0 to 100 / Watch your words

It still shocks me every time I hear offensive language being used in regular day-to-day conversations. All I think to myself is that it’s 2016 and we still do not realize this one thing: words carry weight.

I can’t tell you how much it hurts to hear men calling their friends “f*ggots” as a joke because it’s the normal thing to do, to hear a person call some- one out as a “p*ssy” because they come off as weak or lacking strength or to have someone say that someone else is “r*tarded” because they said something stupid. These types of scenarios happen all too often.

These words are not synonymous for stupid. Unintelligent means stupid. Dumb means stupid. Ignorant means stupid. But those words I just mentioned, those have nothing to do with the meaning of stupidity.

Why is someone’s intelligence bashed and berated with derogatory slurs just because they said something someone else doesn’t agree with? What does sexuality have to do with someone’s level of intelligence? How is calling someone a pussy reflective of them lacking toughness?

Back in the day, the word r*tarded was used in medical terms, but today it’s different. If someone utters it, it is clear it is meant to be offensive. Hardly anyone uses it to describe mental conditions anymore.

All I think about when this kind of language is used, and many like it, is how it makes the person appear smaller. People I once looked up to or thought of as friendly I find hard to associate with after continuous uses of slurs and offensive discourse. If you cannot articulate your argument — or simply hold a conversation — without the use of derogatory words, then that argument has holes.

This type of language — specifically in which women or female parts are used in conjunction with slurs — is part of a larger problem that stems from misogyny. If we don’t like how someone is behaving or think it’s stupid, we tell them to stop acting like a little girl. If someone acts scared, they’re a p•ssy. This is all part of the sexist society we live in.

The way you say things ultimately has a greater, deeper affect than you think. There’s a reason writers spend so much time deciphering word choice trying to decide what sounds just right. It’s because each individual word holds significant meaning, and each one comes off a different way to its recipient.

Words carry weight. The terminology you use matters. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean for things to sound a certain way. A lot of the time we say things without meaning harm or offense, not realizing just how much they affect someone. If we collectively take the time to acknowledge that our words matter, we can end up saving ourselves a lot of trouble, heartache and misunderstanding.