Throw shade

Last updated

The expressions "throw shade", "throwing shade", or simply "shade", are slang terms for a certain type of insult, often nonverbal. Journalist Anna Holmes called shade "the art of the sidelong insult". [1] Merriam-Webster defines it as "subtle, sneering expression of contempt for or disgust with someone—sometimes verbal, and sometimes not". [2]

Contents

History

The term can be found in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park (1814). Young Edmund Bertram is displeased with a dinner guest's disparagement of the uncle who took her in: "With such warm feelings and lively spirits it must be difficult to do justice to her affection for Mrs. Crawford, without throwing a shade on the Admiral." [3]

The slang version of "shade" originated from the black and Latino gay communities. According to gender studies scholar John C. Hawley, the expression "throwing shade" was used in the 1980s by New York City's ethnic working-class in the "ballroom and vogue culture", particularly by gender nonconformists. He writes that it refers to "the processes of a publicly performed dissimulation that aims either to protect oneself from ridicule or to verbally or psychologically attack others in a haughty or derogatory manner." [4]

Later use

The first major use of "shade" that introduced the slang to the greater public was in Jennie Livingston's documentary film, Paris Is Burning (1990), about the mid-1980s drag scene in Manhattan. [2] [4] In the documentary, one of the drag queens, Dorian Corey, explains that shade derives from "reading", the "real art form of insults". Shade is a developed form of reading: "Shade is, I don't tell you you're ugly. But I don't have to tell you, because you know you're ugly. And that's shade." [5]

Willi Ninja, who also appeared in Paris Is Burning, described "shade" in 1994 as a "nonverbal response to verbal or nonverbal abuse. Shade is about using certain mannerisms in battle. If you said something nasty to me, I would just turn on you, and give you a look like: 'Bitch please, you're not even worth my time, go on.' ... It's like watching Joan Collins going against Linda Evans on Dynasty . ... Or when George Bush ran against Bill Clinton, they were throwing shade. Who got the bigger shade? Bush did because Clinton won." [6] A New York Times letter to the editor in 1993 criticized the newspaper for commenting on Bill Clinton's hair: "The Sunday Stylers are the last people I'd expect to throw shade on President Bill's hair pursuits." [7]

According to E. Patrick Johnson, to throw shade is to ignore someone: "If a shade thrower wishes to acknowledge the presence of the third party, he or she might roll his or her eyes and neck while poking out his or her lips. People throw shade if they do not like a particular person or if that person has dissed them in the past. ... In the playful mode, however, a person may throw shade at a person with whom he or she is a best friend." [8]

The expression was further popularized by the American reality television series RuPaul's Drag Race , which premiered in 2009. [2] In 2015, Anna Holmes of The New York Times Magazine wrote:

Shade can take many forms — a hard, deep look that could be either aggressive or searching, a compliment that could be interpreted as the opposite of one. E. Patrick Johnson, who teaches performance studies and African-American studies at Northwestern University, and who has written about the tradition of insults in the gay and black communities, explains: "If someone walks into a room with a hideous dress, but you don’t want to say it's hideous, you might say, 'Oooh … look at you!’'" At its most refined, shade should have an element of plausible deniability, so that the shade-thrower can pretend that he or she didn't actually mean to behave with incivility, making it all the more delicious. [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cunt is a vulgar word for the vulva or vagina and is also used as a term of disparagement. Reflecting different national usages, cunt is described as a "usually disparaging and obscene" term for a woman or an "offensive way to refer to a woman" in the United States by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but "an unpleasant or stupid person" in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, and "a contemptible person" in the Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English. In Australia and New Zealand, it can also be used as a neutral or, when used with a positive qualifier, a positive way of referring to a person.

Drag queen person who dresses and acts with exaggerated femininity for performance purposes

A drag queen is a person, usually male, who uses drag clothing and makeup to imitate and often exaggerate female gender signifiers and gender roles for entertainment purposes. Historically, most drag queens have been men dressing as women. In modern times, drag queens are associated with gay men and gay culture, but queens can be of any gender and sexual identity.

Pussy noun, an adjective, and in rare uses a verb in the English language

Pussy is a noun, an adjective, and in rare uses a verb in the English language. It has several meanings, including use as slang, as euphemism, and as vulgarity. Common meanings of the noun include "cat", as well as "coward or weakling", and "the human vulva or vagina", or as a synecdoche, "sexual intercourse with a woman". Because of its multiple senses including both innocent and vulgar connotations, "pussy" is often the subject of double entendre.

Dude is American English slang for an individual, typically male. From the 1870s to the 1960s, dude primarily meant a person who dressed in an extremely fashionable manner or a conspicuous citified person who was visiting a rural location, a "city slicker". In the 1960s, dude evolved to mean any male person, a meaning that slipped into mainstream American slang in the 1970s. Current slang retains at least some use of all three of these common meanings.

Nonverbal communication Process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues between people

Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the nonlinguistic transmission of information through visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic (physical) channels.

The term "drag" refers to the wearing of clothing of the opposite gender (cross-dressing), and may be used as a noun as in the expression in drag, or as an adjective as in drag show.

Vogue (dance) dance and performance style

Vogue, or voguing, is a highly stylized, modern house dance originating in the late 1980s that evolved out of the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1960s. It gained mainstream exposure when it was featured in Madonna's song and video "Vogue" (1990), and when showcased in the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. In its modern form, this dance has become a global phenomenon that continues to evolve both stylistically and demographically.

<i>Paris Is Burning</i> (film) 1990 film by Jennie Livingston

Paris Is Burning is a 1990 American documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Critics consider the film to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the "Golden Age" of New York City drag balls, and a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.

Oculesics, a subcategory of kinesics, is the study of eye movement, eye behavior, gaze, and eye-related nonverbal communication. The specific definition varies depending on whether it applies to the fields of medicine or social science.

Ball culture Black and Latino LGBT subculture in the United States

Ball culture, drag ball culture, the house-ballroom community, and similar terms describe an underground LGBT subculture that originated in 1920s New York City, in which people "walk" for trophies, prizes, and glory at events known as balls. Ball participants are mainly young African-American and Latin American members of the LGBTQ community. Attendees dance, vogue, walk, pose, and support one another in one or more of the numerous drag and performance competition categories. Categories are designed to simultaneously epitomize and satirize various genders and social classes, while also offering an escape from reality. The culture extends beyond the extravagant formal events as many participants in ball culture also belong to groups known as "houses", a longstanding tradition in LGBT communities, and racial minorities, where chosen families of friends live in households together, forming relationships and community to replace families of origin from which they may be estranged.

In gay slang, queen is a term used to refer to a flamboyant or effeminate gay man. The term can either be pejorative or celebrated as a type of self-identification.

Cognitive valence theory (CVT) is a theoretical framework that describes and explains the process of intimacy exchange within a dyad relationship. Peter A. Andersen, PhD created the cognitive valence theory to answer questions regarding intimacy relationships among colleagues, close friends and intimate friends, married couples and family members. Intimacy or immediacy behavior is that behavior that provides closeness or distance within a dyad relationship. Closeness projects a positive feeling in a relationship, and distance projects a negative feeling within a relationship. Intimacy or immediacy behavior can be negatively valenced or positively valenced. Valence, associated with physics, is used here to describe the degree of negativity or positivity in expected information. If your partner perceives your actions as negative, then the interaction may repel your partner away from you. If your partner perceives your actions as positive, then the interaction may be accepted and may encourage closeness. Affection and intimacy promotes positive valence in a relationship. CVT uses non-verbal and verbal communications criteria to analyze behavioral situations.

Eighty-six, eighty-sixed, 86, 86ed, or 86'd is American English slang for getting rid of something by burying it, ejecting someone, or refusing service.

Dick is a common English euphemism for the human penis. It is also used by extension for a variety of slang purposes, generally considered vulgar, including: as a verb to describe sexual activity; and as a pejorative term for individuals who are considered to be rude, abrasive, inconsiderate, or otherwise contemptible. In this context, it can be used interchangeably with jerk, and can also be used as a verb to describe rude or deceitful actions. Variants include dickhead, which literally refers to the glans. The offensiveness of the word dick is complicated by the continued use of the word in inoffensive contexts, including as both a given name and a surname, in the popular British dessert spotted dick, in the classic novel Moby-Dick, in the Dick and Jane series of children's books,, and the American retailer Dick's Sporting Goods. Uses such as these have provided a basis for comedy writers to exploit this juxtaposition through double entendre.

Outline of LGBT topics Overview of and topical guide to LGBT topics

The following outline is presented as an overview and topical guide to LGBT topics.

Slapping (strike) strike with an open hand

Slapping or smacking refers to striking a person with the open palm of the hand.

Prick is a vulgar word for penis as well as a pejorative term used to refer to a despicable or contemptible individual. It is generally considered offensive, though in the past it has been used as a term of endearment. Its history as a euphemism for penis goes back to the 1500s and has been used in wordplay by Shakespeare and other writers who have combined the vulgarism with the standard meaning of the noun, which means the act of piercing or puncturing. Most linguists believe it has only been used as a direct insult since 1929.

Yas is a playful or non-serious slang term equivalent to the excited or celebratory use of the interjection "yes!" Yas was added to Oxford Dictionaries in 2017, and defined as a form of exclamation "expressing great pleasure or excitement". Yas was defined by Oxygen's Scout Durwood as "a more emphatic 'yes' often paired with 'queen'. The more As in a yas, the higher the grade of excitement"; in other words, the exclamation often appears in the form "Yas, queen!" and with spelling variants such as "yaas!" or "yaaaas!"

References

  1. 1 2 Holmes, Anna (14 May 2015). "The Underground Art of the Insult". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 May 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "What Does 'Throw Shade' Mean?". Merriam-Webster . Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  3. Austen, Jane (1814). Mansfield Park . London: Thomas Egerton. p.  130.
  4. 1 2 Hawley, John C. (2008). LGBTQ America Today: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1. New York: Greenwood Press. pp. 1201–1202.
  5. Corey, Dorian (1990). Interview in Jennie Livingston, Paris Is Burning .
    Brown, Kara (17 December 2014). "Shade Court Is in Session". Jezebel.
    Lopez, Linette (4 May 2015). "This is where the expression 'throw shade' comes from". Business Insider.
  6. Rose, Tricia (1994). "Nobody Wants a Part-Time Mother: An Interview with Willi Ninja". In Ross, Andrew; Rose, Tricia (eds.). Microphone Fiends: Youth Music & Youth Culture . New York and London: Routledge. p.  174.
  7. Goodwin, Barbara S. (4 July 1993). "A Hair-Driven Administration". The New York Times.
  8. Johnson, E. Patrick (2003). "SNAP! Culture: a different kind of 'reading'". In Auslander, Philip (ed.). Performance: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies, Volume III. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. pp. 178–179.