Stop Saying Classy, and 4 Other Phrases to Ban From Your Vocabulary
Finally, someone on the interwebs has elaborated on what I've been saying for so many years now: Slate is calling for people to stop using the word "classy." We hear the word all the time...to describe a celebrity's behavior, for example, or to discuss the kinds of clothes someone is wearing. Well, newsflash everyone — the word classy is actually pretty classist and is used to describe things in a way that bolsters the upper-class, and stereotypes and puts down the behaviors of lower classes. As I wrote for Lash Magazine in 2013:
"Colloquially, the word classy is use to describe something sophisticated, fancy, and upscale – but what you're basically saying when you call something or someone classy is “upper-class.” By calling a place or someone's behavior unclassy is essentially equating them with the lower class, implying that the lifestyle of people within that demographic is inferior."
While I understand and acknowledge that many people probably don't use the word with malicious intent, it's still not OK to use words and phrases that perpetuate systemic discrimination and have problematic historical or etymological roots. But classy isn't the only problematic word or phrase people nonchalantly use. Some others include:
1. Ladies and Gentleman
For a phrase that purports itself as being all-inclusive of everyone in the room, "ladies and gentleman" is a pretty exclusive phrase because, you know, a lot of people aren't ladies or gentleman, or are both, or are kind of one and kind of the other, or don't even subscribe to the male/female reference point for gender because they know the BINARY IS A LIE.
2. First World Problems
Believe it or not, people in the third world also have things like cell phones, shopping malls, holiday themed coffee, and human experiences similar to ours. "OMG my crush wont text me back" isn't just a first world problem. People in countries that are differently developed than ours have complex, nuanced, and sometimes trivial experiences, too.
3. "I'm Not Like Other Girls"
This phrase makes me really sad because it breeds unnecessary girl-on-girl hate. Why is it so bad to be like other girls? And why do you think all other girls are the same? And besides:
4. I Just Want a Gay Best Friend
Because obviously all gay men ever want to do is shop, talk about other men and with you, douse themselves in glitter, help you with your makeup, and surround themselves with straight, cisgender females.
The list goes on and on. Words and phrases like lame, retarded, pussy, gay, ghetto, ratchet, basic, white trash, and no homo, in addition to the phrases and words mentioned above get thrown around too casually, and even if they're not being used with direct intent to hurt anyone, think before you speak.