Bitch: An Archetypal Analysis

Archetypes have been universal patterns woven into the fabric of our history. They’ve transcended geographic location and time and been found in cultures that have grown distinctly in and of themselves, with little to no outside contact. Yet, traces of similarities between different perceptions of an archetype lead to the conclusion that there is some form of interconnectedness that exists within the human psychic.

Women and their many roles in society have been depicted through different forms of archetypes such as, “the mother” and “the wife.” But none has ever been more intriguing than the recurrence of the “bitch” character type in ancient and contemporary mediums of art.

Women and their many roles in society have been depicted through different forms of archetypes such as, “the mother” and “the wife.” But none has ever been more intriguing than the recurrence of the “bitch” character type in ancient and contemporary mediums of art. Its predominance leads to the inference that there is something universally unwavering in the comprehension of the bitch archetype, by artists and their audiences.

Focusing on contemporary forms of art, “the bitch,” is used religiously in lyrical verses of rap songs. From The Weeknd having “just fucked two bitches” (The Hills) to Future’s “never chase a bitch” (Mask Off). Rappers have avidly gloated and cautioned their audiences about the bitch. In doing so, they’ve formed and shaped the modern image of what a bitch truly is. The physical overview depiction of a bitch is that she’s female, she’s promiscuous, she’s as societal norms would suggest pretty with an hourglass figure completed by prominent assets. She retains power in her attributes because she has the capability of making people, men in particular, fall for her beauty and wits.

The only credit given to the bitch comes in two forms, the one given to the bad bitch because she is smart, and for this reason knows what she wants and how to get it. This side of her has also caused some to view the bitch as a scheming and manipulative entity who is out to attain material stability and security, by whichever means it could possibly take.

The only credit given to the bitch comes in two forms, the one given to the bad bitch because she is smart, and for this reason knows what she wants and how to get it. This side of her has also caused some to view the bitch as a scheming and manipulative entity who is out to attain material stability and security, by whichever means it could possibly take. This is where artists caution their audiences about the bitch’s domineering ways. As 50 Cent would say, “she's not the type of girl that you take home to your mother,” she’s only good to “deep throat,” but that’s not a huge problem because “she doin' it with everybody” (Bitch!). The other way a bitch can possibly receive credit is according to E-40, by her ability to “make her booty shake.” If she can do so in a male-pleasing manner, then “she got talent” (Slappin’). This view of the bitch is, in essence, derogative and objectifying, as it implies she is only as worthy as her sexual advances and displays.  

The repetition of this singular image of the bitch, by various artists, creates a subconscious form of image pattern. And this image then helps audiences comprehend the work of the artists, as they’ve already acquired an ingrained awareness of what the artists are presenting. The fact that an image already appears in our brains whenever the term bitch is used only to further the idea that this word has an image attached to it. To an extent, we can all identify with the bitch. This complex and unconscious relationship we have with this word is what characterizes the bitch as an archetype, as it has transcended time, definitions, and application to reveal itself as an element of our human nature.

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