Hey guys I’m here today to talk about the topic of not being an asshole. Or to formally say it, phrases and sayings that are not acceptable in today’s social climate. There is a severe problem plaguing our generation. I can say with certainty that almost everyone in this room has said, or heard something like “that’s so gay” but not to describe a wedding between two people of the same sex, or “are you on your period” but not in a ‘do you need painkillers’ way, within the last week.
Some of you are probably thinking something along the lines of “wow people still use gay as a synonym for bad” and to answer your question, yes, they do, while some others of you are thinking “so, who cares”, well you’re one of the reason I chose this topic.
I’ve had lots debates about this topic with several people, and usually the outcome is them laughing it off and calling me a ‘raging feminist’, another outdated and offensive term. Feminist, by dictionary definition, is a person who believes in and supports the idea of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
Over the years many different forms of feminism have emerged, people who simply want equality women, people who believe that women are better than men, and people who want equality for every one the mentally and physically disabled, and people of colour. The later is the idea of feminism is what I, and all of you should, believe in.
Now I am not blaming the male sex for this problem but most times I’ve heard the words “That’s so gay” come out of someones mouth, in my experience, its a guy. There’s a simple explanation for this. Toxic masculinity. The concept of Toxic masculinity is defined as ‘One of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. It refers to the socially-constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.’
To make that easy to understand, from birth boys are told they have to grow up and be ‘Men’ and all throughout childhood society pushes the idea that a ‘Man’ is some one who doesn’t have feelings, and if he does share them, he’s effeminate or gay. And that brings us back to the topic of this speech
Men, and boys, often feel as though they have trade feelings for a stoic and distant personality. Its all they know. So when one of their friends, or someone they know expresses themselves in a different, more in touch with their feelings way, it is presumed, they must be gay, because having feelings is a girl thing, something a proper ‘man’ doesn’t do.
statistics from the 2015 survey of 1000 teenagers from all over new zealand show that 1 out of 15 people is a part of the lgbt+ community, that means, statistically, that there is at least one person in this classroom that has attraction to the same gender. And in our year group there is at least 10 people apart of the lgbt+ community, and it is likely that one of these people is a friend, or someone you sit with in class.
Can you imagine struggling with your identity, and every day hearing it bashed on daily basis, being used as a synonym bad , when your already trying so hard to accept it yourself. Some of you probably are. When people say things like “That’s so gay” they aren’t trying to be offensive, and they aren’t trying to be hurtful, but intentions do not matter, because the fact is, when you say something like that, you are hurting someone, you are attacking someones identity, or pushing someone further into denial.
Toxic masculinity can also be linked back to the phrase “Are you on your period?” If you do not understand why this is offensive, please pay attention. It is an inconsiderate way of instantly dismissing, and shaming a girl for being angry or upset about something someone has said. Since as long as human kind can remember, women have had a menstruation cycle. One of the stages of this cycle lasts 3-7 days, most commonly referred to as the period, and consists of cramps, the shedding of the lining of the uterus, and some people can experience mood swings, due to hormone imbalances, and pain. A lot of teenage girls can be embarrassed or ashamed of their period, and people will see this and use it as a way to dismiss their feelings. This is not okay. It is a part of life for nearly every person of the female gender on this planet. Stop shaming us for it.
Another unacceptable phrase in today’s society and especially in our community is “That’s retarded”, or calling your friends a “downy” People throw this word around everyday, not realising the weight it carries. People born with downs syndrome are affected throughout their life, with intellectual disability, developmental delays, and distinct facial features. Despite these setbacks with proper treatment and care they can be integrated into society as working, functioning people. They work so hard to be on the same playing field as people born without these disorders, and people make light of their situation and feelings by constantly using these terms in a derogative or offensive way.
You don’t know how the person next to you feels, you don’t know how I feel, you don’t know how anyone in this room feels, and half the time you probably don’t even now how you feel, so next time before you open your mouth to say something offensive, take a moment to stop and think “wow am i really going to be that asshole who ruins someones day because I can’t be bothered think of a word that describes something is bad other than the word gay”, and hey, if you go ahead and say it anyway I guess you are that asshole, and that’s your own personal choice
I hope that after listening to my speech I will changed your view on theses topics, or confirmed the view you already had. People are struggling with things every day, like their sexual, or gender identity, or struggling from a learning disorder, or even just a girl being on her period. Making a small change to your every day vocabulary can make an immense difference in their lives, and I hope after listening to my speech i have convinced you to make that change. Thank you for listening.