Calls for Lizzo to remove “spazz” from new song

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ASPartOfMe
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12 Jun 2022, 8:30 am

Fans are asking Lizzo to remove her new single, ‘Grrrls’

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Three-time Grammy winning pop star Lizzo has dropped the second single from her forthcoming album, but fans were quick to express their disappointment on social media.

After teasing the song on TikTok last week, ‘Grrrls’ was officially released yesterday.

The new track, which samples the Beastie Boys track ‘Girls’ from their album License To Ill features new lyrics meant to empower women.

Some fans, like TikTok creator ‘itsabigaillea’ have asked the star to “remove” the new single and re-release it” due to its use of an ableist slur.

Verse one of the track begins with the lyrics, “Hold my bag, b***h, hold my bag/Do you see this s**t? I’ma sp*zz[sic]”

Abigail – who lives in the UK and has Autism and ADHD, according to her bio – acknowledged that the word is used “more casually and commonly” in the USA.

“But that doesn’t make it okay,” she says. “It’s still a word that has been used to mock disabled people, especially those with cerebral palsy, and those who have coordination issues.”

She also says there is “no excuse” for the use of the slur, because “Lizzo is a superstar.”

I’m sorry, but the fact that the term sp*z is a slur derived from the iffy medical term ‘spastic’ is widely known,” wrote another. “I knew that as a literal child, long before I ever became disabled. Very disappointed in Lizzo and her team; “

“spazz” when used to describe herself is offensive but “b***h” is not? “b***h” is not considered a misogynistic slur by Gen Z?


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naturalplastic
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12 Jun 2022, 9:28 am

Both words are directed against herself.


But yeah- and if she (like male African American rappers often do) included "n****r" or "n***a" into the list, and (why stop there?) called herself "a n***a, a b***h, a slut, a hoe, and ...a spazz." probably only the last label would get attention. :lol:

But on the other hand, in all fairness...you hear n****r, slut, b***h, and hoe, so often in rap that they are like "do be do be doooo" is in a Sinatra song (they dont even register as words at all). "Spaz" does stand out as unusual in a rap song, and would draw attention to itself.



hurtloam
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12 Jun 2022, 9:40 am

The woman complaining is from the UK. Sp**** is a really derogatory term here.

Here's an interesting article from the BBC website written by someone with cerebral palsy:

Quote:
The word has dogged me for my entire life. My first school was, at the time, called the 'Percy Hedley School for Spastics'. They even had it written on a big sign by the entrance to remind all us students as we came in each morning. The teachers, doctors, care staff… pretty much everyone there would commonly refer to me as a 'spastic'.

Of course, it was originally a medical term referring to cerebral palsy, until the beginning of the eighties when the children's TV programme Blue Peter stuck its oar in with their "Bring and Buy Sale for Spastics". Before long, 'spaz' and 'Joey' (after Joey Deacon, the man in his 60s with CP, who Blue Peter, in their infinite wisdom, had as the campaign's figurehead), were soon flying around every playground in the country - even the playground of the Percy Hedley School for Spastics.
Some readers from the States may well be wondering what all the fuss is about, as they were never subjected to Blue Peter's 'awareness raising' campaign. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, the American 'spaz' can be taken to mean over-excited and full of energy; or uncoordinated, clumsy, and uncool - hence Tiger Woods' faux pas a couple of years ago. Now call me sceptical, but I think that whilst its original derivation may well have been lost, it's pretty clear that spaz came from the same place as its British counterpart.
In 2003 Ouch's disabled readers voted 'spastic' to be the second most offensive word in the English language when it came to describing a disabled person.



Laurence Clark - Spastic Fantastic



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12 Jun 2022, 9:54 am

hurtloam wrote:
The woman complaining is from the UK. Sp**** is a really derogatory term here.

Here's an interesting article from the BBC website written by someone with cerebral palsy:

Quote:
The word has dogged me for my entire life. My first school was, at the time, called the 'Percy Hedley School for Spastics'. They even had it written on a big sign by the entrance to remind all us students as we came in each morning. The teachers, doctors, care staff… pretty much everyone there would commonly refer to me as a 'spastic'.

Of course, it was originally a medical term referring to cerebral palsy, until the beginning of the eighties when the children's TV programme Blue Peter stuck its oar in with their "Bring and Buy Sale for Spastics". Before long, 'spaz' and 'Joey' (after Joey Deacon, the man in his 60s with CP, who Blue Peter, in their infinite wisdom, had as the campaign's figurehead), were soon flying around every playground in the country - even the playground of the Percy Hedley School for Spastics.
Some readers from the States may well be wondering what all the fuss is about, as they were never subjected to Blue Peter's 'awareness raising' campaign. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, the American 'spaz' can be taken to mean over-excited and full of energy; or uncoordinated, clumsy, and uncool - hence Tiger Woods' faux pas a couple of years ago. Now call me sceptical, but I think that whilst its original derivation may well have been lost, it's pretty clear that spaz came from the same place as its British counterpart.
In 2003 Ouch's disabled readers voted 'spastic' to be the second most offensive word in the English language when it came to describing a disabled person.



Laurence Clark - Spastic Fantastic



A school name like that is like the punchline to a bad joke and would make many people here laugh until they realise it was real.



ASPartOfMe
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12 Jun 2022, 11:11 am

“Spazz” was a insult when I was growing up in America during the 60s and 70s. “b***h” was a big time misogynistic insult at least when used by guys, Exp. “That b***h deserved it”.


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12 Jun 2022, 11:28 am

In this case the person using the word "spazz" is directing it at themselves. We are all allowed to label ourselves in any way we like. I'm a huge fan of reclaiming words.

WORDS only have the power we give them.



Last edited by DanielW on 12 Jun 2022, 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

hurtloam
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12 Jun 2022, 11:33 am

DanielW wrote:
In this case the person using the word "spazz" is directing it at themselves. We are all allowed to label ourselves in any way we like. I'm a huge fan of reclaiming words.

WORDS only have the power we give them.


Lizzo doesn't have cerebral palsy though. That's like me calling myself queer, I'm not.



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12 Jun 2022, 11:35 am

hurtloam wrote:
DanielW wrote:
In this case the person using the word "spazz" is directing it at themselves. We are all allowed to label ourselves in any way we like. I'm a huge fan of reclaiming words.

WORDS only have the power we give them.


Lizzo doesn't have cerebral palsy though. That's like me calling myself queer, I'm not.


Perhaps the person using the word Does have a disability? Or are you just assuming they don't?



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12 Jun 2022, 11:38 am

DanielW wrote:
hurtloam wrote:
DanielW wrote:
In this case the person using the word "spazz" is directing it at themselves. We are all allowed to label ourselves in any way we like. I'm a huge fan of reclaiming words.

WORDS only have the power we give them.


Lizzo doesn't have cerebral palsy though. That's like me calling myself queer, I'm not.


Perhaps the person using the word Does have a disability? Or are you just assuming they don't?


It's not a word for just any disability, it's the old medical term for cerebral palsy which Lizzo does not have



DanielW
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12 Jun 2022, 11:40 am

nevermind, you're missing my point. And No Spazz has never beed a medical term. Its "Spastic". Spazz is pure slang.

Lizzo has the right to use any words he likes...just like people who are offended have the right to be so. But Just because people are offended, doesn't mean that things must change by default.



Last edited by DanielW on 12 Jun 2022, 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

hurtloam
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12 Jun 2022, 11:43 am

DanielW wrote:
nevermind, you're missing my point. And No Spazz has never beed a medical term. Its "Spastic". Spazz is pure slang.


Yes it's slang for spastic. I know what you are saying I I think you are wrong



DanielW
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12 Jun 2022, 11:44 am

and, like Lizzo you are free to do so. It doesn't obligate me to alter my belief to accomodate yours...we can have a difference of opinion. That's OK. That's real life.



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12 Jun 2022, 12:02 pm

I love how people in the UK make fun of Americans (and by Americas I mean Canadians) for being shocked when they hear people on British TV shows use swear words that are normally not used or censored on American TV networks. But you can't say "spaz" because in the UK it's offensive to people who suffer from spasms, like epilepsy.

I also find it amusing that if you do the peace sign gesture with your palm facing forwards in the UK, that's fine but if you do it with the back of your hand facing forwards it's the same as giving them the finger. I guess it makes sense since you're just holding up one extra finger. But meanwhile, the finger is also given with the palm facing forwards but it's just as vulgar as showing the back of your hand.

Humans are such complex and confusing creatures. Most other animals of the same species use the same kind of body language. A cat will flatten its ears when angry, roll on its back when content, fluff up its tail when frightened, and so on. But humans have all these different ways of communicating and it's scary because they assume everyone knows what they mean.



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12 Jun 2022, 12:36 pm

Yeah, I'm not really that dogmatic about stuff, but I really do think if someone from a minority group tells you something is offensive to them, you listen and ask yourself why it's important to them. I'm not one who enjoys the type of banter than involves put downs and swearing. Plus I have a family member with cerebral palsy

Just to explain the British culture on this. There was a big protest in the early 90s that had the Disability Act brought into law in the UK. We used to have a telethon every few years held by a national TV network called ITV.

Quote:
In the late 1980s, ITV had started holding a bi-annual telethon to raise money for disability charities.

But many disabled people found these fundraisers patronising and demeaning. They felt they were portrayed as objects of pity rather than functional members of society.



Was 1995 the year that changed everything for disabled people

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Rachel Hurst, who runs the campaign group Disability Awareness in Action, says: 'The horrendous stereotyping in programmes like Telethon is one of the greatest obstacles we face in our struggle to be recognised as normal human beings. It is one of the reasons why we continue to be oppressed and discriminated against.'


ITVs fundraising does more harm than good

Is the word spazz stereotyping, does it recognise people as individual, contributions members of society? Or is it a punchline using disabled people's characteristic?



DanielW
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12 Jun 2022, 12:58 pm

When you BAN certain words you give them power.

When you whisper them, you give them SHAME

When you take them back, they can no longer harm you.


(and for the record, I have CP, specifically Spastic Diplegia, along with a good many other co-morbid conditions.)

Honestly I love it when "banned" words start making it in to common use. WHY? because then they begin to change. If I allow myself to get outraged at every slur, all that means is I am perpetuating those negative connotations and have made myself the object of your pity. I don't want any of that. Its counterproductive. I'd much rather those words become normalized and aimed at everyone. They lose the power to wound that way.

I understand this person on TikTok not liking the word. I also see her potentially being both patronized and the focus of a lot of pity stemming from people wanting to protect the "poor, defenseless, disabled person". I think that's a lot more offensive than hearing the word "spazz' in a song.



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12 Jun 2022, 2:40 pm

hurtloam wrote:
DanielW wrote:
In this case the person using the word "spazz" is directing it at themselves. We are all allowed to label ourselves in any way we like. I'm a huge fan of reclaiming words.

WORDS only have the power we give them.


Lizzo doesn't have cerebral palsy though. That's like me calling myself queer, I'm not.

A better analogy would be somebody saying they are feeling depressed. They have an actual emotion but they are not clinically depressed. People use "depressed" that way all the time here.

Lizzo was using the colloquial meaning of the term which is similar to klutz. Using medical terms colloquially must be an American thing. It makes sense that the British would be more exacting in their use of the English language as they invented it.


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