Author Topic: What does "bitch" mean now?  (Read 23999 times)

Offline serious crayons

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What does "bitch" mean now?
« on: April 12, 2012, 10:38:09 am »
A year ago, we debated this topic here: http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,48937.110.html

Here's an interesting analysis of the word's evolution. And why it's still offensive, in many contexts.

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/11/what_b_leaves_out/?source=newsletter


What “B—-” leaves out
The coy titles of two new shows, "GCB" and "The B---- in Apt. 2B," show the awkwardness of feminist progress
By Michal Lemberger


Every morning as I walk my daughters to school, I pass a billboard advertising a new sitcom on ABC. Alongside a close-up of a smug young woman dangling a key off the end of her finger reads: “Don’t trust the B—- in Apt. 23.” And every morning, I’m glad that they’re too young to read, not only because the whole thing is so staged and lame, but because of what that dash says. More important, it’s what it elides — how we think and talk about women — that’s very troubling. It’s what the title doesn’t say that screams the loudest.

My discomfort will come to an end soon. “The B—- in Apt. 23” debuts tonight. The billboard will be replaced, but what it tells us about how we talk about women isn’t going anywhere.

According to Google Books, the word “bitch” appeared 170,710 times in the decade beginning in 2000, almost always in an up-with-women way. (Compare that to the 1930s, when the 11,369 entries ran more to issues of animal anatomy and veterinary medicine.)

Over the past year, in both politics and the entertainment world, talking about women has become an opportunity to fling around insulting language. A lot has been said about “slut,” but it’s that other word — “bitch” — that really gets at the heart of the issue. “Bitch” occupies a strange and conflicted place in our lexicon and our culture. On the one hand, it’s the ultimate put-down — just ask any woman who’s rejected a sexual advance how it feels to be called a bitch, usually in public. On the other, it’s become a term of affection among, for lack of a better word, the sisterhood.

Which is not to say that we’re entirely comfortable with the word. It still doesn’t pass the polite society test. You still don’t want to say it in front of your grandma. Celebrating — or denigrating — a woman as a bitch still carries a hint of the subversive.

It’s been said that TV is the most democratic of media. If that’s true, then “Don’t Trust the B—-” and its big sister, “GCB,” already airing on ABC, have a lot to teach us. Pitched as “Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23” and “Good Christian Bitches,” respectively, the shows were picked up in part, I suspect, because of the supposed cheekiness of their titles. They communicate an adult sensibility, one that won’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers.

Except that the titles were changed immediately. “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23,” a half-hour sitcom, tells a classic odd-couple story about two roommates, one a savvy, possibly psychotic con artist, the other a seeming naif who quickly catches on and earns her harder-edged peer’s respect. Inevitably, they become friends, etc., etc. Scared of actually using the word “bitch” in the title, the network suits originally shortened it to the terminally dull “Apt. 23.” When that didn’t catch on, they reverted to the original, adding a pleasing new rhyme along the way.

The same thing happened to “GCB.” Fearing that Christian audiences would be offended, ABC changed “Good Christian Bitches,” an hour-long comedy-drama about a former “Queen Bitch” who returns to her childhood home in the Dallas suburbs, to “Good Christian Belles.” It was then shortened to its current title, a meaningless acronym that no longer seems to refer to anything.

The new shows’ coy evasion is part of a trend. We saw it in the short-lived sitcom “$#*! My Dad Says.” Based on a popular Twitter feed, the network advertised the show as “Bleep My Dad Says.” “Bleep” is a clever ruse, a censoring of the censoring, but anyone familiar with the show’s history, or cartoon graphics, for that matter, knows what “$#*!” stands for.

“$#*!” can’t actually be spoken on TV, but “bitch” can. Not too long ago, hearing the word come out of a character’s mouth raised an alarm. Hell, Lucy couldn’t even use the word “pregnant,” much less anything really salty. Now, “bitch” has become so commonplace it isn’t even edgy anymore, at least after 8 p.m.

There’s a disjunction here, and it points to the fact that, despite its gains, the word still makes us squeamish. After all, ABC wanted the word to titillate and communicate its own hipness, and yet wouldn’t commit to it for fear of offending anyone.

The word itself holds an interesting, perhaps unique, place among our current crop of go-to slurs. These days, we like to insult people based on sexual characteristics. What better way for Americans still squeamish about sexuality to put someone down than by labeling him with a coarse term for actual genitalia? A man can be a “prick,” “dick” or “asshole,” none of which is considered unspeakably bad. Not so for a woman. We reserve our worst for other words, those that begin with “c” and “t” and conflate an ugly image of female genitalia with the behavior and/or attitudes of women. That’s why they are so offensive. They reduce women to the purely bodily and declare that a woman’s body is inherently offensive at the same time.

“Bitch” comes from a different tradition of insult, in which a person is compared to an animal — in this case, a highly sexualized one — and so stripped of some of his or her humanity. Think “cur,” which has an air of old-fashioned quaintness about it. “Bitch” doesn’t have any overtones of a lost, imperial past.

Outside of dog-breeding circles, the meaning of the word has evolved. Tell a man that he is “someone’s bitch,” and you’ve emasculated him. You’ve reduced him to the level of a woman, which, if the slur is used effectively, is the core of the insult. Any woman who is labeled a bitch is, on the other hand, someone who won’t give what’s asked of her. She has broken the social contract that demands women be pliable and accommodating. Which is precisely the opposite of its meaning when used as a compliment. A woman who admiringly calls another woman a bitch is declaring her admiration for someone who won’t conform to those expectations.

What I can’t figure out is what ABC means by it. Are they trying to offend, or are they attempting, in a ham-handed way, to appeal to young women who want to see themselves as rule-breakers? Because I’m not sure that retaining the initial letter and only gesturing to the rest of the word is any less offensive than just saying it. If network standards-and-practices departments allow dialogue to contain the word, then just go ahead and use it in the title. On the other hand, if “bitch” is too incendiary to appear in a show’s title, it shouldn’t be allowed so liberally once the action starts.

We are already familiar with the double use of words once reserved for bigots and misogynists. Marginalized subcultures often reclaim words that have been used to hurt them. But the process is awkward. They speak to a history of relations — whether they be racial, sexual or gender — that have been complicated, at best, and brutally unjust, at worst. Examples aren’t hard to find. While some people are seen as allowed to use the “n-word,” our general discomfort with it isn’t surprising in a country where young black men are in danger just walking down the street. The same process has been seen in the gay community, which has embraced “queer.” (Remember “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which didn’t have to tiptoe around a formerly offensive word, because it had been so widely accepted.) “Fag,” on the other hand, inhabits that stranger space, in which context is everything: Spat out by a homophobe, it’s hate speech. Used by one gay man to refer to another, it can be an affectionate form of in-speak.

And it’s what’s happening with “bitch.” Despite the gains women have made, gender relations in America remain troubled: Widespread wage gaps still exist, as does a paucity of women at the highest levels of power. We’re still arguing about why women get blamed for their own rapes. The list goes on and on. The words we use to refer to women show us how far that process is from being complete. Every once in a while — as with TV-show titles — our ambivalence about them comes into sharper focus.

Rush Limbaugh learned the limits of our tolerance, at least when it come to a public figure attacking a private citizen using a gendered insult. But the powers-that-be at ABC want to play it both ways. They want to wink at an audience that appreciates the audacity and irony of using the word “bitch,” but are still afraid enough that they will censor it, at least partway.

Television is ubiquitous in America. We invite it into our homes and it reflects us back at ourselves. “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23” and “GCB” tell us something about how we think about ourselves. If TV executives, their nervous eyes trained on Nielsen ratings and the bottom line, can’t figure out our attitudes about how we think and talk about women, then neither can we. I’m just not ready to tell that to my daughters.


Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2012, 11:45:01 am »
I think it shows an awkward, and to me, strange practice of adopting an epithet to identify themselves and their close associates. Just watch any episode of RuPaul's Drag Race.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2012, 12:15:55 pm »
Quote
It’s become a term of affection among, for lack of a better word, the sisterhood.

That surprised me, but then I'm gettin' old. When I think of the "B" word, I tend to think of Alexis going after Crystal.  ;D

Generational thing, I guess.  ;D
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Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2012, 03:07:46 pm »
A man can be a “prick,” “dick” or “asshole,” none of which is considered unspeakably bad. Not so for a woman. We reserve our worst for other words, those that begin with “c” and “t” and conflate an ugly image of female genitalia with the behavior and/or attitudes of women. That’s why they are so offensive. They reduce women to the purely bodily and declare that a woman’s body is inherently offensive at the same time.

I agree with this assessment of "asshole." But I disagree about "prick" or "dick." As a matter of fact, "prick" was the more polite term used back when "dick" was considered too rude. Either way, these words have the same effect on men that the "c-word" or the "t-word" have on women in terms of the dehumanizing bodily reduction. And I'll tell you that personally, I like penises very much...starting with my own. So I still cringe when I hear those words, and being called such really pushes my buttons...unless--as has been pointed out--the speaker is using them in jest.  

I should also point out that while the "c-word," the "t-word," the "p-word" and "dick" are not allowed on network TV, "prick" is.

“Bitch” comes from a different tradition of insult, in which a person is compared to an animal — in this case, a highly sexualized one — and so stripped of some of his or her humanity. Think “cur,” which has an air of old-fashioned quaintness about it. “Bitch” doesn’t have any overtones of a lost, imperial past.

Exactly. And the words were equally offensive back in the day. "Cur" fell out of common usage sometime after the Civil War AFAIK, and most people today have no idea what it means.

Outside of dog-breeding circles, the meaning of the word has evolved. Tell a man that he is “someone’s bitch,” and you’ve emasculated him. You’ve reduced him to the level of a woman, which, if the slur is used effectively, is the core of the insult.

Let me offer another angle. Calling a man a "bitch" is emasculating, but not because it reduces a man to the level of a woman, but rather his masculinity is so damaged that he "becomes" a woman. The opposite insult would be calling a woman "butch," "bull-dyke," or saying "she's got a dick." Those insults are intended to strip away her femininity, therefore she "becomes" a man. Its about gender reversal.

Any woman who is labeled a bitch is, on the other hand, someone who won’t give what’s asked of her. She has broken the social contract that demands women be pliable and accommodating.

I think its become much broader than that. Any woman that displays any undesirable behavior get the label. Too whiny? Kiss up too much? Gossip too much? Always bumming money? You name it: any negative character trait at all can earn a woman that title.

Are they trying to offend, or are they attempting, in a ham-handed way, to appeal to young women who want to see themselves as rule-breakers? Because I’m not sure that retaining the initial letter and only gesturing to the rest of the word is any less offensive than just saying it. If network standards-and-practices departments allow dialogue to contain the word, then just go ahead and use it in the title. On the other hand, if “bitch” is too incendiary to appear in a show’s title, it shouldn’t be allowed so liberally once the action starts.

I think ABC is trying to be edgy, but cautiously. And I agree that if they're going to use "bitch" in the script, they may as well put it in the title. I mean c'mon: the word was thrown around so often on Desperate Housewives, they could have dispensed with the word "Housewives" from the title.


We are already familiar with the double use of words once reserved for bigots and misogynists. Marginalized subcultures often reclaim words that have been used to hurt them. But the process is awkward. They speak to a history of relations — whether they be racial, sexual or gender — that have been complicated, at best, and brutally unjust, at worst. Examples aren’t hard to find. While some people are seen as allowed to use the “n-word,” our general discomfort with it isn’t surprising in a country where young black men are in danger just walking down the street. The same process has been seen in the gay community, which has embraced “queer.” (Remember “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which didn’t have to tiptoe around a formerly offensive word, because it had been so widely accepted.) “Fag,” on the other hand, inhabits that stranger space, in which context is everything: Spat out by a homophobe, it’s hate speech. Used by one gay man to refer to another, it can be an affectionate form of in-speak.

"Queer" is in a slightly different position because it has its own mini-movement behind it.

If TV executives, their nervous eyes trained on Nielsen ratings and the bottom line, can’t figure out our attitudes about how we think and talk about women, then neither can we.

Welcome to the club. Blacks can't figure out how they think and talk about each other either.
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Offline David In Indy

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2012, 03:41:19 pm »
I was watching this old black and white movie on TCM a few months ago, and this woman was holding a small dog in her arms. Something alarmed the dog and she got loose and ran out the door. The woman then shouted "My bitch! My bitch! Somebody get my bitch!"

 :laugh:  :laugh:

Sorry! I realize this has NOTHING to do with the article, but I couldn't help it!  :-\
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Offline bentgyro

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 03:52:23 pm »
I used to breed dogs in the 70's and have always called female dogs "bitches" 
Recently I was chastised by a new breeder when I said that she had a "beautiful bitch".
She said that they used the word female, now.
Seems that even a bitch isn't a bitch anymore. :-\ :laugh: :laugh:

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2012, 04:01:45 pm »
I used to breed dogs in the 70's and have always called female dogs "bitches" 
Recently I was chastised by a new breeder when I said that she had a "beautiful bitch".
She said that they used the word female, now.
Seems that even a bitch isn't a bitch anymore. :-\ :laugh: :laugh:

 :laugh:

Reminds me that I always want to chuckle when I see a breeding female cat referred to as a "queen."  ;D
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2012, 04:06:51 pm »
Let me offer another angle. Calling a man a "bitch" is emasculating, but not because it reduces a man to the level of a woman, but rather his masculinity is so damaged that he "becomes" a woman. The opposite insult would be calling a woman "butch," "bull-dyke," or saying "she's got a dick." Those insults are intended to strip away her femininity, therefore she "becomes" a man. Its about gender reversal.

Seriously, I wonder how it's taken if a woman is told she's got balls. ...  ???

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that a woman has a dick, but just last night on Law and Order: SVU, someone described Det. Olivia Benson as "having a hard-on" for a certain supposed criminal who turned out to have been wrongfully convicted.
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Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2012, 04:27:35 pm »
Seriously, I wonder how it's taken if a woman is told she's got balls. ...  ???

Having balls is generally a compliment to whomever is being spoken of. Apparently having "balls" is good, having a "dick" is not. Kinda twisted.

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that a woman has a dick, but just last night on Law and Order: SVU, someone described Det. Olivia Benson as "having a hard-on" for a certain supposed criminal who turned out to have been wrongfully convicted.

That's another good example of dissing male anatomy.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2012, 04:34:48 pm »
I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that a woman has a dick, but just last night on Law and Order: SVU, someone described Det. Olivia Benson as "having a hard-on" for a certain supposed criminal who turned out to have been wrongfully convicted.

That's another good example of dissing male anatomy.

I suppose it is when it's said of a woman, although I have also heard the same phrase used of a man, and not in a sexual situation, but in a situation where a more polite way of phrasing it might be that he "had it in" for someone.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 04:36:00 pm »
Having balls is generally a compliment to whomever is being spoken of. Apparently having "balls" is good, having a "dick" is not. Kinda twisted.

Yeah. Weird, isn't it?  :-\
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Offline southendmd

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 05:02:21 pm »
.
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Offline Ellemeno

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 05:34:47 pm »
I don't like the whole "bee-yotch" thing.  Especially in the plural form as a way of addressing all one's friends and acquaintances, "Hey bee-yotches!"

Offline bentgyro

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 05:41:02 pm »
Don't forget that a man is insulted by calling him a pussy.
Sometimes a woman is called a bitch when she is assumed to be mean.
Then there is stupid bitch, crazy bitch, smart bitch, lucky bitch.
Also whining is called bitch, bitch, bitch.
Bitch is an overused word and has multiple meaning, like F***k does! ;)

Offline Marina

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 07:43:40 pm »
I have to weigh in also.

I don't think being compared to animal is such an insult, there are many times positive comparisons are made - a lion's bravery, etc.  

Bitch has changed from its original meaning of a female dog - evolved (or de-evolved!).   Personally, I don't find it an insult to all women.   Calling names based on women's genitalia and women's body parts and sexuality does demean (and even dehumanize, as it tries to reduce a woman to only her body parts, or tries to imply weakness) all women as a group, and is an insult to all women and these names are highly disrespectful and offensive, as women of Native American descent can additionally attest to.   I would never, ever refer to a woman, or a man, using those words, and never have.  However, while not the most polite thing to say, "bitch" may be a lesser offense since it doesn't demean all women in general imo because it only refers to a cruel, bullying sort of woman, at least how I would define it, which is what I suspect from the advertisements this television program is probably about.   A woman whose behavior demeans other women.   The word also has taken on a positive, empowering feminist dimension also.   (see link for Bitch Magazine http://bitchmagazine.org/about) Use sparingly.   :)
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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2012, 10:48:44 pm »
I was watching this old black and white movie on TCM a few months ago, and this woman was holding a small dog in her arms. Something alarmed the dog and she got loose and ran out the door. The woman then shouted "My bitch! My bitch! Somebody get my bitch!"

 :laugh:  :laugh:

Sorry! I this has NOTHING to do with the article, but I couldn't help it!  :-\

   I do think that it is relavent.  It is an instrument of language.  English, has many places where the particular words have many meanings.  Sometimes they are nouns, and sometimes adjectives.  I personally use the word bitch quite often, and do not think of it as a forbidden word.  I only use it when I am particlarly unfond of someone.  Like.."I am now dodging bombs. I know that there are many of her fans here."  One in particular  but I cannot abide Madonna.  I will not say here why.  But it is much more than my approval or disapproval of her as a musician.
   I do not ever use the N words, the C word or most of the other nasty epithets in common usage today.. Whore being one.  I would never call anyone that.  It is over the line.  Even if a person has that bent, or is in that employ.  It is just over the line.  Just as the N word is.
   Personally I think using mean words is less a problem than to actually do bodily harm.."sticks and stones," so to speak...  It,  Means you are your own person....but when I say she is a bitch...I mean the most annoying self obsorbed and hateful person I can describe...  So there are limits to which even I subscribe to independant behaviors..  When you do not have regard for others...it is to be a "BITCH"



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Offline David In Indy

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2012, 03:45:03 am »
   I do think that it is relavent.  It is an instrument of language.  English, has many places where the particular words have many meanings.  Sometimes they are nouns, and sometimes adjectives.  I personally use the word bitch quite often, and do not think of it as a forbidden word.  I only use it when I am particlarly unfond of someone.  Like.."I am now dodging bombs. I know that there are many of her fans here."  One in particular  but I cannot abide Madonna.  I will not say here why.  But it is much more than my approval or disapproval of her as a musician.
   I do not ever use the N words, the C word or most of the other nasty epithets in common usage today.. Whore being one.  I would never call anyone that.  It is over the line.  Even if a person has that bent, or is in that employ.  It is just over the line.  Just as the N word is.
   Personally I think using mean words is less a problem than to actually do bodily harm.."sticks and stones," so to speak...  It,  Means you are your own person....but when I say she is a bitch...I mean the most annoying self obsorbed and hateful person I can describe...  So there are limits to which even I subscribe to independant behaviors..  When you do not have regard for others...it is to be a "BITCH"

That's an excellent way to put it, Janice!!!
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2012, 10:45:07 am »
I agree with this assessment of "asshole." But I disagree about "prick" or "dick." As a matter of fact, "prick" was the more polite term used back when "dick" was considered too rude. Either way, these words have the same effect on men that the "c-word" or the "t-word" have on women in terms of the dehumanizing bodily reduction. And I'll tell you that personally, I like penises very much...starting with my own. So I still cringe when I hear those words, and being called such really pushes my buttons...unless--as has been pointed out--the speaker is using them in jest. 

I should also point out that while the "c-word," the "t-word," the "p-word" and "dick" are not allowed on network TV, "prick" is.

I don't think "dick" or "prick" are the equivalent of the c-word. Who in the real world have you ever heard refer to it as the "d-word"? That word is tossed around casually by men and women, boys and girls, sometimes attached to "head." Whereas "cunt" is pulled out by only the rudest people in only the most extreme situations.

No, the equivalent of "dick" is "pussy," which is used pretty casually. Though neither, interestingly, is often applied to a woman. Nor is "asshole," for that matter.

Quote
Let me offer another angle. Calling a man a "bitch" is emasculating, but not because it reduces a man to the level of a woman, but rather his masculinity is so damaged that he "becomes" a woman.

I'm not thrilled with "bitch" in any context, though I find it the most offensive when it's a man speaking of a woman. Hence, I am at least somewhat offended by about 75 percent of rap songs. (Well, 75 percent of the ones I've heard, which is a small fraction of all rap but seems to be about representative -- one night when my son was playing his iTunes in the car on the aux plug, I asked him to find a song that didn't have the word "bitch" in it, and he had trouble doing so.)

According to the website Rap Genius, which records and explains rap lyrics, there are 8,222 rap songs with the word "bitch" in them, including over 100 with the word right in the title. Titles -- and these include songs by the biggest names in rap -- include "Shut Up Bitch Swallow," "Bitches Ain't Shit," "Fuck My Bitch," "Bitch Suck Dick," "Bitches on My Dick," "Break that Bitch," and "Violate that Bitch." Also, "Sophisticated Bitch" and "Bitches in Paris" and "Please Respect the Bitch" (good start, yo). And the romantic ballad "I Love My Bitch."

Of course, "bitch" is better than "ho."

Bitch-related rap anecdote: A rumor went around for a couple of days recently that Jay-Z had publicly sworn off using the word "bitch" since his daughter was born. It turned out to be fake, which Jay-Z casually confirmed when asked about it on TV. Nope, he had no plans to change his use of an offensive slur. However, a month or two earlier, a feud cropped up between Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, partly based on Lil Wayne recording a song in which the phrase "your bitch" implicitly referred to Beyonce. In Jay-Z's mind, apparently, it's fine to use "bitch" with abandon when applied to women in general, but it's a huge insult when applied to one's wife.

The problem is that if I find "bitch" offensive when used in these contexts, I'm now reluctant for political reasons to use it in its traditional way: to describe a woman who's mean or unpleasant. As in, "My boss is such a bitch" or "You're acting like a bitch." If "bitch" is to be used as a synonym for "woman," those phrases are redundant and obvious. And if I don't want Jay-Z to use the word, I shouldn't add to the world's supply. So now what? "My boss is such an asshole," I guess, though to me that still sounds funny when used to describe a woman.

I used to think reclaiming slurs was a reasonable idea, but I've come to find the process so fraught with pitfalls that maybe it's better to just not do it.

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Let me offer another angle. Calling a man a "bitch" is emasculating, but not because it reduces a man to the level of a woman, but rather his masculinity is so damaged that he "becomes" a woman.

And I'm assuming this arose from prison terminology.

But now, I think, "bitch" has a more generic, non-gendered meaning when applied to men. It's more like "asshole." If you want to insult a man by calling him something feminine, you would use "pussy."

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The opposite insult would be calling a woman "butch," "bull-dyke," or saying "she's got a dick." Those insults are intended to strip away her femininity, therefore she "becomes" a man. Its about gender reversal.

I don't think these are quite equivalent. "Butch" and "bull-dyke," because of their sexual-orientation connotations, mean something a little different, and I would assume their meaning changes depending on whether the person is gay or straight. As for "she's got a dick," yes it's an insult, but I think of it as an insult often applied to women not because they're acting "masculine" per se, but because they're behaving in a way that's presumably only acceptable for men. For example, women who are seen as being "inappropriately" competitive or aggressive in business.

It's interesting that our insults are so gender-specific.



Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2012, 11:00:53 am »
I don't think "dick" or "prick" are the equivalent of the c-word. Who in the real world have you ever heard refer to it as the "d-word"? That word is tossed around casually by men and women, boys and girls, sometimes attached to "head." Whereas "cunt" is pulled out by only the rudest people in only the most extreme situations.

No, the equivalent of "dick" is "pussy," which is used pretty casually. Though neither, interestingly, is often applied to a woman. Nor is "asshole," for that matter.

I was speaking on an individual level. I should have been more clear. You are certainly right that "dick" doesn't have the same level of rudeness on a social level. I think that is, in part, because men in the past were expected to be able to handle insults, whereas women were expected to be protected from them. The cultural hold-out from that social contract is that any word that insults women is by default more heinous than any word that insults men. Chivalry isn't quite dead yet.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2012, 11:41:04 am »
I don't think "dick" or "prick" are the equivalent of the c-word. Who in the real world have you ever heard refer to it as the "d-word"? That word is tossed around casually by men and women, boys and girls, sometimes attached to "head." Whereas "cunt" is pulled out by only the rudest people in only the most extreme situations.

I agree.

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According to the website Rap Genius, which records and explains rap lyrics, there are 8,222 rap songs with the word "bitch" in them, including over 100 with the word right in the title. Titles -- and these include songs by the biggest names in rap -- include "Shut Up Bitch Swallow," "Bitches Ain't Shit," "Fuck My Bitch," "Bitch Suck Dick," "Bitches on My Dick," "Break that Bitch," and "Violate that Bitch." Also, "Sophisticated Bitch" and "Bitches in Paris" and "Please Respect the Bitch" (good start, yo). And the romantic ballad "I Love My Bitch."

Awful, just awful.  :(

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Of course, "bitch" is better than "ho."

Once I was casually called "ho" by a fellow gay guy. I ripped him a new one. ...

Quote
Bitch-related rap anecdote: A rumor went around for a couple of days recently that Jay-Z had publicly sworn off using the word "bitch" since his daughter was born. It turned out to be fake, which Jay-Z casually confirmed when asked about it on TV. Nope, he had no plans to change his use of an offensive slur. However, a month or two earlier, a feud cropped up between Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, partly based on Lil Wayne recording a song in which the phrase "your bitch" implicitly referred to Beyonce. In Jay-Z's mind, apparently, it's fine to use "bitch" with abandon when applied to women in general, but it's a huge insult when applied to one's wife.

Let's be more clearly specific: It's OK for Jay-Z to use the word; it's not OK for someone else to use it about Jay-Z's wife.

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I used to think reclaiming slurs was a reasonable idea, but I've come to find the process so fraught with pitfalls that maybe it's better to just not do it.

Perhaps it depends on the slur, but I was never happy or comfortable with reclaiming "queer." And, curiously, the only people I ever met personally, face-to-face, who had no problem using that word, were invariably at least a decade younger than me, if not more.

(OT and BTW, welcome back, Katharine. I've been missing you.)
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2012, 11:58:14 am »
The cultural hold-out from that social contract is that any word that insults women is by default more heinous than any word that insults men. Chivalry isn't quite dead yet.

 ???  Um, see my post above re examples of use of the word "bitch" by millionaire rappers whose music sells millions of copies to millions of people, who win Grammys and star in movies and get profiled in the New York Times and the New Yorker and are basically the toast of modern pop culture.

Or perhaps you can point me to 8,222 similarly offensive uses of the word "dick" in songs by women, including more than 100 with the word in the title itself?

As for the c-word, I believe you're incorrect about its heinous status being due to chivalry. I think it's heinous because it is sort of on par with the "n-word" (when used by white people) or the "f-word": the ultimate offensive slur used against a historically oppressed population. There is no equivalently heinous word for men (dick) or white people (honky) or straight people (breeder) because those groups, collectively, have been historically privileged.



Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2012, 12:01:19 pm »
Perhaps it depends on the slur, but I was never happy or comfortable with reclaiming "queer." And, curiously, the only people I ever met personally, face-to-face, who had no problem using that word, were invariably at least a decade younger than me, if not more.

Yeah, I've always wondered about whether offensiveness lingers regarding the q-word, considering it's in the title of a TV show and the name of a field of academic studies.

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(OT and BTW, welcome back, Katharine. I've been missing you.)

Thanks!  :-*



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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2012, 12:06:18 pm »
Katharine, you are right - some words are just not worth reclaiming.   I didn't think of the rap definition, just the mean definition, but calling someone a bitch is not a great thing do do.   I think we sometimes forget when we say these things.  The C-word is just plain ugly - ugly to hear, ugly to read, ugly facial expression to say it - it's a violent word, almost.  (Although words are used for a purpose in literature, I think)   I remember reading something that some young women had written and were tossing it around online, and that one isn't worth reclaiming either.  :)   I have used the word "balls" to refer to courage or lack of, and the unisex A-word, but I guess I'll just stick with the good old "F" word when I'm mad enough to curse!  lol  :)
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2012, 12:11:47 pm »
Good way to put it, Marina.

Though I'll have to say I'm not really fond of using "balls" to mean courage. That's insulting to women, as well.


Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2012, 12:20:42 pm »
Yeah, I've always wondered about whether offensiveness lingers regarding the q-word, considering it's in the title of a TV show and the name of a field of academic studies.

At the risk of wandering way OT. ...

While I watched the first season of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy faithfully, the title did make me a tad uncomfortable. It might be interesting, and maybe revealing, to know why the show was named Queer Eye and not, say, Gay Eye. Interesting (to me, anyway) to note also that except for Ted the food guy, everyone else on the show was a lot younger than I am. I might be guilty of stereotyping here, but I would also expect that younger stylistas and fashionistas would be just the type to "reclaim" the word and use it archly.

"Queer Studies" may be a received title for an academic field, but, again, I suspect that name came from academics of a younger generation than me.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2012, 12:22:29 pm »
Though I'll have to say I'm not really fond of using "balls" to mean courage. That's insulting to women, as well.

I would think so.
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Offline Marina

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2012, 12:23:08 pm »
Quote
Though I'll have to say I'm not really fond of using "balls" to mean courage. That's insulting to women


No, never in regards to a woman, definitely offensive there.   To be honest, the only time that one ever comes up is when I'm upset with the state of politics!   Also, this word can be a negative, mean brazenness, or being too "nervy".

Now everybody's going to think I curse all the time, but hardly ever - I have to be really furious to do it!   Otherwise, it's bad form.
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Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2012, 01:07:59 pm »
???  Um, see my post above re examples of use of the word "bitch" by millionaire rappers whose music sells millions of copies to millions of people, who win Grammys and star in movies and get profiled in the New York Times and the New Yorker and are basically the toast of modern pop culture.

Or perhaps you can point me to 8,222 similarly offensive uses of the word "dick" in songs by women, including more than 100 with the word in the title itself?


I think you're missing my point. Rappers, etc. use all the curse words they can on purpose. Its part of their "schtick." I'm talking about plain-old everyday discourse.

As for the c-word, I believe you're incorrect about its heinous status being due to chivalry. I think it's heinous because it is sort of on par with the "n-word" (when used by white people) or the "f-word": the ultimate offensive slur used against a historically oppressed population. There is no equivalently heinous word for men (dick) or white people (honky) or straight people (breeder) because those groups, collectively, have been historically privileged.

I don't think most people who find the c-word or n-word heinous speech are thinking "that person shouldn't be using such offensive language against these poor, oppressed people."
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2012, 01:25:21 pm »
I think you're missing my point. Rappers, etc. use all the curse words they can on purpose. Its part of their "schtick." I'm talking about plain-old everyday discourse.

Oh, sorry. I thought when you said "culture" you meant culture. But you mean everyday discourse, as in what I hear people say in person? Even then I'd say "dick" and "bitch" are at least equally common.

Quote
I don't think most people who find the c-word or n-word heinous speech are thinking "that person shouldn't be using such offensive language against these poor, oppressed people."

That's pretty close to exactly what they're thinking. Oh, they wouldn't say "poor, oppressed," maybe. How about "disadvantaged" or "less privileged" or maybe they'd just say the name of the group itself: black people, women, gay people. Whatever you like.

The point is, slurs used to insult those groups carry more power to hurt and offend than slurs used against dominant groups. As a member of two out of of those three dominant groups, I can attest that I'm not particularly stung by "honky" or "breeder," nor have I known any other members of those groups who were. They're more like, "Yeah, OK, fair is fair, there should be some insulting term for the other side." But in practice, they just aren't as insulting.


Offline Luvlylittlewing

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2012, 01:36:49 pm »
I can't use any of the words you guys mentioned.  I don't know if it is because of the way I was raised (my mom always took great pains to tell me what a lady does or does not do) or if I refuse to be like the boors who call others names.  I do admit to calling my sister-in-law a bitch when she attacked my brother, but it was done in a fit of anger and I was ashamed immediately after.  I also know how I feel when I'm called a bitch, which is not often, but when it happens it stings.  Once I was walking in the hood and I refused the advances of some dude.  He called me everything but a child of God, and he seemed to take great pleasure in calling me a bitch.  I let it go.  Consider the source.  

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2012, 02:35:00 pm »
He seemed to take great pleasure in calling me a bitch.  I let it go.  Consider the source.  

You are a very wise person.  :)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2012, 11:14:28 pm »
Oh, sorry. I thought when you said "culture" you meant culture. But you mean everyday discourse, as in what I hear people say in person? Even then I'd say "dick" and "bitch" are at least equally common.

Yes, and I agreed with that earlier in this thread. The point I'm making is what effect being called either or those things has on a man or a woman. "Dick" might not seem as horrible as the "c-word" by society at large, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have the same impact on individual men as the "c-word" has on individual women. Moreover, if using "bitch," the "c-word," etc. is demeaning to all women, the same goes for "prick," "dick," etc. for all men.

The point is, slurs used to insult those groups carry more power to hurt and offend than slurs used against dominant groups. As a member of two out of of those three dominant groups, I can attest that I'm not particularly stung by "honky" or "breeder," nor have I known any other members of those groups who were. They're more like, "Yeah, OK, fair is fair, there should be some insulting term for the other side." But in practice, they just aren't as insulting.

So the next time I'm at my favorite bar up here in rural Pennsylvania (which won't be until next month), I can call a 300 lb. biker "cracker" to his face, and he'll just laugh it off?? I don't think so. I think I'd be picking my black ass up off the floor.
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Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2012, 12:23:38 am »
As we've been here discussing these words, people on Twitter have been putting them to use against Ann Romney:

http://twitchy.com/2012/04/12/new-tone-alert-libs-attack-ann-romney-as-cunt-bitch-whore/

WARNING: these tweets are harsh.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2012, 12:35:18 am »
"Dick" might not seem as horrible as the "c-word" by society at large, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have the same impact on individual men as the "c-word" has on individual women. Moreover, if using "bitch," the "c-word," etc. is demeaning to all women, the same goes for "prick," "dick," etc. for all men.

Here's why I would dispute that: I hear individual men call other men "dick" all the time. I can't even remember when I last heard a woman call another woman  the "c-word." Can't say it's never happened, but it's not a common occurrence.

Sorry, I know it's nice to feel just as victimized as the people in the opposite camp, but it doesn't always work that way. I'll grant you supposed "victim" status in regard to race and sexual orientation, but you'll have to give the same to me when it come to gender.

Quote
So the next time I'm at my favorite bar up here in rural Pennsylvania (which won't be until next month), I can call a 300 lb. biker "cracker" to his face, and he'll just laugh it off?? I don't think so. I think I'd be picking my black ass up off the floor.

How should I know, when I don't even know this guy? He may have any number of reasons to beat you up.

But I will tell you that few white people feel stung by "cracker." And on the small chance they did, I would absolutely guarantee you that they are working class or poor. Whereas class does not determine a black person's reaction to being called a racist slur by a white person. So in essence, "cracker" is a slur against class, not race.




Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2012, 12:53:08 am »
Here's why I would dispute that: I hear individual men call other men "dick" all the time. I can't even remember when I last heard a woman call another woman  the "c-word." Can't say it's never happened, but it's not a common occurrence.

I admit that women don't use the "c-word" on each other as often as they use "bitch," but they certainly do use it.

Sorry, I know it's nice to feel just as victimized as the people in the opposite camp, but it doesn't always work that way. I'll grant you supposed "victim" status in regard to race and sexual orientation, but you'll have to give the same to me when it come to gender.

I guess we'll have to let this one be.

But I will tell you that few white people feel stung by "cracker." And on the small chance they did, I would absolutely guarantee you that they are working class or poor. Whereas class does not determine a black person's reaction to being called a racist slur by a white person. So in essence, "cracker" is a slur against class, not race.

When black people use "cracker" it has nothing to do with class. That would be "redneck."
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2012, 04:48:19 pm »
    See to me.  The term Redneck denotes an area and behavior, more than anything else.  I doubt that many so called Rednecks\
even mind that term. 

    I am sure some people don't associate enough with the term Cracker to really bother with that either.  Unless it is pronounced in
the midst of a heated argument.  Where danger is impllied.


     That is different from making a truly racist remark, such as the one that African Americans are so injured by.  I however do not
think it is cutsie or should come from them either towards each other..  That simply continues the term, that teaches the ups and
downs of the usage ad infinitum..  It should be placed in the refuse can, and try and rid the language of it.  I do not thinik any
differently about certain physiological terms either.  Where they are from men to men, women to women or cross gendered.  They are
simply too inflamatory. 
     
       However all this is subject to the real truth.  Opinion be damned.  Some people simply do not have the proper ability to
speak in such a way, to another person in anger with Shakesperean flair.  Therefor they are readily willing and able to use those
so called forbidden words against someone that they are in a heated disagreement with.  They use them deliberately to injure, and
hurt.  I think that is the way of life.  There are people that cannot say a hate remark without using those ikinds of words. 

    Then there are the Artists, that use them, and want to have no retribution.   They feel it is their right to use them and no one
elses..  Jay Z comes to mind.  He recently remarked, I am going to paraphrase.  I can use those terms in my music, and call women
in general those terms.  While I better never hear anyone call my wife or daughter that...  I think that is the worst kind of a hypocritical
behavior..  Inexcusable.  He had just made a  statement and then retracted it.  Saying he was no longer going to use those terms
since the birth of his daughter...  I Just do not understand anyone that thinks they have evough gravitas to act in such a way..



     Beautiful mind

Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2012, 09:33:42 pm »
     That is different from making a truly racist remark, such as the one that African Americans are so injured by.

Non-white people use "cracker" or "redneck" as a slur for whites. That is racist. There is no difference between me sitting in a barbershop in the hood complaining about "crackers" with other black men, and a bunch of white men sitting in a barbershop complaining about "niggers." No difference at all.   
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2012, 12:37:18 am »
Non-white people use "cracker" or "redneck" as a slur for whites. That is racist. There is no difference between me sitting in a barbershop in the hood complaining about "crackers" with other black men, and a bunch of white men sitting in a barbershop complaining about "niggers." No difference at all.   

I disagree. Not as long as the white men in their barbershop have a much better chance of having jobs, wealth, security, etc., than the guys in the black barbershop. (Admittedly, the specific white guys in some certain specific barber shop may not. But white guys in general? Sure.) As long as there is a cultural power imbalance, the slurs do not carry equal sting, because the two sides do not have equal power to back the slurs up with violence and/or financial protection.

Let's take another comparison. If I'm a heterosexual walking past a gay bar late at night, and I hear someone yell out, "Breeder!" (not necessarily a likely scenario, but bear with me), how intimidated am I going to feel? Maybe somewhat, I guess. But will I really feel no less intimidated than a gay person would walking past a non-gay bar late at night and hearing someone yell out the f-word?

Or maybe you're saying the two scenarios are equivalent in a morality kind of way. In that case, I still disagree.



Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2012, 01:37:22 pm »
I disagree. Not as long as the white men in their barbershop have a much better chance of having jobs, wealth, security, etc., than the guys in the black barbershop. (Admittedly, the specific white guys in some certain specific barber shop may not. But white guys in general? Sure.) As long as there is a cultural power imbalance, the slurs do not carry equal sting, because the two sides do not have equal power to back the slurs up with violence and/or financial protection.

Let's take another comparison. If I'm a heterosexual walking past a gay bar late at night, and I hear someone yell out, "Breeder!" (not necessarily a likely scenario, but bear with me), how intimidated am I going to feel? Maybe somewhat, I guess. But will I really feel no less intimidated than a gay person would walking past a non-gay bar late at night and hearing someone yell out the f-word?

Or maybe you're saying the two scenarios are equivalent in a morality kind of way. In that case, I still disagree.

I say its racism in both barbershops because each group of men is expressing malice towards members of the other race because of the others' race. The power imbalance does nothing to make the words of the black men not racist.

As for the "sting" factor, that is going to vary from person to person. You might not be terribly offended by being called a "cracker," but another white person would.

I ran headlong into this back in 1986 when I was working in Bermuda. A few months into the run of the show I was doing down there, a talk-show host did a series of interviews with a handful of members of my cast. I was one of them. The host was a young, attractive black woman, and most of the employees at the radio station were also black. While she and I were in the studio prepping for the interview, I noticed a very handsome, young white man in the booth working with the black sound engineer. They were laughing about something, but I could not hear them through the glass. I asked the host, "So who's whitey?" Immediately, the white guy's head snapped in my direction, and as our eyes met, his whole face and body sort of slumped. Then he left the booth. Even though we weren't on air yet, the microphone in the studio was on, and I didn't know it. The host told me that the guy was an intern from the college.

I was so embarrassed by what I had done that I got the guy's name & number from the host. When I got back to my hotel later, I called him to apologize. His mom answered the phone, and explained that he was not at home. She asked who I was, and I told her my name and that I was in the Follies show. She laughed and said that she had been to see the show several times with various visitors, and that she enjoyed it. But she was curious about why I was calling. I sort of half-confessed, and told her that I was in the radio station for an interview, said something I shouldn't have, and needed to apologize to her son. She took my number and said she would give him the message. I never heard back from him, nor did I see him again for the remainder of my time on the island.

My point is that I clearly offended that young white man. And all it took was "whitey," which as negatively-charged words goes, carries only about 1 electron as far as society is concerned. But for that young man it was enough.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2012, 04:42:59 pm »
I say its racism in both barbershops because each group of men is expressing malice towards members of the other race because of the others' race. The power imbalance does nothing to make the words of the black men not racist.

Sure, if you take the two situations out of all other real-life contexts, the words are equivalently offensive. But when you add three real-life factors -- that black people are in the minority, that as a group they hold less power, and that historically they've been severely oppressed by people who openly used those very slurs against them (whereas a black man using slurs against a white person would be taking an enormous risk) -- they acquire different weights. Words are not heard out of context -- on the contrary, the contexts and history of words greatly affects their meaning and power.

If I called you a "moron" or an "idiot," you'd rightly be offended. If I used those words to describe contestants in the Special Olympics, most people would be horrified. Yet, in the early 20th century words like that were the "scientific" terms doctors used to describe people at various levels of developmental challenge.

Quote
As for the "sting" factor, that is going to vary from person to person. You might not be terribly offended by being called a "cracker," but another white person would.

Sure. I'm not saying no while person in the world would mind it in the least. I'm saying that overall those words do not have the power to hurt white people as a group to the extent that anti-black racial slurs do. Notice that people don't really call "cracker" the "c-word."

Quote
I ran headlong into this back in 1986 when I was working in Bermuda. A few months into the run of the show I was doing down there, a talk-show host did a series of interviews with a handful of members of my cast. I was one of them. The host was a young, attractive black woman, and most of the employees at the radio station were also black. While she and I were in the studio prepping for the interview, I noticed a very handsome, young white man in the booth working with the black sound engineer. They were laughing about something, but I could not hear them through the glass. I asked the host, "So who's whitey?" Immediately, the white guy's head snapped in my direction, and as our eyes met, his whole face and body sort of slumped. Then he left the booth. Even though we weren't on air yet, the microphone in the studio was on, and I didn't know it. The host told me that the guy was an intern from the college.

Well, this story could not be a more perfect illustration of what I'm saying. In this situation, the racial balances were reversed. Whitey was the only white guy around -- and living on an island that's 2/3 black and 1/3 white. Being a college-age intern and thus holding less power than the others gives him even more reason to feel threatened and offended by a remark from another black guy focusing on his race.

Also, it might be instructive to note that if you reverse all the races in that story, and the white guest spots a black guy and asks his white host "So who's blackey?" that guest might well get thrown himself off the show. At the very least, I would imagine that everyone who heard the remark would regard him with suspicion until he somehow showed himself not to be racist. (Getting the guy's number and calling him would probably go long way, though.)

Quote
My point is that I clearly offended that young white man. And all it took was "whitey," which as negatively-charged words goes, carries only about 1 electron as far as society is concerned. But for that young man it was enough.

Oh, sure. I didn't mean nobody would ever be offended. I'm talking, in general.


Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2012, 04:58:16 pm »
Sure, if you take the two situations out of all other real-life contexts, the words are equivalently offensive. But when you add three real-life factors -- that black people are in the minority, that as a group they hold less power, and that historically they've been severely oppressed by people who openly used those very slurs against them (whereas a black man using slurs against a white person would be taking an enormous risk) -- they acquire different weights.

So A is less offensive than B. Fine. But both A and B are still offensive (in this case racist). Different people will be offended by both A and B to varying degrees. To bring this back to the original topic, "dick" is less offensive than the "c-word," yet both are offensive, and different men and women will have varying reactions to them.

P.S. Oh, BTW, Bermuda is indeed only about 1/3 white. But keep in mind that they are still one of the last British Crown Colonies. That means that England is actually in charge. So my handsome, young, white victim was part of the power class. In the situation, maybe not. But in general, certainly. And black Bermudians were all to happy to remind me not to be fooled by all the black faces I saw. They knew who called the shots.
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2012, 08:53:08 pm »
Non-white people use "cracker" or "redneck" as a slur for whites. That is racist. There is no difference between me sitting in a barbershop in the hood complaining about "crackers" with other black men, and a bunch of white men sitting in a barbershop complaining about "niggers." No difference at all.   


   My point was, which you obviously did not get.  I don't know of anyone of the white people I know.  Are either very upset, or very insulted by that name calling.  Redneck is a name that many who are called that.  Are proud to envelope.  Same with calling someone a "Cracker."
It would make me laugh, more than be angry.  I think it shows the ignorance of the one using the word.  More than it being a hurt to the one being called that.  I would only shake my head and laugh.  Realizing how stupid and hopeful an insult that they were throwing.  An how it had held no reaction that they were hoping for.  Earning them a laugh, rather than a epithet returned.  Or worse, to start acting injured.  While laughing..."Oh oh no, not that.  please don't call me that."   meanwhile laughing.



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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2012, 08:01:16 am »
So A is less offensive than B. Fine. But both A and B are still offensive (in this case racist). Different people will be offended by both A and B to varying degrees. To bring this back to the original topic, "dick" is less offensive than the "c-word," yet both are offensive, and different men and women will have varying reactions to them.

Agreed.

Quote
P.S. Oh, BTW, Bermuda is indeed only about 1/3 white. But keep in mind that they are still one of the last British Crown Colonies. That means that England is actually in charge. So my handsome, young, white victim was part of the power class. In the situation, maybe not. But in general, certainly. And black Bermudians were all to happy to remind me not to be fooled by all the black faces I saw. They knew who called the shots.

Agreed here, too. But that's little comfort to your "whitey."




Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2012, 08:07:18 am »
Agreed here, too. But that's little comfort to your "whitey."

I know. It was one of those moments where you just look in the mirror and say "idiot."
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2012, 09:24:33 am »
I know. It was one of those moments where you just look in the mirror and say "idiot."

We all have them.  :-\

"Open mouth. Insert foot. Bite down hard. ..."
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Offline delalluvia

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2012, 01:16:18 pm »
Good discussion.

I agree that many people who ARE 'rednecks' don't consider being called one a put-down.  Many are proud to be rednecks.

I heard a man once - who considers himself redneck call another man an extreme redneck by calling him "ghetto redneck".  Which just goes to show how words used specifically become more generalized for use, like 'bitch'.

I agree that 'breeder' isn't an insult to many straight people.  If someone called me that I'd probably just blink and think, "Well, in context, yes I am."

I think, in many areas, the word 'bitch' has not so much been 'reclaimed' as been overused and thus its impact lessened.  My close friends and I were calling each other bitches jokingly years before it became popular to do so.  We noted that outside our very tight group, other women were offended when we called them that.  In the years since, it's come to have a myriad of meanings, but mostly I only use it in the context of referring to a mean person - male or female.

Most of our insults are gender based and sexual and mostly geared toward being someone on the receiving end of being fucked (hence women and men who like being penetrated).  So you can see who dominates the insult development.

Hence, why asshole, pussy, 'being someone's bitch', c--t and whore are worse insults than being a prick, dick or ball-breaking bitch.  
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 02:46:41 pm by delalluvia »

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2012, 02:31:29 pm »
Most of our insults are gender based and sexual and mostly geared toward being someone on the receiving end of being fucked (hence women and men who like being penetrated).  So you can see who dominates the insult development.

Hence, why asshole, pussy, 'being someone's bitch', c--t and whore are worse insults than being a prick, dick or ball-breaking bitch.   

Excellent point. It even gets as basic as "fuck you" and "go fuck yourself." The imply that being fucked is bad, whereas presumably fucking someone else would be OK.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2012, 02:47:16 pm »
Excellent point. It even gets as basic as "fuck you" and "go fuck yourself." The imply that being fucked is bad, whereas presumably fucking someone else would be OK.

Exactly.

And being told to 'stick that up your ass", "Up yours".

Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2012, 07:45:32 pm »
Exactly.

And being told to 'stick that up your ass", "Up yours".

  Hence all such words, are ultimately basically homophobic in derivation...  not wishing to be penetrated, at all!  Therefor, can I then
make the logical conclusion, they are saying in essence, stay celebate?     :-\
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 11:21:26 pm by ifyoucantfixit »



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Offline delalluvia

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #49 on: April 28, 2012, 09:48:09 pm »
 Hence all such words, are ultimately basically homophobic in derivation...  not wishing to be penetrated, at all!  Therefor, can I then
make the logiical conclusion, they are saying in essence, stay celebate?     :-\

Or misogynistic.

Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2012, 07:42:15 am »
Actually, when "fuck" is hurled around, the implication is that the penetration is non-consensual. Except in the case of "go fuck yourself'," which carries masturbatory overtones. So the slur is neither homophobic, nor misogynist specifically. 
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #51 on: April 29, 2012, 08:39:19 pm »



    Why so?  I don't necessarily remember hearing that fucking is to be non-consentual...   Most of the time, fortunately, I believe it is consentual..  It is a noun, not an adjective.



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Offline milomorris

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2012, 12:26:16 am »
    Why so?  I don't necessarily remember hearing that fucking is to be non-consentual...   Most of the time, fortunately, I believe it is consentual..  It is a noun, not an adjective.

I thought we were talking about using the word as curse/swear.
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Offline bentgyro

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2012, 03:24:52 pm »
Most of my customers are rednecks and f**k is used alot.....verb, adjective, adverb, noun, etc.  Without that word
some of them would be almost voiceless.
At work, I'm the old bitch...yes, I am old and I have my moments but my customers do respect me.
They know not to f**k with the old bitch. :laugh: :laugh:


Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2012, 03:55:13 pm »
Most of my customers are rednecks and f**k is used alot.....verb, adjective, adverb, noun, etc.  Without that word
some of them would be almost voiceless.
At work, I'm the old bitch...yes, I am old and I have my moments but my customers do respect me.
They know not to f**k with the old bitch. :laugh: :laugh:

 :laugh:  :laugh:
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Marge_Innavera

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #55 on: May 19, 2012, 02:35:18 pm »
I think, in many areas, the word 'bitch' has not so much been 'reclaimed' as been overused and thus its impact lessened.  My close friends and I were calling each other bitches jokingly years before it became popular to do so.  We noted that outside our very tight group, other women were offended when we called them that.  In the years since, it's come to have a myriad of meanings, but mostly I only use it in the context of referring to a mean person - male or female.

Yes, it's come to have many meanings.  Here's my take on one aspect of it:

Kathy Bates, in the movie adaptation of Steven King's Dolores Claiborne, confides to her employer Vera (Judy Parfitt) that her husband is molesting her daughter and stolen Dolores' savings to keep her from leaving and getting her daughter out of harm's way.  In the next scene Vera advises her to cultivate some bitchery in order to cope with an "oppressively masculine world."  Being a bitch, she tells her, is "sometimes all a woman has to hang onto."

Of course, this was the character who tells her that "an accident can be an unhappy wife's best friend," but there's some wisdom in it. I've known women who let life run over them like a bulldozer because they couldn't let go of the sacred dictum to 'be nice.'

In all honesty, I can't claim to be one of the forum members who doesn't curse much, though I'm careful about the setting.  When I'm volunteering in the kitchen of our local Senior Center, no one has yet heard me say that "this f**king dough won't rise."    ;)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww69vIhVIOs

Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #56 on: May 19, 2012, 04:14:27 pm »

   Well join the club Marge.  I too am guilty of the foul mouth in many instances.  I don't use it constantly, but my husband has been
known to call me a sailor.  Haha.   I do use colorful language whenever I am with family and some friends.  I don't do it in places, where
I do not think it proper.  I have to say however.  I would not trust a person, who never uttered a curse word.  I think they
would probably not be an honest or forthright person, or maybe one who was too uptight, to be truthful.



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Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #57 on: May 19, 2012, 08:42:01 pm »
In all honesty, I can't claim to be one of the forum members who doesn't curse much, though I'm careful about the setting.  When I'm volunteering in the kitchen of our local Senior Center, no one has yet heard me say that "this f**king dough won't rise."    ;)

Because you always use enough yeast?  ;D


No, I'm with you. Swearing is fine, but swearing in front of people who are offended by it is just plain uncivil.

I once went to a movie with a couple of friends. Afterward in the lobby, we ran into an acquaintance who was there with her elderly mother. The younger women agreed that we all liked the movie, but the mother said "If only there wasn't so much swearing!" The younger women all looked at each other and said, "What swearing?"

I've always sworn occasionally -- not casually, but when I'm really mad -- in front of my kids (not AT them, but in their hearing), which I know is a huge taboo. Now that my older one swears in pretty much every sentence and my younger one curses when he's angry, I don't feel as bad about it. And no, they are not modeling my behavior (if only they would ever do that, my life would be a million times easier), though I suppose they know my ability to handle a bit of profanity makes them more likely to use it.



 

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #58 on: May 19, 2012, 09:49:57 pm »
I'm sure I've told this story before, but when I was a very small boy, my mother caught me saying, "What the hell?" very loudly. She promptly gave me one heck  ;D of a spanking, and after that, "four-letter-words" did not cross my lips until I was in college!  :laugh:

And my father, bless him, contributed to setting a good example for me. I noticed that he started saying "Shit!" when something exasperated him only after he had heard me saying it. So I guess I was a bad influence on my old man!  :laugh:
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #59 on: May 19, 2012, 11:30:49 pm »
And my father, bless him, contributed to setting a good example for me. I noticed that he started saying "Shit!" when something exasperated him only after he had heard me saying it. So I guess I was a bad influence on my old man!  :laugh:

He probably figured the cow was out of the barn at that point.

I literally never heard my parents say anything stronger than "damn" -- and even that VERY rarely. And they weren't at all religious or even particularly straight-arrow people-- they were more martini-drinking, early '60s advertising-industry, Cheever/Mad Men types. They let me watch, read, and toward the end even pretty much do, whatever I liked. But they didn't swear. When I first heard swear words, i thought they were something only kids said and that adults hadn't heard of them.




Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #60 on: May 20, 2012, 04:59:59 pm »
When I first heard swear words, I thought they were something only kids said and that adults hadn't heard of them.

 :laugh:
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #61 on: September 20, 2012, 01:15:07 pm »
Re our discussion of genderizing body-part insults, here's an excerpt from a Slate interview about the book Ascent of the A-word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years, by Goeffrey Nunberg. The whole interview is worth reading for those interested in the origins and useage of profanities, vulgarisms and obscenities (including how these terms are distinct from one another).

http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2012/09/the_rise_of_the_asshole_lexicon_valley_talks_with_linguist_geoffrey_nunberg_.html

BOB: So let's talk about the war of the sexes. It seems that asshole is pretty much mainly the province of men, as an epithet and maybe as a set of behaviors. You just don't hear many women being called assholes. But you do get to hear a lot of men being called assholes, mainly by women for the way they've treated women.

NUNBERG: You rarely, almost never, hear a woman being described as an asshole for doing to a man what a man would be called an asshole for doing to a woman. So, I think that there are lots of cases where we ought to call women assholes in the name of gender equity, where we don't. We call them bitch. But why should we use a word that's gender specific for this particular kind of behavior? I mean, it isn't as if this suddenly flows from some basic, primitive female malignity. It's because she's got a swollen sense of entitlement just like the guy does. And if we had any sense of gender equity, we'd call her an asshole, too.

BOB: So what's going on there?

NUNBERG: Well, I think there's a kind of sexism that reads the kind of aggressive or arrogant behavior that we call assholism in men as having a different source. When a woman does it, when a woman is aggressive or arrogant in that way it has to do with some particularly female drive or something, that really isn't the case. I mean that's just not how it works.

BOB: So, to paraphrase Sissy Farenthold, we will know when women have achieved some measure of gender equity when asshole women can be called assholes right alongside asshole men.

NUNBERG: You betcha. Look, if Eddie Fisher's an asshole for leaving Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, then what is Elizabeth Taylor when she leaves Eddie Fisher for Richard Burton?

BOB: Fuckin' bitch!

NUNBERG: [laughing] There you are.



Offline brokeplex

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #62 on: September 22, 2012, 02:19:08 pm »
the culture has been increasingly vulgarized decade after decade, words are used in public now that no one in "polite society" would have used 50 years ago. I guess that is progress, at least we are less inhibited about some things.

but then......... there is also political correctness balancing that out with new inhibitions and restrictions. the more things change the more they stay the same.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #63 on: September 22, 2012, 10:06:50 pm »
the culture has been increasingly vulgarized decade after decade, words are used in public now that no one in "polite society" would have used 50 years ago. I guess that is progress, at least we are less inhibited about some things.

but then......... there is also political correctness balancing that out with new inhibitions and restrictions. the more things change the more they stay the same.

Sure seems that way some times, doesn't it?
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What does "bitch" mean now?
« Reply #64 on: September 24, 2012, 12:59:49 am »
the culture has been increasingly vulgarized decade after decade, words are used in public now that no one in "polite society" would have used 50 years ago. I guess that is progress, at least we are less inhibited about some things.

but then......... there is also political correctness balancing that out with new inhibitions and restrictions. the more things change the more they stay the same.

Exactly right. I think it's that what was offensive in an earlier era isn't in ours, but vise versa. And so on, into eternity. No need to even label them a matter of "vulgarities," "polite society" or "political correctness." Swear words that would have been horrifying 50 years ago hardly raise an eyebrow today, and racial slur just the opposite. In another 50 years, it will be a whole different set of variables, but still probably the same situation: one thing is OK now, the other newly appalling.