Another day, another social media controversy for rapper Azealia Banks. But this time, it has nothing to do with her ongoing feud with fellow rapper Iggy Azalea. The current controversy started when Azealia Banks asked why she can't use gay slurs, while gay men are allowed to use misogynistic slurs about women.
In a long Instagram post, the bisexual rapper questioned the leeway given to certain groups of people regarding different derogatory terms and who is given a pass to say the words, namely, gay men. Her post, which appeared on Feb. 5, begins with her asking why gay men are allowed to use the word "b*tch" to describe women, while women are not allowed to use the word "f*ggot" to describe gay men. Banks also said, "The argument is that countless gay kids hear the word "f*ggot" before they are beat to death… But do you know how many women hear the word "B*tch" before their husbands beat them to death? Before they are murdered/raped…?" Unsurprisingly, this argument did not go over very well with all of her followers, some of whom criticized her on the post.
Now, Banks does have a point about the implications of the word "b*tch." After all, it cannot be ignored that the word definitely has a history of misogynist undertones. So her criticism of that word alone is completely valid, especially since she has probably been insulted with term. However, the word "f*ggot" has an ugly history of being directly associated with homophobia and hate crimes against homosexual men. Since Banks is not a gay man, it is difficult for her to make the argument that she can reclaim an insult that has probably not been used against her. Just because two words are demeaning to different groups of people doesn't mean that it's necessarily fair to compare the words or to fight over which is more dehumanizing.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that just because someone insults you with a hateful word doesn't necessarily give you free reign to use whatever word you want to insult them back. After all, how would she feel if someone not part of the black community were to insult her by using the N-word against her? Considering her steadfast dedication to black culture, my guess is she wouldn't be asking questions about whether that's OK on her Instagram.
Furthermore, if Banks truly believes in what she is saying about the misogynist implications of the word "b*tch," then wouldn't a more sensible solution be to suggest that no one use that word, and in turn, that no one use the word "f*ggot" either? But if her past use of the latter word to gay blogger Perez Hilton (as well as other artists) is any indication, it looks like she hasn't been taking that solution into consideration. And it's probably safe to say that we shouldn't hold our breath for her to do that.
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