Saturday, January 9, 2010

Obama's baby mama?

Occasionally a phenomenon will occur in society and grow common before formal contemporary English has a chance to agree on what to call it. Oftentimes when this happens, many slangy terms arise for the phenomenon, many of which are considered inappropriate or have offensive connotations toward certain groups.

A good example is the term "baby mama." A baby mama describes the relationship that a man has to a woman that has given birth to his child, but who he is not married to. There is no formal term for this relationship, although considering the fact that a lot of Americans think marriage totally sucks, baby mamas are becoming more common every day. You'd think you could say, "The mother of his child," but that doesn't work. Usually that is a phrase that people use to inspire guilt within a marriage, as in, "Yes, you can mow the lawn for me. I am the mother of your child."

It is also rude to use this phrase for a woman who is actually married, a fact which journalists found out when they referred to Michelle Obama as Barack Obama's baby momma. It was considered racist because they used slang terminology to make Obama seem more "street." ("Street" means from a rough neighborhood. It is similar to "ghetto" as an adjective.)

I would recommend only saying "baby mama" ironically, or else you will seem stupid/offend someone. Instead, make a point to display how you are stumbling around the term. You could say something like, "The lady who had his son, or whatever," to acknowledge that you realize there is this vacuum in formal American English.

Other slangy terms for common phenomena:
Fag hag: When a girl hangs out with lots of gay guys. Don't say it unless you are gay or a fag hag yourself.
Booty call: someone who you have sex with just to have sex, but don't pay because the desire to have casual sex is meaningful. It's ok to call this person your booty call, just not to their face.
I'll try to think of more

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