“Lick my foot, fag.”
I’ve spoken about this topic many times before, but my feelings on it have evolved over time. I thought it’d be nice to restate what I feel about the matter.
For a long time, I was not a fan of the word “faggot”, for it’s obvious negative connotations. I know I heard the word directed at me in my middle and high school days, and it really stung. My husband is also no fan of the word, and finds it quite offensive in any context, including Dom scenes.
With the rise of tumblr, I began seeing more and more posts of Dom/sub scenes, or even just a vanilla blowjob, accompanied by texts talking about “what a faggot” the sub must be. For a while, I really could not understand the attraction, even for those who enjoyed verbal and humiliation. I was fine and good with many aspects of verbal, but that one seemed to cross a line.
As time went on, though, a couple of things happened to me. One, I suppose I got a bit inured to it. See it often enough, and it doesn’t seem as shocking. Two, I began to run into quite a few cyber slaves (and real life ones, too), who actually seemed to sincerely get turned on by it. I remember working with one cyber slave, who I called virtually every name under the sun (slave, bitch, whore, slut, pig, inferior, etc.) but not the “f” word. And after working with him for nearly a year, I finally called him one. And he seemed to enjoy it (in the context of a scene, of course). I remember actually being a bit nervous as I typed it. I wasn’t sure how he would react, and I wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. But his response practically encouraged it.
That led to a bit of an avalanche effect, and I now frequently call slaves fags. That said, I always ask first if they are okay with it. But I’m finding a remarkable number of subs are, and seeing how turned on they get by it in turn gets me a bit turned on. To the point where I now actually can find it kinda sexy and oddly empowering (again, all this assumes a suitable context).
I think the question may now be–why?
I have a bit of a theory on this, based solely on my own observations. But in this age, acceptance of gays in the mainstream is on it’s highest upward trajectory, and is showing little sign of slowing. And while of course homophobia still exists, I think many young gay men (and women, but this is a male blog, so I’m focusing on that) may be growing up in a time where that word can take on a different meaning, depending on who’s saying it and in what manner. It really is essentially a taboo word now to the straight community, yet often it can still be used within our own culture–not unlike the n-word in African American culture. Saying it to each other takes a bit of the sting out of it, somehow.
Now I know not all agree, and I think those who disagree do indeed have a very strong case, and I respect that. The blog author of Leather. Bondage. Love. has often voiced his opinion strongly against the word, and I don’t really disagree with his view. He makes a lot of good points. I seriously doubt he’d want to hear it in the context of a scene or not. For me, as long as the word is used in the context of a scene, and all parties consent beforehand, I have no problem with it. I do use it here on the blog from time to time, because I figure if you are visiting, it’s quite likely you fall into that category (although not all, I realize, so I try not to overdo it).
A few tumblr posts have also been going around recently because it can blur the line between a scene and genuine abuse. Real mental and physical abuse is a real problem in both gay and straight relationships… but as you can imagine, it can be even more difficult to distinguish if the relationship is an kinky one. I do feel that is also a sincere concern, but I don’t completely agree that means we should just eradicate the word in totality. Again, the word can be a real turn on if said in a consensual scene. Both the Dom and sub need to remain in constant communication before, after, and even during a scene to make sure all limits are respected–both physical and mental.
Context is key. If I ask a sub if they are okay with that word during a scene, that’s one thing. If you are honestly comfortable and turned on by hearing it, then there’s no problem. The instant you feel a twinge of discomfort, then it should stop. And if it’s shouted to me on a public street, or when slapped by my husband because I dropped a dish I was washing, that’s not consent and is a very different matter.