A few days ago I noticed that some of my friends on Facebook had 'liked' a page called The Official Rules of "No Homo". I went to the page and saw that it had 28,236 fans and counting. Now me not being a big fan of this phrase and wanting to take any chance I could to address it, I decided to leave a message on the page. Now, looking back at how I worded said message I realize that I could have and should have been a bit more diplomatic about things. However, going into it I knew I was dealing with teenagers, and teenagers don't often respond well to diplomacy so I though it best to skip that stage. Also I was in a bit of a rotten mood due to several factors. Anyway I shouldn't have handled it the way I did, but here was my attempt at enlightenment:
"I think it's so funny that all the guys on here are SO insecure in their masculinity that they feel the need to casually use this phrase. Are you that afraid of anything that could cast a shadow of doubt on your sexuality? This is just as bad as calling something 'gay' as a synonym for lame or whatever. THINK about what you say before you say it, THINK about the power of words, and freaking think about the homophobic community from which this phrase came from."
Obviously, the Rules of No Homo community did not accept my statement. But before I move on in my story, let's talk about this phrase, where it came from, how it's used, and what exactly is wrong with it.
Now my information may be wrong, so correct me if it is, but apparently the phrase "no homo" was started by Lil Wayne. He's blessed our ears with gems such as this:
"Got money out the ass / No homo but I'm rich."
A modern Bob Dylan indeed.
Apparently his 'no homo' business started a while after this picture surfaced of him kissing a fellow male rapper:
This makes his motives ridiculously clear. Whether or not people were legitimately questioning his sexuality after this photo came out (NO PUN INTENDED LOL), he clearly felt threatened and needed to assert his 'straightness' through creating this phrase and hiding it in somewhat humorous context (note that I don't think it's humorous, but clearly some people do). It's an assertion of his masculinity, and it represents this global fear caused by society's ridiculous standards of masculinity to never EVER have your sexuality questioned or to even be associated with something 'gay'. The hip hop community that Lil Wayne is a part of (and I struggle to call it hip hop because MY idea of hip hop is A Tribe Called Quest and Sage Francis) is very much affected by these lofty and dangerous standards of masculinity. They feel the need to constantly be asserting their masculinity whether it's through their flaunting their overworked bodies or rapping about controlling their women. And someone who is constantly portraying himself as this strong, traditionally masculine figure is of course going to fear being called gay, as being gay is the considered the polar opposite of the image they're trying to convey (fear? gay? sounds like homophobia to me!).
Now, I know a lot of people who use 'no homo', and they aren't homophobic, they're using it to be funny. But they're referencing something coming from a place of pure homophobia and therefore fanning the flames. And a lot of people other than Lil Wayne are using it because of hate. Reading the comments on the Official Rules of "No Homo" page showed this quite clearly. You can go read this official rules for yourself, I'm not going to waste page space by posting them, but I will post the last rule:
10. You can never say "No Homo" enough. Always cover your tracks.
"Always cover your tracks". Nice. And going through the comments I found some other gems, ones that Lil Wayne would surely be proud of, things like "Butts are only for shitting!!!", "how about, lets not be Homo and cover yur butt. :)", "Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve.", "better safe than gay", and of course...."fuck homos". These aren't statements made by people who think 'no homo' is funny. These are statements made by ignorant
*Please note that before you read this, realize that this page was created solely for the purpose of enjoyment and I do not wish this to come at the cost of Homosexuals. I have many Homosexual friends and wish nothing but the best for them. Everyone is entitled to their own views and choices. With that I present the OFFICIAL Rules of "No Homo"
An obvious attempt clear these peoples names of being homophobes or just plain ignorant. Doesn't cut it for me. I think that just not using 'no homo' would do it. And in reference to my statement, that's the argument that most people used, just reposting the disclaimer as if that was enough to prove me wrong. They also denied my comparison to using gay as a synonym for lame saying there was nothing wrong with that. And, of course, I was called a homo. And they made fun of my profile picture.
its cool that you feel insecure to show your face so you use that effect that doesnt make anyone laugh
In reference to:
Because, obviously, the fact that I don't feel the need to make my profile picture something saucy means I'm insecure. Sorry that I have better things to do with my life than take serious pictures of myself all day.
What I noticed though in the retorts to my statement was that no one actually argued their cause, no one made a case as to why 'no homo' isn't ignorant and damaging. And I think this says something.
So let's think about cutting back on the 'no homo' craze. I'm not saying everyone who uses it is using it from a place of ignorance, some people just think it's funny. But it's a reference to something a lot bigger than that, it's a reference to hate. And the power of words shouldn't be looked over.