I was going about my important business (read: scrolling through Facebook posts hoping to find something interesting), and I saw a meme about the slang ‘fuckboy’. I saw the term used before this, and, based on context clues, figured it to mean a dude whom a woman keeps on the side to get laid whenever she wants. However, some of the memes didn’t entirely agree with my guess of what the word meant, so I did what every self-respecting internet user would do, and googled that shit.
It turns out that ‘fuckboy’ has many different meanings. Some cultures reference it as a piece of shit, some as a womanizer (also a piece of shit), and some follow my perceived definition of it. This I didn’t really think twice about since a lot of English language vocabulary (especially slang) takes on several different meanings. If you don’t believe me, look up the word ‘set’, and you’ll find it has more than 100 variation. (Source: dictionary.com)
Again, this is nothing surprising. No, what was surprising was an article I found by one Kara Brown. She apparently had read an article written by white authors who had made a passing reference to ‘fuckboy’ during an article about Tinder. From this, she went on a rant about how white people steal words like ‘fuckboy’ and make it seem as if they’re the ones that came up with it instead of giving black people (or anyone not white, really) the credit for it.
First of all, let me make one thing clear. I get that there’s a problem with cultural appropriation. There are many important issues concerning it, and a lot of misunderstanding surrounding it. There’s also definitely a fine line between actual cultural appropriation and the ancient realization that one can find something negative in anything if they look hard enough, but right now I’m more concerned about why Kara fights so hard in this rant to have something so stupid be attributed to her culture.
The truth is that minority cultures shouldn’t have to fight for their cultural significance in today’s society. For example, black people shouldn’t have to fight to let the world know that blue rhythm inspired rock music. However, when there is a larger culture of people that exists among small cultures and that larger culture uses something from the small culture’s uh culture, then it tends to be assumed en masse that the larger culture pioneered it. This in turn takes some of the smaller culture’s relevance away from society as a whole. This is not a good thing.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Kara Brown’s rant. She takes it upon herself to call out these white authors for ignoring the fact that ‘fuckboy’ came from black culture, and that the black culture should be right, justly, and solely attributed to the coining of the term. As a human being and an America, she has the rights to ask for whatever she wants. However, what she gets might be an entirely different thing, and in this case, she didn’t get what she was expecting.
While it’s true that the overall tone of her (very angry) piece was about cultural appropriation, the centerpiece of her argument, the correct attribution of ‘fuckboy’ to the black culture, destroyed her whole argument, and degraded her culture as a whole.
Let me put it simply: why would anyone from any culture want to have ‘fuckboy’ correctly attributed to them? It’s like being in an elevator, smelling the most rotten, eye-watering fart, and then raising your hand and taking responsibility for it when it wasn’t you.
The term ‘fuckboy’ is without a doubt, a stinky, deadly fart. It’s a stupid term that means nothing and adds nothing to society. It’s neither a revelation nor a game changing proverb. It’s like screaming YOLO before you jump out of a plain without a parachute or swallowing a match after drinking a cup of jet fuel. Why would anyone, especially a minority culture, use this word as the basis for an argument of cultural appropriation?
They wouldn’t. They shouldn’t.
By writing a rant where one needs their cultural validation to come from a term such as ‘fuckboy’, you effectively degrade your culture. Yes, I’m well aware that each culture’s dialect is unique to that culture, but that doesn’t mean that everything members of that culture come up with should remain exclusively attributed to that culture. I mean, would you want to be part of a culture that fights to have ‘fuckboy’ correctly attributed to them? Hell no. That’s some embarrassing shit.
This brings me to my last point, which is this: when you fight for your culture, you need to do it right. You need to pick your battles because we are a people of judgment bastards. Fight for blues inspiring musical history. Fight against blackface, yellowface, or other ****face issues that degrade your culture.
If after all that, you still want ‘fuckboy’ to be a staple of your culture, then fine. Enjoy the term. We don’t want it. I’m sure other cultures don’t want it, either. Just don’t be surprised if someone comes along, and comments on how atrociously stinky your fart is, because you asked for it.