The video below by Kain has got me to thinking about the word ‘bitch.’ I’ll share my thoughts after the jump.
First, I think this dude is hilarious, I have been watching his videos for awhile now and wish him much success in the future, you should definitely check out his youtube (linked above). Secondly, I think he makes a valid point. I have never directly or indirectly called a woman a bitch, nor do I plan to. But that is not to say that I haven’t used the word before, especially since it permeates this post. It all depends on who uses the word and how the word is used.
I can’t count the amount of times I have heard or seen a woman refer to herself as a “Bad Bitch,” “Queen Bitch,” etc, but then flip completely out if a man (or a woman who they are not particularly fond of) calls them out their name. Why is that? Like Kain stated in his video, it has to do with the relationship between the word bitch and themselves. This is very similar to how the word nigga is used. In this instance the term isn’t seen as being used in an opprobrious manner as opposed to a random guy walking up to a woman and saying, “What’s up, bitch?” The other aspect of this is how society has deemed the word bitch as derogatory, especially if a man uses it to address a woman. This is why it is taken very differently if a man says it and regardless of how he meant it, it is taken as an offense (like a random white guy walking up to a group of black men saying, “My Niggas”).
But let’s go slightly deeper than name calling, and look into the etymology of the word. The term is thought to have originated from the Old English word bicce or even the Old Norse word bikkja pertaining to a female dog. The term began to be used derogatorily around the 14th or 15th century, usually referring to a promiscuous female as a metaphorical extension of a bitch in heat. From that, the term has been used in varying social contexts, but most of the time it refers to a woman who is belligerent, aggressive, lewd, unpleasant, etc. When a man feels like he needs to make a point to a woman who is displaying these characteristics he doesn’t say, “You are a very unpleasant woman!” No, he says, “Bitch!” This may also play into the fact that us men are simple creatures and decasyllabic phrases when we’re angry are much more difficult for us to use to make our point than a monosyllabic word. The point is, sometimes a woman’s actions are in fact bitchy, and inductive reasoning states that if it walks like a duck…well you know the rest. As I mentioned above, I refrain from referring to women as bitches (even if some are ducks) just because I am a nice guy and try to take the high road. But for those women who don’t like being called a bitch I implore you to take a look at your surroundings; maybe it’s the people you’re around, maybe it’s the places you frequent, or maybe, just maybe, it’s you.