Extended Definition – Gay Essay
Often times when someone walks down the sidewalk, they hear a plethora of different words used in ways that seem uncommon to what they know. Due to the evolution of words and their meanings, older meaning become outdated and replaced with the new meanings. For example, the word “gay” has transformed over the ages and now means something completely different than what it used to. From feeling gay to describing something as gay, the meaning of the word has changed angles and meanings completely. Dating back to the twelfth century, the term gay has described a feeling of joyousness or carefreeness.
It also described bright and showy things. During the twentieth century, gay was also used to describe homosexual men and women. This meaning remains one of the more common uses of the word today. The third meaning of gay emerged in the twenty-first century and is the most commonly used meaning of the word today. Rather than flashy or homosexual, people began to use gay to describe things they deemed stupid. This meaning, albeit politically incorrect, is probably the first meaning that comes to mind when someone thinks of the word gay. Each meaning of gay wiggles its way into society on a daily basis.
Though primarily used amongst the older population and in literary works, the primary meaning of gay still arises, though it does not hold as much popularity in pop culture and everyday life. Because of the overpowering new definitions gay, the older and more sophisticated use for the word has lost its spark. It can still be found, though, if you look hard enough. The second use of gay retains a more controversial edge to it than the other meanings. Society seems split down the center when it concerns the acceptance of homosexuality, so gay often appears in the news relating to various legal cases and whatnot.
Gay is also the second word in LGBT, the organization that supports equal rights regardless of sexuality. Using gay in a distasteful way has emerged only in recent years. Therefore, the younger generations use it partnered with retarded more frequently to describe something they dislike, both of which are politically incorrect and flat out ignorant to other people around them. However, that use of the word has kept it afloat with that generation, and it promises its survival into the future. In recent years, the use of gay to describe sexuality has hit media hard.
For example, the issue of gay marriage has surfaced in the United States as a controversial issue. Throughout the country, protests on both sides of the debate have risen and rarely does a day pass where news stories do not contain at least one segment on the topic of gay marriage. It remains one of the most controversial issues in the country today. Another way gay describing sexuality has hit the media is in the Middle East. Gay sexuality, in various Middle Eastern countries, remains punishable by death. Because of the severity of the punishment, news of such often hits Americans hard and remains with them.
Finally, gay men and women have risen in the ranks on various television shows and in literature. More common in recent years, the addition of gay characters has surged with the general acceptance of such a lifestyle. They make the shows and novels more interesting to the readers because of the different point of view they give and they show a different lifestyle most people may not know much about. Finally, gay has transformed from a positive term to a negative term over the course of its popularity. In the beginning, gay described something joyful and colorful.
It carried a positive meaning with it, along with a positive point of view for what it described. When something was called gay, people meant it in the best way they could rather than in a condescending or rude manner. As the word shifted to describe sexuality, the feeling associated with it shifted too. To call someone gay did not necessarily carry a negative side to the comment, but someone could receive it in a negative manner. Positive and negative, calling someone gay in regards to sexuality can be taken either way.
The latest meaning of gay, however, possesses a purely negative tone. Although some may argue they call something gay in a playful manner, it normally seems belittling to others. Society today places more importance on the negative use of the word rather than the positive, older use. Over the years, the meaning of the word gay has transformed from one meaning into a near polar opposite. From describing a happy feeling to describing someone’s sexuality to describing something someone hates, gay has crossed nearly ten centuries and still pops up in everyday life.
All three meaning still have prevalent uses in society today: the oldest use still arises in literature, the second describes sexuality, and the newest use reaches ears on a daily basis in the halls of schools. Gay in terms of sexuality hits the media nearly on a daily basis; from news to pop culture, it always works its way in there. Finally, the feeling associated with the term has completely flip-flopped from positive to negative. The term gay shows how over the years language changes along with the meanings associated with them and can often mean the complete opposite of what they once did.