What Is It With These Bitches? A Cultural Intervention

Standard

The tongue is mightier than the sword. The power of words and imagery in popular culture has undoubtedly sparked movements of empowerment and social climate change. Words define who we are, and images define what we identify ourselves with. Long gone are the days of Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis educating females on what is it to be a woman in society. Josephine Baker, who of course danced for dollars butt naked, was also an instrument of social equality and international political clout. Today women who by all media accounts are shopaholic party girls, wine drinking, independent types that can’t catch a man even with Flo-Jo’s legs could be rallying to change the stereotypes of music and club culture that says that they are bitches, have instead chose to embrace women that actively promote the same negativity that embodies the worst of who we are.

Nicki – the Mary Magdelene to Lil Wayne’s Jesus, has made it her business to capitalize on being a bad bitch and lil freak. In her songs she boasts of “taking Cassie away from Diddy”, “being a five-star bitch”, “having the fattest pussy”, and “only fucking ballers”. Nicki has allegedly has had her face and body surgically altered in her quest of being the baddest “Barbie” she can be. Are her ever-changing looks and sexuality a nod to her feminist predecessors as her individual expression of freedom, or a not so sophisticated way of mainstream marketing designed to increase her fan base and sales?

Books like Bitch is The New Black have coined the word bitch as modern feminism with a twist of controversy. Bitch is embraced not just as a term of endearment but as an expression of power and independence. Funny since we all know bitches as female dogs and dogs survive by the grace of their masters. We are persuaded to forget the scathing truth of what bitch really is and what the bitch represents. In King Lear, one of the great works by William Shakespeare the Earl of Kent refers to Oswald as “..nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch…” It doesn’t sound like ol’ Billy was saying Oswald’s mom was an independent, empowered woman. Even prior to Shakespeare, the word bitch was used to describe promiscuous women that were like “dogs in heat”. Back in the day even whores didn’t want to be called “bitches”. Fast forward to today, when using the word bitch is more popular than calling a woman lady. The current bitch is a male pleasing, beautifully weaved out, money-getting, bottle poppin’, good time girl. A great guise for somebody that is too confused to be who they really are.

Why do women feel the need to become a bitch in order to become popular, successful, and beautiful? It can’t be our common sense- as the word bitch connotes offensive stereotypes and is meant as an insult. So why has popular culture recently bashed women into bitch submission? Why is the most prominent female hip hop artist the “baddest” self-proclaimed bitch of them all? Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy has bought the film rights to Bitch is The New Black and is bringing bitches to big screen a’la Sex and The City style. While a whole generation of women have been indoctrinated into bitchdom, the women behind the curtains are heading straight to the bank, only the at the expense of the labor of the feminist movement and the future of our women.

This article was inspired by Amanda Anderson at www.urbanbellemag.com and The Hip Hop Effect: The Bitch Complex

Advertisements

2 responses »

  1. is being a “bitch” the only way to be a respected and powerful woman?? i guess the question is, who told women that lie? and why do we believe it? i get tired of hearing women say, im gonna start being a bitch…like, why?? who does that?

    learning to be firm, assertive and expressive are they kets for success. i beg to differ that a woman HAS to be a bitch for men to hear them…its just another excuse for a woman to have an uncontrollable attitude

    • I just question why we loove to call ourselves the most demeaning of things?? The words we love to describe ourselves as says a lot about who we think we are…. Are we desensitized or miseducated? I think the ‘assertive, expressive’ angle is over played, its not about empowerment its a way of selling a brand to a market I don’t think women should forget that…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s