Monday, August 6, 2007

Excuse me Oprah honey...

I'm sorry really I promise, but niggas, bitches, and hoes do exist. I'm just being honest." -T.I.

I know I may upset people (Not that I care. You all should have learned that from BM-WF.) but I'm going to have to agree with T.I. on this point. My discrepancy with hip hop is the way in which the terms referring to females are used. Not that they do not exist.

woman, female, or girl = bitch, slut, or hoe

In hip hop music, no matter the situation. No matter how glorified the woman in the song is. She will be referred to as the same thing as the woman that same rapper allegedly despises.
Also, bitch and hoe, words often meant to describe women in general, are used to describe men of unsatisfactory qualities. Punks if you will. Pussy is also used in this way. Obviously referring to a part of a female's anatomy. Suggesting that because it is of a woman it is of lesser value than that of a man's body and that by being called that you are less than a man. I'm ok with bitch used to address no one in particular but rather to emphasize the previous statement.

Examples (all Busta Rhymes songs):
I Love My Bitch - "I love my bitch" is said dozens of times throughout the song. His bitch apparently will never let him down. He also loves his bitch.
Pass the Courvoisier - "Best dressed bitches actin' all cute to my shit." - Nothing wrong with these women. They're just women. And therefore, are bitches.
Touch It - "Flipmode, bitch!" Acceptable.
Hail Mary 2003 - " That bitch shot himself in front of Def Jam." - A guy whom he does not like (and is less than crafty with a weapon) is called a bitch.
I unfortunately could not think of a line in which he uses bitch in an unsavory, but nonetheless, acceptable way. If it sticks to the accepted definition of bitch then I let it ride.

Busta Rhymes is nowhere near the main offender or top threat when it comes to using the b-word inappropriately. He popped into my mind because of the song I Love My Bitch which seemed to get the point across just fine in the radio edited version I Love My Chick. I’m confused as to why he didn’t stick with chick.

I think since I’m deeming certain uses of the term ok there should be a male equivalent. I want to be able to insult a male in a different way than just calling him some derivative of a word for female (Anyone with suggestions for this new term let me know and let’s spread that shit son!). What fun is that? Female hip hoppers (all 3 of them) fall victim to the same thing. Referring to themselves as the top bitch yet calling their enemies bitches. Some may argue that females could take the term bitch and empower it (kind of like nigga) as some have attempted to do (Trina and Lil’ Kim). But there is not a strong enough female force in the industry to pull this off. Also, it does not help that a strong argument could be made for one or both holding true to the actual urban definitions of hoe and bitch.

And with that I will leave you with some Lupe in which we see bitch become prevalent in his eyes. Not just saying that the girl he once dated was a bitch but to say that this bitch opened his eyes to the meaning of the term. It awoke an awareness of the reality of it all. That bitches do exist and that hip hop artists misuse the term. It’s not that all rappers hate women. They just don’t respect them.

Now I ain’t tryin to be the greatest/ I used to hate hip hop/ Yup/ Because the women degraded/ But Too Short made me laugh/ Like a hypocrite I played it/ A hypocrite, I stayed it/ Though I only recited half/ Omitting the word 'bitch'/ Cursing, I wouldn’t say it/ Me and dog couldn’t relate/ ‘til a bitch I dated
-Hurt Me Soul


Unknown said...

My issue with saying that there are some women who actually are hos and all of that (I'm a little unsure about how I feel about bitch) is that it implies that for a woman to have lots of sex it's bad, shameful, cheapening. And yet that is not true for men. So it's sexist, even if the woman being called a ho really is promiscuous. I don't think words like ho, whore, slut, etc, are ever ok. I mean unless people try to reclaim them, but personally I just avoid them.

Camille said...

I've never figured out a way to determine which words should be reclaimed and which should be left alone. I've written here before that I don't want to reclaim 'nigger/a' because of the really traumatic way it was used against black people like my granddad. 'Bitch' has been leveraged against me in serious ways too.

I think the best way (that I've come up with) to decide whether to reclaim a word is if people can take that label on proudly. So, 'queer' and 'dyke' have been successfully reclaimed--but I wouldn't call someone a dyke in a hurtful way, because now it's a label of pride. Is 'ho' a word women take on proudly? I wouldn't, maybe some do.

I also feel that, especially in the case of misogynist words, we might do well to observe the rule about using the tools of the master's house. How are we going to actively work against patriarchy, and then use the words of the patriarch?

Brittani said...

Presley you bring up a good point.
But I think males can be hoes, too. It's just not used towards them. Which is sexist. So I'll do what I can to promote women calling males hoes.

Unknown said...

Well that's one way to do it, brittani, but I'd rather not call anyone a ho. I don't think insulting more people is going to bring about positive change.

Unknown said...

Let me explain that a little more. I think that the word ho says that having sex with multiple partners is wrong and makes you worth less, and I'm not sure if those things are true. Even if they are true, I don't want to judge people for their personal sexual decisions. I know people will always be using insults, but I don't think that's something that deserves an insult in the first place. I can understand the argument with the word bitch, because some people are mean and being mean is fair game for insults, so if the word could be de-gendered and used only for people who actually are mean, not strong women, I would be ok with it.

The other thing about words like ho is, they rely on the double standard, and the double standard goes so deep that I don't think trying to make sex shameful for men would really change it. I think that when people consider sex shameful, there's usually misogyny close by.

Brittani said...

"I don't think trying to make sex shameful for men would really change it."

Because sex shouldn't be shameful for anyone. Who is anyone to judge another's personal decisions?

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