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Kanye Leads Introspective Twitter Debate (With Himself) Re: the Word 'Bitch'

Illustration for article titled Kanye Leads Introspective Twitter Debate (With Himself) Re: the Word Bitch

Last night, Kanye West asked his Twitter followers if they thought it was ever okay to use the word "bitch." (Well, by "ask" we mean he tweeted incessantly for quite some time, as he is known to do.) "I usually never tweet questions but I struggle with this so here goes...is the word BITCH acceptable?" Kanye posited. "To be more specific, is it acceptable for a man to call a woman a bitch even if it's endearing? Even typing it in question form it's still feels harsh?"

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Illustration for article titled Kanye Leads Introspective Twitter Debate (With Himself) Re: the Word Bitch

Kanye said his tweets were inspired by criticism of his use of the word in his music, which (unsurprisingly) initially offended him. (Maybe he was also inspired by Lupe Fiasco?) But now he's wondering: has hip hop conditioned us to love the word "bitch"? Is it okay to use if we modify it? Like, what if "we put BAD in front of it? Like you a BAD BITCH." Eventually, Ye concluded that "bitch," along with n***a, "are now either positive or negative. They are just potent and it depends on how the are used and by whom?"

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The rousing discussion (with himself) also included the disclaimer "please excuse any and all of my grammatical errors" and the hashtag #thewordbitch. [Bossip]

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  • Even Russell Crowe needs a helping hand sometimes: the star got stranded when he was kayaking off New York's Long island this past weekend and a coast guard had to intervene. "He just needed a little bit of help, he just got a little lost," the official said. "It wasn't really a rescue, really, more of just giving someone a lift." How much did Crowe pay him to say that to save his rep? [Digital Spy]
  • Bruce Willis is considering taking Apple to court after realizing his daughters won't be able to officially inherit his massive iTunes collection after his death. My first reaction to this was: "Get over it/can't they just use your password?" But it is pretty fucked that, according to Apple's terms and conditions, we don't legally own the music we buy and you can't pass on your collection after you die. Think of Tallulah! She has needs! [Digital Spy]
  • John Mayer is banned from singing for six months because he's so annoying he just underwent throat surgery last week. But don't worry, he will be blogging: "I'll try and post more on here, but I've gotten really good at keeping my thoughts to myself and I don't exactly see anybody starving for my take on things," he (somewhat passive aggressively?) wrote on his blog. "But it might be fun to offer some kind of window into this very odd and slightly beautiful time..." Uh oh. [Contact Music]

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DISCUSSION

SweetCaroline12
SweetCaroline12

I feel like I'm up in here defending Kanye like once a week. I almost can't stand when anyone here writes about him, with the exception of Dodai (and no, not because she's black, but it seems like she actually, you know, listens to his music while it would seem none of the other writers do).

First of all, if you don't follow Kanye and this is the first you're hearing about what he tweeted, please be aware that the above is both misquoted and taken out of context. He actually tweeted 19 different tweets, and the quote was not a "conclusion", considering the fact it was the 8th out of the 19. And this is what it actually says:

"Perhaps the words BITCH and NIGGA are now neither positive or negative. They are just potent and it depends on how the are used and by whom?"

The missing "n" is important, as far as I'm concerned. I think he's raised some interesting questions. As women, many of us have attempted to "reclaim" the word bitch. If we are attempting to use it in a positive way, what is stopping Kanye from doing the same thing? Why is that not ok? I actually really agree with what he's saying. I don't think those words are inherently positive or negative anymore, but it depends on the context.

Ok, here's the controversial part of my comment and I'd appreciate it if people actually thought about what I'm trying to say before giving me some all-caps tirade about how I don't get to determine what's offensive and blah blah blah. That's not what I'm saying:

Personally, I don't use the word nigga, unless I'm rapping along to a song, and then only when I'm alone. I have black family members and friends who honestly wouldn't give a fuck if I said it. I grew up in a poor community where about 60% of the population was black or Hispanic. I heard the word about 25 times a day from people of several different ethnic backgrounds, including white people. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna go around saying it, because it's not right for me to. Because I don't fit into the context. Where I'm from, it's not a word that is based around race, but more around class and culture. Since I was and still am a middle-class white girl, it's not my word.

As far as I'm concerned, the word bitch should become something similar. A word that I can use to mean "tough ass woman", and if men want to use it, fine. But it has to be the right context, and come from the right people. I think this might be what Kanye was getting at. A word can have several definitions, and the way the word is used is the ultimate determination of that.