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WHY IS MALE RAPPERS CALLING WOMEN ‘BITCHES’ STILL A THING IN 2020?

Why Is Male Rappers Calling Women 'Bitches' Still A Thing In 2020?

 When Dr. Dre confidently proclaimed “Bitches Ain’t Shit” on his seminal debut The Chronic in 1992, we all bobbed our heads to the groundbreaking album. The beat was banging and Dre’s voice valiantly took command of the track, making it almost easy to drown out the blatant misogyny running rampant throughout.

When Too $hort shouted “bitch” on nearly every song from Life Is … Too Short and What’s My Favorite Word? to Blow The Whistle, we laughed it off and let it fly under the radar along with the “boys will be boys” mentality. When 2 Live Crew released As Nasty As They Want To Be in 1989 with an album cover the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled as “legally obscene,” the sounds of “Me So Horny” could still be heard in frat houses from New York to California.

Even as Queen Latifah demanded “who you callin’ a bitch?” on 1993’s “U.N.I.T.Y.,” there was no stopping the runaway misogyny train. After all, it had already been off the rails for centuries.

But at some point, the way the music was heard started to shift, especially for women. Songs such as Beastie Boys’ “Girls Girls Girls” and Snoop Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)” suddenly became less digestible as women continued to be reduced to simply expendable beings or sexual objects merely created for a man’s pleasure.

Now in the #METOO era, men are being held accountable for their patriarchal and misogynistic ways at an alarming rate, so why is the word “bitch” still thrown around so casually by countless male rappers of any and all backgrounds? For a term that’s so often used as a way to degrade and dismiss women, it’s just as prevalent now as it was in the ’90s and 2000s. Simply put, nothing has really changed.

Case in point — a mere week ago, Problem, Freddie Gibbs and Snoop Dogg released a video for the “Don’t Be Mad At Me (Remix).” In one of the skits, Gibbs is playing an aggressive game of one-on-one basketball with a woman when he says, “Damn bitch, can’t you get a layup?” As Snoop looks on, he says, “Freddie! You can’t be calling your hoe no bitch.”

While it’s intended to be funny, it again sends the message that women aren’t valued and are just as disposable as last night’s Chick-fil-A dinner.

In 2012, Lupe Fiasco made a heroic attempt to address the topic with the song “Bitch Bad.” As the story goes, a young boy is riding in the car with his mother when she begins to sing “I’m a bad bitch, and I’m that bitch/Something that’s far above average” as the boy hangs on to every word.

“Couple of things are happenin’ here,” Lupe spits. “First he’s relatin’ the word ‘bitch’ with his mama comma/And because she’s relatin’ to herself, his most important source of help/And mental health, he may skew respect for dishonor.”

DEE BARNES ON DR. DRE & THE ENDLESS CYCLE OF MISOGYNY

Lupe then applies the scenario to a group of girls ages 9 to 12, only this time they’re seeing the word used by one of their favorite male rappers.

“They’re young, so they’re malleable and probably unmentored,” he continues. “A complicated combination, maybe with no relevance/Until that intelligence meets their favorite singer’s preference/’Bad bitches, bad bitches, bad bitches/That’s all I want and all I like in life is bad bitches, bad bitches.’

“Now let’s say that they less concerned with him/And more with the video girl acquiescent to his whims. Ah, the plot thickens/High heels, long hair, fat booty, slim/Reality check, I’m not trippin’/They don’t see a paid actress, just what makes a bad bitch.”

What Lupe’s trying to illustrate is how impressionable kids are and how early exposure to misogyny can have a profound, long lasting (sometimes permanent) effect on how they view themselves and others.

But still, it continues.

Interestingly enough, there’s a gaggle of women who’ve chosen to embrace the word “bitch” in an effort to take it back and diminish its perceived power — and that’s worthy of analyzing.

In a study titled “Reclaiming Critical Analysis: The Social Harms of ‘Bitch,’” authors Sherryl Kleinman, Matthew B. Ezzell and A. Corey Frost noted “women who ‘reclaim’ the term — by declaring themselves ‘bitches,’ calling other women ‘bitches’ in a friendly way, or using the term as a female-based generic — unwittingly reinforce sexism.”

Unlike the term “feminist,” which is tied to an entire movement aimed at social change, they concluded the word “bitch” provides nothing but a “false power” and challenges “neither men nor patriarchy.”

But still, it continues.

Admittedly, when a woman uses the word to refer to herself or her friends in an empowering way, it’s a lot easier to swallow then when a man flings it in our direction. Does that make it right? That’s up to the individual — there are a myriad of traumatic events, generational conditionings and socio-economic issues that can influence how one interprets it. Whatever the case, there’s an overwhelming sense (most) women are fed up with the constant disrespect — and pressing fast-forward.

On July 3, Janelle Monáe used her Twitter platform to speak out against Hip Hop’s torrid love affair with misogyny and called for men to become accountable.

“I really only ever wanna hear women rapping,” she wrote. “The amount of misogyny from most of men in rap and music is infuriating. We need to abolish that shit too. Y’all can’t wait to call women every bitch, hoe, discuss violent acts against women, etc for clout in rap, rock, and through out music history.

“Misogyny has NEVER been okay yet it has become normalized. Women didn’t create misogyny, y’all did. SO YOU DO THE WORK to ABOLISH IT. The only gas lighting I accept is the gas we lighting to burn down the misogyny.”

On the flip side, women who currently monopolize the mainstream rap spotlight aren’t lyrical MCs rocking hoodies and jeans like Rapsody, Sa-Roc or Che Noir. No, it’s Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion whose raunchy “sex raps” dominate the conversation and the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

But how did we get here? Were women so tired of being dragged down by misogynistic ideals they decided, “If we can’t beat ’em, might as well join them?” Is the “sex sells” mentality too hard to resist when it’s always the low-hanging fruit?

While artistic freedom is undeniably important, male rappers’ use of the b-word as a way to refer to a woman is growing tiresome. Scratch that, it’s been tiresome. Not only that, it’s predictable, lazy, boring and shows an obvious lack of creativity.

So please, stop calling women “bitches.” Your mothers, daughters, grandmothers, wives, aunts and girlfriends will thank you.

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