Lizzo Takes Heat For Slang Word In New Song 'Grrrls'
UPDATE: Lizzo has responded to the criticism. Click here for the details.
Lizzo has come under fire for using a word in her new song “Grrrls” that people in some parts of the world find offensive.
In the song, released Friday, Lizzo calls herself a “spaz.”
According to the U.S.-based Merriam-Webster dictionary, “spaz” is an “often offensive” slang word for “spastic” and is used describe “one who is inept.”
The word has a different meaning in the UK and Australia, according to reactions on social media.
The UK’s Cambridge Dictionary defines “spaz” as “an offensive way of referring to someone who has cerebral palsy.” The condition is also known as spastic diplegia.
“There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022,” tweeted Callum Stephen, who identifies as an “autistic advocate.” He added: “As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.
“You can’t raise girls up by mocking disabled people (many of whom are girls).”
Actor-writer Daneka Etchells tweeted: “I just can’t believe that not even 10 seconds into Lizzo’s new song there’s a whole extremely harmful ableist slur said *with her whole chest* … that song will have been through 100s of people before being released and not ONE has picked this up and removed it?? i just can’t.”
Some have appealed to Lizzo directly. “Please remove the word ‘spaz’ from your new song because it's a slur and really offensive to the disabled community,” tweeted Shelby Lynch, who has spinal muscular atrophy.
Disability advocate Hannah Diviney tweeted: “Hey @lizzo my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs) your new song makes me pretty angry + sad. ‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
In 2014, parody singer “Weird Al” Yankovic was criticized for using the word “spastic” in the lyrics to his song “Word Crimes.” He responded by tweeting: “If you thought I didn’t know that ‘spastic’ is considered a highly offensive slur by some people… you’re right., I didn’t. Deeply sorry.”
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