Social Issues / The Use Of The Word Bitch In Society
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Autor: anton 14 March 2011
Words: 1580 | Pages: 7
Major Paper 2
In order to gain an adequate perspective of the types of slang words used among my peers, I decided to hangout with my friends for a night, taking note of the slang used without letting them know. The group of friends consisted of all males, six including myself to be exact, in the library, which made my note-taking less obvious. We had gotten a private study room, and this allowed for the conversation to be amongst ourselves, permitting the language used to be similar to if it were going on in one of our houses. If we had been in a large, public study area, the language, I imagine, would be quite different. While in the library, studying gave way to casual conversation before long, and my list of slang began to flow. The language was as one would expect to come from a group of college-aged males. Topics shifted from sex to drinking to drug use to food and back to sex again. Reflecting back on the language I had heard, I realized how much the maturity level of males can drop when not in the company of females. My list consisted largely of dirty, crude sexual terms, and derogatory words and phrases to describe females and their roles in sex and society.
A sentence used by a friend of mine that grabbed my attention in particular was, â€œguys, letâ€™s go out this weekend and get some bitches.â€ The slang word that he used was bitch, a word that has been commonly used in the English language for many years. Itâ€™s not just this word that inspired me to study it, for it is rather common, but rather the wide variety of usages for the word bitch that have evolved. Depending heavily on the context it is used in and who is using it, the word bitch can mean anything from its literal meaning to something positive to something considered very depreciative and belittling for women. In my group of friends, its use has evolved into the latter of the three. The use of the word bitch among college aged males has evolved into use as only negative slang towards females.
The dictionary defines a bitch as â€œa female dog or any other member of the canidae family.â€ It is used among dog lovers and breeders, but in todayâ€™s society, the slang usage of bitch has greatly outweighed its literal meaning. Bitch can be used in a negative or a positive way. It is â€œoften employed insultingly to describe a woman who is malicious, spiteful, domineering, intrusive, or sexually promiscuous... it can also refer to a woman who is mean or inconsiderate.â€ However, bitch is also employed by some women as a feminist usage. Some women call themselves bitches to show that they are tough or strong-willed, capable women. Some women will call one another bitches in a friendly manner, or to greet one another, such as â€œhey bitchâ€. In general, when men use the term bitch, it is almost always in a negative manner, whereas the term can go either way when used by a female. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitch)
The sentence in which I encountered the word bitch was undoubtedly intended to refer to girls in a negative way. â€œGoing out and getting some bitchesâ€ refers to the act of going out to a club or bar, getting drunk, finding a girl there, and taking her home and fooling around or having sex with her. So, in that context, bitches refer to girls who are easy or promiscuous, which is never a good image for a female to have. It infers disrespect towards these particular females, and these are girls who we might lower our standards for or we wouldnâ€™t consider dating due to their reputation of sleeping with a lot of men. Often, these â€œbitchesâ€ are girls who will not hesitate to sleep with someone on the first night of meeting them and are notorious for not being able to maintain a relationship because they cheat on significant others or have an undesirable, sometimes bland or sometimes raucous, personality. The conversation leading up to this sentence being spoken had to do with sex, and who had been having sex and with whom. The male who said the sentence had been complaining that he had not had intercourse in a while, so he suggested getting some bitches, most likely due to the reason that they are easy to have sex with. After this sentence, it sparked conversation of which girls we know were on the promiscuous side, and who had been getting around lately. Judged by the context of the conversation, the negativity of the usage of the word bitch among my friends is implied.
When used by males as a derogatory word to describe females, there is a wide age range of uses, spanning from when the word is first learned around adolescence all the way to old age. Though used most commonly around the younger ages or around 15-25, I have heard many older men describe their wives or ex-wives as bitches. The usage here is clearly negative, and you will never hear a male use bitch to affirmatively describe the characteristics or personality of a woman. There is no specific race or ethnicity that the word bitch is limited to, though I do believe that it is more prominent among Caucasian males. I have heard other races, such as African-Americans and Hispanics, use the word, but I think that they have other slang words that they believe more effectively harmfully define a female, such as â€œtrickâ€ or â€œhoâ€. Bitch is undoubtedly the word of choice for my group of friends in its context, which consists primarily of white males around the age of 20.
Though the word bitch is a nationally, and perhaps worldwide, understood word, I have noticed a significant increase in its usage in my time at WVU. However, the usage of other profanities has increased with it, and I believe that the reason for this rests mainly in the fact that we are living on our own, being almost never in the presence of fully grown adults or parents. I feel a lot more comfortable using profane words in the company of friends than in the company of parents. However, just because I find it used more commonly at WVU does not mean that it is used more widespread on college campuses nationwide. Preference for the use of other words when damagingly portraying females may take first choice over the usage of bitch in different college settings, specifically in schools where there is a larger percentage or minorities, or where there is a more religious influence. There is no doubt, however, that at West Virginia University men choose bitch over other slang words. The user may be provoked to employ this word due to the actions of a female in his life, or just may show a general disrespect for women by using bitch to describe women, unfortunately sometimes directly to their faces.
The slang usage of the word bitch among males interests me because it has persevered in a society that has a language as trendy and constantly changing as English in America. Everyday, new words are created and gain popularity, but none seem to ever take priority among the word bitch, and soon fade out and are long forgotten while the use of bitch and bitches is constantly favored and employed. The word bitch is unique in that, like the words â€œfuckâ€ and â€œassholeâ€, it will always be recognized as a profane, derogatory word in the English language. I believe its usage, because it has been utilized for centuries, will continue to remain popular until the end of the actual language itself, and will always be recognized.
The usage of bitches on the WVU campus also worries me a bit. The way in which we use the word implies that there exists an over-abundance of disrespect towards women in our society. Going out and getting some bitches almost takes away the human aspect of women, viewing them solely as tools that men can use to get off, rather than seeing women for the personality they possess and the person that they are. This should ring a sort of alarm, especially for women who have fought so long for social equality. Calling a woman a bitch implies that they are inferior, and there is no word, I believe, that exists that allows a woman to degrade a man to make him appear inferior. The ringing of this alarm is much easier said than done, I fear, for we live in a society that has always placed men ahead of women. I do not agree with this concept, for I think that we should all be treated equally. Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, this discrimination continues still today, and the word bitch exists as evidence. And, as a result of society, I cannot help but find myself reflecting its views at times and using the word bitch to negatively describe a female. It is a perception that women must continue to fight to change, whether or not they ultimately achieve success.
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