Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Origin of 'Faggot'.

The word 'faggot' means "bundle of sticks". However, it has many different slang meanings. Because most people want to be correct in their word usage, they invented the myth that the modern use of the word 'faggot', as a reference to homosexuals, came from bundles of sticks being used to burn homosexuals, presumably at the stake.  This is completely false. They is no tradition or historical records of homosexuals being burned at the stake, as sex was thought of in terms of acts rather than in terms of sexuality.

The association of 'faggot' with burning at the stake led to the term 'flamer', which basically means a homosexual to obvious to be able to convince any persecutor that he is anything but a homosexual.

Even Wikipedia explores many possible originations of the modern usage of 'faggot' without actually discussing the correct one. It claims the origination is a mystery.  Not surprisingly considering the particular industry's image the truth has the potential to harm. Namely the tobacco industry who have been more than happy to let people go on thinking 'faggot' was a referrence to bundles of sticks for burning.

Most believe 'faggot' was a US homophobic term that imported itself elsewhere. It was actually first used as a label for gay men by the British. This explains the invented history to make it's use against gay men plausible. Namely, the old burning at the stake myth.  It died out in Britian due to it's meaning, which was 'a man who smokes cigarettes'. In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, men smoked cigars and pipes and women smoked cigarettes (ette, of course, being feminine).  Men who smoked cigarettes were considered 'nancy', which was Victorian slang for buttocks. In other words, men who smoked cigarettes were considered homosexual.  As more heterosexual men began to smoke cigarettes, the term 'faggot' lost it's impact. The last thing a heterosexual man who smokes cigarettes wants to do is suggest another man is gay by using the term 'fag' when he's more than likely poofing away on a cigarette himself.  This brings us to 'Poof', which is pretty obvious in it's meaning.

All these secrets and lies to protect cigarette sales and not harm the industry by making men feel less masculine for smoking them.

Source: The Victorian Underworld by Kellow Chesney.

2 comments:

  1. The Oxford English dictionary lists a different etymology, namely that it came about from British public schools in which the first years were expected to act as servants for upper-level students, including bringing them 'faggots' for their fires, and being required to perform sexual services.

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