Following their symbolic citywide ban of the “n-word” earlier this year, some New York City council members now hope to remove the b-word–“bitch”–and “ho” from New Yorkers’ vocabularies. Supporters of the measure say that the words are derogatory and sexist and that, although unenforceable, the proposed ban could curb the use of them. Some journalists are weighing in, saying that “bitch” has evolved into something more than just a pejorative, and say the proposal is ridiculous.
According to an article in the New York Times, “bitch” can be an essential part of everyday vernacular, expressing endearment, approval or irony as well as annoyance, depending on context. “Half of my vocabulary would be gone,” Michael Musto, a Village Voice columnist, told the New York Times. “On the downtown club scene… we divest any negative implication from the word and toss it around with love.” “Bitch” has even made its way into the feminist community ‘ it is the name of a popular feminist magazine.
But the 19 (of 51) council members who support the measure say that “bitch” and “ho” are more insidious than harmless. “They buried the n-word, but what about the other words that really affect women, such as ‘b,’ and ‘ho?'” City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy told The Times. “That’s a vile attack on our womanhood.”
Citing 10 hip-hop artists who use the terms — including Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly and Eminem — the resolution was designed in part to combat the words’ usage in music lyrics, according to a Daily News report. It has been sent to the Council’s Civil Rights Committee for consideration.