Understanding the Etymology Behind the Term “Bitch”, Essay Example

The term ‘bitch’ specifically intended to point out to female dogs. Relatively, such condition of description is often connected to how female dogs behave especially when it comes to dealing with their mates. This is the reason why later on the same term has been used to define women, who apparently show particular behavior of dogs; most often than not such matter relate to how they deal with their male mates. Women who are noted to bring about a sense of ‘playing’ with their men are noted to be ‘sluts’ and/or ‘bitches’; this particular idealism behind the said term has been the reason why it has been used especially to feed the elements that make up popular culture like music. Relatively, exploring the status and meaning of the term ‘bitch’ in consideration with either empowering or degrading to women has been a source of discussion all throughout the academe. Such understanding over this popularized term is expected to create a distinctive impact on how women are seen and how women specifically behave in the society.

The original use of the term ‘bitch’ is specifically noted down from the fourteenth century. Back then, it represents a woman who is aggressive enough like that of the attitude of a dog that is ready to mate. It is an innate nature among female dogs to act aggressively towards men when they are undergoing the mating season. Relatively, it is their instinct to attract the male dogs to be able to respond to the need or the urge to reproduce. On the other hand, the same thing is true with women ranging from the ages 18 to 32 and sometimes even over this particular age limit. During this point of adolescence (Ezzel, et al, 2009),  women [not everyone though] tend to become aggressive enough to attract males for the sake of establishing casual connections or relationships.

Because of the point of liberalization, the women’s handling of themselves became rather more distinct of what they want and not what the society suggests. Women found it easier to be more expressive, even when it comes to defining themselves according to their sexual desires (Pitts, 2007). This attitude of the female population became evidently obvious through the years, that it has become a very important aspect of topics that are used as themes in several forms of popular art like music. In a way, popular music like rap music specifically utilize the term ‘bitch’ to define women according to how they personally see the said members of the society.

Black American music specifically points out the distinction of women at the prime of their lives in relation to how they behave and handle their increasing sexual desires. Most of the time, the lyrics of musical arrangements involving the use of the term ‘bitch’ accompany words that define profanity about women. Male rappers, in particular, often define that somehow, aggressive women [‘bitches per se’] are more attractive to men (Hughes, 2006), as if encouraging women to be more sexually expressive specially of they want to get the attention of the men who they want to ‘sleep with’. Apparently, being free from the sanctions of social morality allows women to express themselves fully thus making them more desirable to men who are looking for casual sexual encounters only.

Some rap songs like that of Eminem’s The Warning specifically point out the disgusting point on how some women called bitches specifically denote the attitude of female dogs which defines the willingness of the individuals to undergo uncommitted relationships specifically dependent on sexual desires and connections. In relation to this, his song notes:

I’m obsessed now

Oh gee, is that supposed to be me

In the video with the goatee?

Wow Mariah, didn’t expect you to go balls out

Bitch, shut the fuck up before I put all them phone calls out

(Source: metrolyrics.com http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-warning-lyrics-eminem.html)

On the other end, there are instances when the same term is used to empower womanhood. Most often than not, women rappers like Nikki MInaj utilize the term ‘bitch’ to define what a woman is about and how a woman who is aggressive enough handles herself. In her song the Baddest Bitch she notes:

Batter up bitches, but approach with caution.

You be talkin slick, and honestly I can see why,

…I came out stuntin, I’m such a big spender….

(source: azlyrics.com http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nickiminaj/baddestbitch.html)

Following the lines in this song, it could be realized how the singer tries to articulately define an aggressive woman, a liberal individual who wants to live life to the fullest, just the way she wants it (Wurtzel, 2011). It implies how she cannot be stopped and that her aggressiveness would actually have a great impact on who she would become and she would make sure that she comes out to be the person she wants to be.

Overall, the condition of the use of the term ‘bitch’ is dependent on what the one using it wants to refer to especially when it comes to how he or she sees women in general in relation to how they handle their desires and their goals in life. If a person uses it to instill a sense of insult on a woman, it probably defines the sexual behavior of that individual especially in relation to issues of commitment and loyalty.  Relatively, the term “bitch” specifically makes a definite impact on what women become at present especially that it is used to define the female population through popular art. It is then expected that in the future, the said term would make a larger impact on how women are understood and accepted in the society as individuals and as persons who are willing through everything to make a distinction on how they are accepted and recognized by the society today and even through the future.


Hughes, Geoffrey. Encyclopedia of Swearing : The Social History of Oaths, Profanity, Foul Language, and Ethnic Slurs in the English-Speaking World. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2006.

Ezzell, M.B. Kleinman, S and Frost, C.  (2009). Reclaiming Critical Analysis: The Social Harms of “Bitch”. http://www.jmu.edu/socanth/sociology/wm_library/Ezzell.Reclaiming_Critical_Analysis.pdf. (Retrieved on September 27, 2013).

Pitts, L. (2007). Why Women Who Succeed Are Called Bitch. Miami Herald.

Wurtzel, E. (2011). Bitch: In praise of difficult women. Miami Herald.