social philosophy

I don’t like the term ‘fuckboy’.

If you’re not already word, there’s a new slang word in youth culture – fuckboy.

The meaning of the word isn’t without controversy.

This slate article provides an interesting read about the term – acknowledging that the meaning isn’t concrete:

Here are two true statements about the word: Everyone knows what fuckboy means. And no one knows what fuckboy means.

If I’m to define the word myself, I would say that ‘fuckboy’ is used to as a disparaging term to describe a man who sleeps with women without commitment to them. Essentially the male equivalent of a ‘slut’.

It’s important to note that all words are defined by the context they’re used in, and in fact that’s how new words are added to formal dictionaries. 

To suggest that there is ‘one true meaning’ of a word, and any other use of the word is just incorrect usage, is a no true scotsman fallacy. 

I’m going to continue this post with the assumption that my interpretation is correct. A context it was recently use was when this poster was pasted around Auckland:

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Here, the guy in question is having the label applied to him because he’s, whether ethically or not, slept with the woman without committing to her.

Now let’s acknowledge that this is possibly either a fringe case of crazy on her part, or perhaps the guy genuinely was quite awful, or a bit of both. As such, perhaps we shouldn’t take this particular case as context for how the word is used.

Certainly, some men can conduct themselves in a manner that is callous, or disrespectful, or abusive, or whatever other adjective you want to use. But we already have a word for this, they’re called assholes or dickheads, and women can be those things too, meaning that the term fuckboy doesn’t hold any additional value above those, other than being gender specific.

I think it’s fine to acknowledge that people can conduct themselves in a manner that while isn’t rape or sexual assault, is still hurtful or disrespectful when it comes to sex.

What I suspect is that ‘fuckboy’ has been cultivated by the women using it as a means of personal empowerment – a means to get back at men who treated them badly, or to relatively improve the power position of women by tearing some men down.

I don’t think using gendered, sex specific slurs is not the right way to deal with this. It’s divisive, and doesn’t serve to alleviate shame in our already, though getting better, sex-negative culture.

The term conveys an additional role of responsibility for feelings to the men, in heterosexual interactions. The implication being that beyond each party having the responsibility to obtain sexual consent, the men are also responsible for the feelings of the women afterward.

This is a very regressive attitude toward sex – belonging in the same ballpark as ‘women don’t enjoy sex’ and ‘men only think about one thing’.

To provide a contrast, imagine I’d slept with a women, and she didn’t call me back afterwards. If I were to say ‘She slept with me then didn’t call me back! What slut! What a whore!’, I’d immediately be called out for being immature and not respecting her sexual autonomy – and this is a good thing. Along with sexual automony also comes the responsibility to protect your own feelings.

Most modern men (or am I simply projecting my world view and understating the prevalence where men do infact do this?) have learned this lesson, – when an interaction doesn’t go their way – they don’t jump on social media and call her out as a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’, they know it’s immature and unattractive. Women should hold themselves to the same standard.

I recently called out a Facebook page for its casual usage:

fuckboy.PNG

What do you think? Does the term fuckboy have an legitimate usage, or is another unacceptable slur with no place in civil society?

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One thought on “I don’t like the term ‘fuckboy’.

  1. I heard the term only a few times with almost no context and thought it referred to a man-boy who is only good for fucking – akin to a boy-toy. It sounded a bit crude but ok. To use it to refer to men who have sex but don’t commit screams “a woman scorned”. Some compact word to describe the phenomenon is apropos (akin to slut), but fuckboy in this meaning just sounds too crude, too bitter, too helpless. So “yes” on capturing the phenomenon in a more specific way than “asshole/dickhead” and “no” on particular choice of word for this purpose.

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