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The Magic Word: B*tch

“Bitch, did you hear what he just said to me.”

“Yes this is my main bitch.”

“Bitch, let me tell you!”

The Meaning and Origin of the Word

  1. the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals

  2. a: lewd or immoral woman

       b: a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse

  1. something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant

  2. complaint

(Merriam-Webster Definition)

“Around the year 1400, it gained currency as a disparaging term for a woman, originally specifically “a lewd or sensual woman,” and then more generally “a malicious or unpleasant woman.” … By the 1800’s, bitch was considered “the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman,” to the point where people started using euphemisms for the literal sense, such as lady dog and she dog.” (Dictionary.com)

In the later year of 2015, the Huffington Post published an article, written by Taryn Finley, reporting on the response Siri gives when you asked your IPhone to define the word bitch. The first sub-meaning read, “(black slang) a woman.” Though Siri is completely wrong for this racist and stereotypical response, it still provokes a great question; why is the word bitch being used to define women so casually, especially black women?

A Term of Endearment

Typically, when used amongst females, the word is a term of endearment. It has become extremely common for women to call each other “bitches” as a term substituting for “girl” or “best friend”. It is a generalization, rather than calling one another by their first name or nickname. However, if a female is going to call another female bitch, they must be in their inner circle of friends. Not just any female can call another female bitch with an endearing connotation.

The Complications of the Word

It seems as though women have put forth effort to take back this disrespectful word and remove its derogatory power. However, with those efforts, the word still remains to be extremely disrespectful.

  1. When females dislike someone, female or male, or something, they often times use the word bitch out of frustration or anger, with a negative meaning powering it. Typically, it is used to degrade someone. This proves that this negative word cannot be used in one tense as a term of endearment, but in another, more common tense, as a term of disgrace.
  2. Females will often agree that when a man calls a women a bitch, it is completely unacceptable. It seems as though when a male uses the word bitch he automatically means something offensive by it. It is rarely interpreted as a loving term coming from a man. Even if a male has intentions to use the word towards a female, as two female friends would use it “lovingly” towards one another, it is still unacceptable because of its original meaning.

Over all, the word bitch, by definition is a degrading term that implies frustration, dislike, and belittlement. Though in the black community, efforts by women have been made to take back its power, it still has been proven to be ineffective. No matter how affectionate one intends to use the word, it will never embody a term of endearment. When females call each other bitches, it is still degrading. As a chain reaction, when a man hears that word tossed around by females continuously, they will think that it is okay to classify females as bitches, which is completely unacceptable. As women, we should respect ourselves enough to know that regardless of the tense, we should never allow someone to call us a bitch, male or female. As queens, more specifically, black queens, the word bitch does not and should not ever be a description of our existence and character.

Doing God's work one day at a time.
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