what’s your favorite insult?

Maybe you’ve never thought about it before. But when someone cuts you in line, or your boss gives you an unfair review, or the cashier at the grocery store was rude to you—what names go through your mind? What do you hear yourself calling them when you think about what you could have said? Or maybe you don’t fantasize—maybe you confront them and use your favorite insult out loud, right then and there.

I think the type of insult a person most often uses can say a lot about their values.

I was thinking this morning that I tend to use insults that denigrate a person’s intelligence, and sometimes their maturity. “What a moron.” Or one of my favorites: “He has the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old.” I value intelligence, logic, and maturity, and I view with contempt anyone lacking these things. I’m not saying that’s a good or a bad thing—I’m just realizing that those are my values. I suppose it depends on how I define intelligence. Regardless of capacity for complex thoughts, people make decisions: to think critically, to follow the evidence, to seek the truth—or not to. I think that I view someone who is complacent and comfortable in their mental state, and doesn’t want to learn, grow, challenge themself and know the truth, as someone who is stupid. And I hate it and disdain it more than any other character trait.

My second ex, who I lived with for a year before realizing we wouldn’t be happy together, used to call people c*** or p**** (I don’t want to write them out here =( but I’m sure you know what I mean). This was before I identified as and educated myself about being a feminist. I am still having little revelations about how bad he was for me. I don’t think I realized how much at the time, but he used a lot of racist and misogynistic speech, and was homophobic. He insulted people with misogynistic, racist and homophobic words, because in his mind (maybe subconsciously) the worst thing a person could be was a woman, non-white, or gay. Whenever he said something racist I would say, “That’s racist.” In my mind that should have been enough to make someone think and stop using that language. At first he would stop after I said that—startle and look maybe a little bemused and maybe a tiny bit shamed. But towards the end—one time I said “That’s racist,” and he said “I know.” Unashamed—defiant. At that time I my mind was already processing the knowledge that it wouldn’t work out and I had to leave. That, among other things, cemented it a bit more.

What other types of insults do people use?

“Butt-fucking” is one that I’ve heard people use. “Butt-fucker;” “That’s butt-fuckingly stupid.” Why is that an insult? What does it mean? Why is it a bad thing? There are two things I can think of: homophobia, and rape. Is it a clever insult because rape is funny? Is it a terrible thing to call someone because gay people are disgusting and horrible people? This is no innocuous insult. It is a misogynistic and homophobic term.

Think about it… what do you say most often? And what does that say about what you value or what you hate?

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