the gendered slurs against women, or argue that some women reclaim those slurs and enjoy them. They also tend to accuse women of slandering them when they make truthful observations (such as being a misogynist, racist, etc.) while not considering that being called a “whore” is a form of slander or libel. Why? Because they do not want to relinquish that form of male privilege, that abuse of power. If they give it up, they will have to find a new way to address women they don’t like, and maybe actually examine their arguments on their own merit. And that’s a difficult thing to do.

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