Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dina Pinsky

Second Advisor

Ana Maria Garcia

Abstract

As minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced many hardships throughout history, such as the use of language as a weapon against them. However, this research explores the public display of linguistic reappropriation of LGBTQ+ derogatory language and terms within the community. Throughout history, the use of slurs (e.g. faggot and dyke) and their social definitions have shifted from having no connection to the community to directly affected these individuals. These terms have been used to demonize members of the LGBTQ+ community for decades. Despite this reality, there are some scholars who suggest that these terms are being reappropriated, but the prior research and literature on this reappropriation have not explored the possible gender differences involved. In a public sphere, such as protests and rallies, many people are comfortable showing their reclamation of slurs, but others are not, and this split lies heavily within gender. To determine the validity of this argument, this research involves a content analysis on 6 top LGBTQ+ news websites to determine whether there is gender disparity in this form of reappropriation and why that may be. Out of 269 total articles, 106 held self-proclaiming attitudes about “dyke” whereas 127 held derogatory attitudes about “faggot”; perhaps because of previous women’s rights movements and/or the sexualization of female queerness. This divide also shows how masculine gender roles and Patriarchal culture can take their toll on the confidence of queer men.

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“We’re here, we’re queer, we will not live in fear!”: A Content Analysis Exploring Gender Disparity in the Public Reappropriation of LGBTQ+ Slurs

As minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced many hardships throughout history, such as the use of language as a weapon against them. However, this research explores the public display of linguistic reappropriation of LGBTQ+ derogatory language and terms within the community. Throughout history, the use of slurs (e.g. faggot and dyke) and their social definitions have shifted from having no connection to the community to directly affected these individuals. These terms have been used to demonize members of the LGBTQ+ community for decades. Despite this reality, there are some scholars who suggest that these terms are being reappropriated, but the prior research and literature on this reappropriation have not explored the possible gender differences involved. In a public sphere, such as protests and rallies, many people are comfortable showing their reclamation of slurs, but others are not, and this split lies heavily within gender. To determine the validity of this argument, this research involves a content analysis on 6 top LGBTQ+ news websites to determine whether there is gender disparity in this form of reappropriation and why that may be. Out of 269 total articles, 106 held self-proclaiming attitudes about “dyke” whereas 127 held derogatory attitudes about “faggot”; perhaps because of previous women’s rights movements and/or the sexualization of female queerness. This divide also shows how masculine gender roles and Patriarchal culture can take their toll on the confidence of queer men.

 
 

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