Coffee Rhetoric: Salope

August 08, 2007

Salope

The New York City Council is trying to flex its legislative muscle by attempting to get a bill passed, that would put a city wide ban on the poetic words: Bitch and Ho' in hopes of discouraging entertainers and young people from using them. Oh the horror! Councilwoman, Darlene Mealy voiced her disdain for the words, calling them "hateful and deeply sexist," and says they create "a paradigm of shame and indignity." While I agree with and admire Ms. Mealy's stance against those words how, exactly, does one eradicate the use of bitch? Particularly within a metropolitan structure as massive as New York City, where the word is as endearing as it is hateful? Bitch is commonplace in the fashion industry. It's used in New York's most famed and widely read gossip columns. It's uttered on the lips of fashionistas, socialites, gays, and hags alike. I use the word semi-regularly myself. How do you force a large body of urbanites to not use the word without stomping all over their constitutional and goddess given right to do so? I say you can't. Given the climate of the culture we live in, it's unrealistic to expect anyone, New Yorkers especially, to delete the word from their vocabulary. What the hell are drag queens and trannies supposed to use if not bitch?? Ms. Mealy's frame of thinking dictates that her argument will carry symbolic power against the derisive uses of bitch and ho.' In a statement to the New York Times, Village Voice columnist and media/popculture gadfly, Michael Musto opined:
"Half my conversation would be gone. On the downtown club scene the two terms are also used as terms of endearment. We divest any negative implication from the word and toss it around with love."
Another naysayer to Mealy's stance argued,
"Hell, if I can't say bitch, I wouldn't be able to call half my friends."
Still, Mealy says that Bitch and ho' are "vile attacks against our womanhood." Look, I don't agree with every expletive nor do I entirely condone the use of many, but as someone who uses colorful language quite often, If I were a New Yorker, I'd probably be a little resentful of Ms. Mealy's suggestion to ban my right to say Bitch and ho. In light of our current White House administration's dictatorial tactics and conservatives mouthing off about what a woman should and shouldn't do with her body, the last thing people want are even more bullying measures, that intercept personal rights and freedom of speech. I sense a need to bring this country back to its puritanical roots, and that is called regression. And I don't like it. Do I want to be referred to as a bitch or a ho'? No. But I don't take it as an affront to my own personal womanhood if I hear someone utter the words in a rap song or on the street. You can't force people, adults to delete certain bad-words from their arsenal of expletives. In fact, if the bill passed it would only heighten the appeal and usage of such and possibly do more harm than good! Determining when bitch is appropriate: commentating at dog shows and in describing female dogs, and when it's not: to chide a dumb ass or to playfully tease a friend or your favorite gay, can be tricky. We do have to take responsibility for our conduct and how we interact with one another but, forcing people in a country that is supposed to have substantial amounts of freedom, is a bit much. Enforcing change in vernacular via authority is a fluke and it doesn't really solve the problem. Why not exert the energy to combat poverty, homelessness, and crime. All three of those sad realities are indeed a bitch and should be tackled head-on.