Kobe Bryant: Fined for Using Anti-Gay Slur
So yet another sports figurehead is feeling the repercussions of using homophobic slurs during a game. A few weeks ago, LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for hurling an insult towards an NBA referee. Because of TV censorship, I never caught which word was actually used, but my guess is that it began with an “f” and rhymed with “maggot”. Now Joakim Noah, who plays for the Chicago Bulls, is facing similar consequences after following Kobe’s lead.
Homophobic slurs and gay-bashing still present themselves frequently, but the formation of various campaigns to stop such intolerance is slowly eradicating anti-gay sentiments. I’ve done my part to show support, for I believe the degradation of another individual shouldn’t be acceptable anywhere. That’s why I also support the consequences these men are facing.
However, these recent events really got me thinking about the prevalence of other types of inappropriate name-calling. We wholeheartedly reject the notion that gay-bashing is okay and that using the F-word (and I’m not talking about “feminism”) is tolerable, yet society seems to openly embrace other negative terms. The most obvious one being, “bitch”. Okay, maybe society hasn’t quite “embraced” it, but it does accept it’s open usage. “Bitch” has become the new “bro” or “dude” and it’s commonly used to describe things that are great or cool (“Man, that song is bitchin’”). It has a positive connotation as well as a negative one. Bitch is an all around descriptive word that can be used to express various things. We forget how the word “bitch” can be used to degrade an individual – that is, until we hear, “That girl is such a bitch.” And even then it isn’t taken seriously because nowadays even friends call each other “bitch.”
I have a huge problem with this, not only because of the word’s history and the fact that it’s been used as a tool for verbal abuse, but also because its neutrality in today’s society permits and accepts its usage whilst describing or referring to females.
Women have worked so hard to stop people from accepting the term “bitch” as appropriate terminology. It’s sad that our society, in which public figures are punished, if caught, for calling a gay man the F-word or a black man or woman the N-word, has softened the sting that a word like “bitch” used to produce. Shouldn’t using “bitch” be held to the same standard?
Unfortunately, I know a lot of girls who call each other “bitch”, “whore”, and “slut.” They use the argument that if the intentions of the word aren’t bad, it can be used as an endearing nickname. Yeah, I’m pretty sure my gay friends are going to welcome the idea of me calling them F-words. And using that same logic, maybe Kobe and Joakim were just giving their gay friends and fans a shout out.