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Their disagreement reflects the varied ways the word is used across a range of communities, designating whatever male behavior a particular culture—or even an individual—identifies as problematic.
Where Sales’ and Massey’s definitions both work from within the discourse of women who date men, it takes on a range of different meanings—and inspires different debates—in other contexts.
has plenty of definitions—so many, in fact, that the word is less interesting for what it means than for why it seems to welcome so many (often mutually exclusive) claims to meaning.
And while some of those claims are older than others, none possess anything like universal authority, Sales’ perhaps least of all.
plays a role in various linguistic communities, it’s hard to trace it to a single source.
These multiple histories—and the ambiguities that arise when they meet—make it difficult to assign a stable, consistent meaning to the term.
In her response to Sales, Massey sets out to explain what’s wrong with modern men.
Describing how smartphone apps have intensified the dynamics of hookup culture, Sales writes, “A ‘fuckboy’ is a young man who sleeps with women without any intention of having a relationship with them or perhaps even walking them to the door post-sex.He’s a womanizer, an especially callous one, as well as kind of a loser.” Succinct and precise as this definition is, it has turned Sales into an object of condescension for some.