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That's So Gay: Hillary Duff and Wanda Sykes Fight Homophobia

Thatsogay

The Ad Council and GLSEN have teamed up for a campaign, ThinkB4YouSpeak, intended to educate young people about homophobic language and its consequences. To that end, they've enlisted Wanda Sykes and Hillary Duff to appear in two PSAs that draw attention to the phrase "that's so gay" and its interpretations.

The campaign will utilize print, internet, and radio, and television spots.

Watch Sykes and Duff hand it to some teens, AFTER THE JUMP...

A third video can be viewed at ThinkB4YouSpeak.

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Comments

  1. Katy Perry be damned.

    Posted by: John in Manhattan | Oct 8, 2008 6:17:24 PM


  2. i saw this on another site that required a ton of info to post, i am so glad people are finally realizing how annoying it is to hear that shit.....i love southpark so much, but i cant help but feel they are to blame for this little bit of language change.....however, we shouldnt fashion ourselves after animated mountain town 8 year olds...good for hilary duff, i love that someone who is completely non lesbian and not your typicial speak out person did this...i have a new respect for her, when i didnt really have any before

    Posted by: Trevor | Oct 8, 2008 6:25:09 PM


  3. I really had no idea that "that's so gay" means stupid or dumb. Gay people are among the most educated and succesful people in our society. Wow, I am getting old...I have heard the line but did not get the inference.

    Posted by: OneManComotion | Oct 8, 2008 6:42:38 PM


  4. well the whole thing doesnt actually make sense, its simular to the use of the "n" word by black people, totally sad...except this one has become acceptable for straight people to use, unlike the 'n' word which only has slight acceptability coming from a person of colour.... i dont think it is used to draw a comparison to how stupid gay people are, but more just the general hatred that people have of gays being worked into conversation.... most people you talk to dont even realize what it means or what they are saying, but are sure quick to defend it and not change, its quite hilarious.... like i have said before and will say again, just because you have been doing something, or something was done in the past, doesnt make it right or acceptable to continue!!!!t

    Posted by: Trevor | Oct 8, 2008 7:03:12 PM


  5. "That's so gay" has been around since my high school days in the 80's. It even made it into my last yearbook. Twice.

    Saying, "now people are saying 'that's so gay'..." just goes to show that in 25 years, nothing has changed much.

    Posted by: KevinIsTheNewShirley | Oct 8, 2008 7:08:38 PM


  6. Wanda Sykes is my hero!!!!!

    Posted by: Hephaestion | Oct 8, 2008 7:38:37 PM


  7. It's definitely earlier than South Park, and of late-80s provenance. I remember the first time I came down like Wanda on one of my students. She was in the class of 1992.

    It was definitely not around before 1985 or so, though.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Oct 8, 2008 8:06:36 PM


  8. ok well i had never heard it until southpark, and so i blamed it for bringing it to the new youth of today, i stand corrected:)
    i was born in the early eighties so if i heard it then i am sure i had no idea what it was about hahaha..... glad to know i can take southpark off the hook( love that show)

    Posted by: Trevor | Oct 8, 2008 9:05:39 PM


  9. I manage a restaurant at night, so most of my employees are high-school and college age kids. I hear this phrase AT LEAST once a day. Since I'm out, and my employees have told me that I'm "the coolest gay dude they know" I honestly believe they don't mean this in any sort of harmful way--it's just an expression for them...but I have explained to them why they shouldn't use it. This campaign is a great idea.

    Posted by: Shasta | Oct 9, 2008 12:24:32 AM


  10. I despise the usage of this term and think that it has the exact effect that is intended. While most people don't necessarily connect the jargon with root meaning, that doesn't make its usage any less demeaning.
    My cousin's children were calling things gay at a family get together last year and I made a point to show how words, even when used unintentially, have impact. I casually mentioned that something was white trash and when that didn't work, I called something else niggeredly. Everyone was horrified and my cousin was disturbed. Her husband is black. Those kids didn't say anything was gay in front of me for the rest of the visit.

    Posted by: Christopher | Oct 9, 2008 12:33:34 AM


  11. Vote for Panchy!

    There are some great kids out there who are bright and would never use the word "gay" as an insult.

    Help one of them win a new computer. Just click over and vote for Panchy, one of the coolest kids I know.

    http://www.needatechmakeover.com/2008/09/panchy-needs-a-tech-makeover-because/

    Posted by: Fritz | Oct 9, 2008 2:12:54 AM


  12. As an advertising student,
    I think the campaign could have been done differently.
    It doesn't seem to be very affective.

    The best part is when Wanda says "Knock it off!"
    at least she has some aggression in her voice.

    EVERYONE around me says "that's so gay."
    and i'm constantly correcting them-

    i think i'll use the campaign's approach to get my point across
    next time one of my friends says 'that's so gay'
    i'll respond
    "that's sooo knocked up unmarried teenager"
    or
    "that's sooo unemployed pothead in debt"

    ps. i love my friends. lol

    Posted by: Jesse | Oct 9, 2008 3:33:07 AM


  13. Christopher: while "white trash" is a good analogy, the use of "niggardly" is not, since it's totally unrelated to the n-word.

    In the case of "that's so gay" or "don't be a pansy" people claim to be unaware of the expression's real origins in demeaning opinions about gay people. Over-usage has led to a disconnect to the original meaning.

    In the case of "niggardly" it's the reverse. The etymology of the word and its meaning have nothing to do with people of color. (If you think about it, "stingy" and "miserly" are not qualities stereotypicaly associated with blacks -- rather with other nationalities/ethnicities, so it wouldn't make sense.) Only recently, because of phonetic similarities, have people begun to connect the two and take offense. As a linguist, I understand that offense is misplaced, but in the real world I would probably avoid using the word in public contexts because of the fact that many people now find it offensive.

    Language changes, but just at the moment "gay" is still very much in use for gay people, so this campaign is right on.

    (Just as a perverse aside, if you look up the etymology of "bad" in the OED, you find something very similar to "pansy." But I don't think we should stop using "bad" to mean bad. That meaning is mostly lost.)

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Oct 9, 2008 9:12:03 AM


  14. I can remember when the NY Times refused to use the word GAY, they preferred Homosexual. That was in the 60's. The ad campaign should show a Micolangelo, da Vinci or show something by Stephen Sondheim and say that's so GAY.

    Posted by: Bob West | Oct 9, 2008 9:19:12 AM


  15. I'm sorry to contradict you, but the two words are directly related. Black people were seen as shifty, untrustworthy, cheap, and stingy in all ways. The word "niggardly" was coined/used to describe them.

    Posted by: James | Oct 9, 2008 1:27:20 PM


  16. You've given up using "niggardly" when you admit the word has NOTHING to do with race? WTF? Who's the stupid one?

    If people hear you using "niggardly" correctly, and they misinterpret it, it's THEIR dumbness that's the problem, not yours. Grow a pair.

    Posted by: Daniel | Oct 9, 2008 2:32:57 PM


  17. James, you can contradict me all you want, but that won't change the facts about the etymology. "Niggardly" comes from an Anglo-Saxon root related to Norwegian that has nothing to do with blackness. The other root comes from Latin for black. They now sound alike, but they are NOT related etymologically.

    Daniel: I don't like to offend people by using words they don't like, for whatever reason. It may be accurate to call me a faggot, but I prefer to be called gay by people I don't know. As I said, it would depend on the context: in writing for a scholarly audience or even speaking to fellow professors, I wouldn't expect to be misinterpreted. In a crowd of random people whose background I don't know, I wouldn't want to go there.

    Words for minorities tend to change over time. African-Americans, for example, have been that and Afro-Americans and blacks and colored people and people of color in my lifetime (and in various parts of the US). I'll go with whatever is preferred or deemed least offensive.

    There was a time in the 20s in the US when people wanted to identify as "queers" to distance themselves from the effeminate working-class "fairies." Then came a time when people claimed the word "gay" and being "queer" was anathema. Then came the 90s and queer theory and queer nation and.... Well, you get the idea.

    Posted by: kevinvt | Oct 9, 2008 3:58:25 PM


  18. I gotta say for the longest time I HATED Hillary Duff, now I kinda dig her, way to go Hillary (that being said, she still cant sing!)

    Posted by: Tracy at the bck | Oct 9, 2008 7:45:49 PM


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