Faggot. Pussy. Bitch. Sissy.
I have used all of these words when describing another man. I never used these words to add anything to anyone, but always with the intent to diminish another man’s manhood and correlate him to being “like a girl.”
Through a litany of images, influences and messages, men are groomed to believe that women are not equal to them.
Recently, social justice advocate and Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler rightfully highlighted the sexist and homo-antagonistic signage used by BYU fans directed at the Mississippi State football team. Many BYU supporters pushed back against Cyd’s claim that the word ‘sissy’ is homophobic.
This begs the question, “what is the goal of calling another man a ‘sissy’?”
Is sissy an affirming word?
Is sissy a word a son has ever spoken when thanking his father for helping him learn and master the game of football?
Is sissy a word ever used by a coach when offering praise to his all-star middle linebacker when making a game-saving tackle on the other team’s fullback at the goal line on fourth down?
The word ‘sissy’ is never used to attach positive attributes to a man.
One can argue that the word ‘sissy’ has nothing to do with gay men and therefore can’t be homophobic.
Let’s assume it doesn’t.
If the word isn’t used to affirm a man, and it’s not homophobic, then it must be used to remove something from a man. I argue that the goal in using the word is to remove all perceived stereotypical masculine attributes from a man.
So what does that leave us with? If the word ‘sissy’ isn’t homophobic (coughing – bullshit) then it can only be sexist and demeaning to women.
The BYU fans — and others across sports — who use the word ‘sissy’ have to decide whether they want their actions to be labeled as sexist or homophobic.
The choice is yours, BYU fans. Do you choose accountability and genuine remorse by apologizing for the use of the word ‘sissy’? Or do you choose sexism or homophobia? (And FYI: Many, including myself, believe the root of homophobia is sexism.)
Have a great season.