When Being Sassy Crosses The Line

September 9, 2017

You can often find exclamations and praise of sass queens beneath youtube videos or in the threads of popular tweets. It’s a word, along with savage, that is becoming more and more popular with our generation but perhaps even more so with the generation younger than us. It’s a way of sticking up for yourselves, being funny and just generally making yourself known. But has the word been misinterpreted by some people? PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS ALL MY OPINION!

Merriam Webster says that it’s when one is: impudent or vigorous and lively. The urban dictionary cites it as being “Someone who is full of themselves but in a good way. They’re cheeky, lively, smart, saucy, slightly impudent, mouthy, cocky, energetic, loud and extremely talkative” with around 3202 upvotes. Thesaurus dot com says that similar words include bold and cheeky. What none of them say, however, is that it is defined as being mean.

It’s almost a childish word, to be mean. In some aspects, I think that this is what draws us away from seeing ourselves be mean; we’re older and have arguably grown out of grade school descriptions. But that doesn’t make it any less true when people are mean or cruel or whatever else you want to call it. The word sass is being used by some people as a shield, and more people need to be called out on that.


For an example, please don’t use this article as a means to go and sprout hate, there is a particular YouTuber known as Simply Kenna who sees herself as a ‘sass queen’ and is touted by her followers as such. Yet there is no denying that what she is doing is mean. There should be no argument that some of her comments, sassy as they may be, leave her feeling good about herself and a commenter who has tried to explain cultural appropriation/racism / religion to her feeling terrible or stupid. It’s both an offense and a defense that serves to counter-attack valid criticism.

Furthermore, the idea that being sassy is cool causes many of her younger viewers to support her actions and attack whoever had just been attacked. In hopes of mimicking their idol perhaps or becoming cool themselves. More often than not, there is swearing involved. Name-calling, degrading use of language and often acronyms that go something like ‘kys’. That isn’t sassy. It’s cyber bullying. You can find a video in which a woman who has recently lost all of her family talks about the effect that Simply Kenna’s comments have had on her; here. There are also numerous ‘exposing’ videos that are on youtube that will not be linked due to the notion that they breed hate.


I’ve seen this misinterpretation in real life too. At a school sale, there were students sitting behind counters, working for different groups but selling connected items. One student unfortunately got the funds a little mixed up to which another student snatched the money out of her hands and had a go at her. That much was understandable. It’s always frustrating to have a co-worker mess up.

What was less understandable was when the angry student refused to talk to the one who had messed up for the rest of the session. She sneered when the other girl was selling things, and ignored her when she asked questions. Choosing to prioritise her phone as opposed to the girl standing in front of her. Not a single word was said, in an otherwise very quiet room. I was quite taken aback when the girl’s friend came along and they both had a laugh about it. That wasn’t as ‘sassy’ as they might have thought, that was just a little bit rude. However, her friend still applauded her and they left quite pleased with themselves.


This isn’t a rare occurrence, it happens all the time online. For readers of this magazine, it is arguably more relevant when dealing with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum. It can be easy to see them as malicious, ignorant and quite often, evil. Being sassy to someone who doesn’t respect you isn’t wrong at all, but as leaders in activism, one must be careful to avoid tainting what they are advocating for with cruelty.

This isn’t a post instructing individuals to halt whatever might be presumed to be sassy, but rather a plea to think about what is said, done or implied before saying, doing or implying it. Too often we can get caught up in what our group thinks is funny or wanting to be praised by others when you come out victorious, to truly see what our words are doing to the person on the other end of it all. Sometimes, when values and views are concerned, it might feel good when it happens but harm causes in the long run. No one wants to support an ideology whose follower’s are unsympathetic to a difference.


Honestly, I was going to submit this to a magazine that I write for, but they said that I was policing thought. I thought that I made it pretty clear that it was my opinion but maybe I came on a little strong? What do you think? Please don’t forget to follow by email / wordpress / twitter / insta if you enjoyed my content ♡

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