Tag Archives: gender equality

Is it okay for a black man to use “bitch” and “pussy” in his rap?

My short answer is “no”. If your answer is a firm no, you might not need to read this article.

I recently volunteered for a week long festival where black artists and artists of color were invited to perform. I was happy, surrounded by people of color and making a contribution in forming community and increasing visibility of POC. On the night of spoken word and poetry, I was struck when I heard a black man rapper using these words: bitch and pussy. It was very clear that he was using them to insult the characters in his story. At that moment, I felt the fragility of supporting one marginalised group when it fails to support the other marginalised groups. As I mentioned in my previous article, [Call it like it is] TERF? TPHP., intersectionality is real and essential. We are in this fight for justice together, and we cannot achieve justice by throwing another marginalised group under the bus.

By no mean, I am not against slurs. I believe slurs are natural expression of human emotions. However, slurs like “bitch” and “pussy” are problematic because they are often misogynic. Contexts determine their meanings, and they can be used by women in an empowering way as Caitie Karasik explained in The Stanford Daily:

A woman saying she is a “bad bitch” is not the same as a man calling a woman “his bitch.” The first can be a term of endearment, the other of possession steeped in a history of oppression. A man telling a man not to be a “bitch” means something entirely different from a woman telling another woman not to be a “bitch.” For one thing, the former suggests women lack value, and the latter suggests that women can only behave in certain ways. For another, men simply lack unfettered access to “bitch,” “pussy,” “cunt,” or “slut” because these words were intended by males to insult what’s female, or restrict women’s freedom of thought and behavior.

For I myself is a woman and is critical of oppression on women, I could not enjoy or appreciate the artist work any longer. The rapper looked young, so I just made a wish that he will learn, grow, and become a more socially-conscious rapper in the future. I rarely listen to rap, but I know this rapper is not the first man who used misogynic slurs in his work. There is research on who tops in that area.

So here is my long answer to the initial question of whether he can use “bitch” and “pussy”: Noooooooooooooo.