• Thu, Apr 24 - 2:27 pm ET

Madonna Uses ‘Gay’ As An Insult To Try And Keep Up With The Whippersnappers

56th GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals

Oh Madonna. I have enough fond memories of singing “Like A Virgin” karaoke at middle school sleepovers that, until recently, I was able to look the other way when your attempts to remain relevant started to get embarrassing. You’re welcome to do a bare-assed photoshoot for Terry Richardson if that’s what you feel like doing, and it’s okay if you want to buy futuristic anti-aging machines or take cleavage selfies if that keeps you feeling young. We’re not going to judge you for that. But when your efforts to compete with the cool young whippersnappers result in your using offensive, outdated, and harmful slurs in a flippant way, we’re gonna have a problem.

Proving that she learned absolutely nothing from January’s controversy (when she playfully called her white son the N-word on Instagram and was *SHOCKED* that people were furious), Madonna has recently taken to using the word “gay” derogatorily. In the middle of a word association game hosted on Buzzfeed, Madonna informed us that the first word that comes to mind when she hears “kale” is… “gay.” She kept the hilarity going, too– responding to “Putin” in the same way. Gay. Nice work, Madge.

madonna uses the word gay derogatorily on buzzfeed

Since Madonna fancies herself quite the gay icon, a lot of people are stunned that she would throw around a piece of harmful slang that, for the most part, died out in 2008. I wish I were surprised, but I’m really not. Several famous LGBT allies have made the mistake of thinking their support for the cause makes them “an honorary gay,” or gives them permission to reclaim derogatory words that have never been used against them personally. And despite how hard she tries, Madonna is clearly out of the pop culture loop– so far out of it, even, that she probably assumes she’s ‘making a statement’ about ‘how far we’ve come’ and that everyone who reads Buzzfeed will understand that she’s being ironic. Yikes.

If Madonna herself identified as LGBT, this would still be majorly awkward… but maybe our culture has evolved far enough away from “that’s so gay” that it could be funny. Maybe. But, um, it’s not a straight person’s job to appropriate gay slurs. This was a really dumb move on Madonna’s part, and she absolutely needs to apologize to those she hurt. (Did those Hilary Duff PSA’s mean nothing to you?)

Via Daily Mail / Photos: Getty Images, Buzzfeed

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  • Samantha Escobar

    The term “honorary gay” has always perplexed me. You’re so active in the community you don’t even have to be in the community to co-opt an identity within it?

    • http://www.tinyroomproductionsonline.com onlyelise

      I figure it’s like my gay guy friends in college insisting they were PMS-ing or it was their “time of the month”. No, it really wasn’t. They do not have menstrual cycles. Just like I was not an honorary gay person because they were my friends.

    • Samantha Escobar

      Oh god, that would irritate me so badly.

  • Joanna Rafael

    This is exceptionally disappointing.

    • Dudekabob

      Why? It’s “first word.” It’s NOT “first insult.” There’s nothing insulting about the word “gay” in this context. Save your disappointment for something real.

    • Joanna Rafael

      Ugh. Okay?

  • Lindsey Conklin

    Ugh, it’s just never ending. Come on, Madonna.

  • CMJ
    • pam852

      my Aunty Amelia got a new blue Land Rover
      LR4 only from working part time off a home computer… helpful hints C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

  • marialulu

    Hayley Hoover, this is so well written!

  • Dudekabob

    This is how it works: Word association games mean that you say the first word that pops into your head in response to another word. This does NOT mean that the word is an insult! It’s simply the first word, as the game goes, that pops into your head. Here, let me try one: I’ll type a word, and you type back the first word that pops into your head. Ready, here it is: “Mother.” It the first word that popped into your head was negative, I truly feel sorry for your upbringing. Perhaps before you start making waves, you should find out if you’re on dry land or all wet. Shame on you.

  • Ted Lopez

    Um, just wondering. Who said she was using the word as a “slur.”