Power in Language: B*tches, Sluts and Divas, Oh My
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Power in Language: B*tches, Sluts and Divas, Oh My

We have the ability to define our labels.

11
Power in Language: B*tches, Sluts and Divas, Oh My
Shinji Yasui/123rf Stock Photo

Generation Y has become completely desensitized to swear words. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I could hardly lie to you and pretend that the F word doesn't spill out of my mouth whenever I'm remotely annoyed. However, there are a few words that have simply become overused, misunderstood, and misrepresented.

Words are incredibly powerful. I learned that ages ago from a pretty smart woman.

JK Rowling: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

Now if the expertise of a brilliant author doesn't convince you that my claim is an irrefutable truth, perhaps the following scenarios will help.

When I first met Olivia*, I immediately saw that she was intelligent, incredibly motivated, a little controlling, and unparalleled in her work ethic. I found out later that I was one of few to see those as her identifying characteristics. See most people just thought she was a bitch.

bitch |biCH|
noun

1. a female dog, wolf, fox, or otter.
2. a spiteful or unpleasant woman.
3. a person who is completely subservient to another: he will always be her bitch.

I looked it up. She's actually not a bitch. First, she's a human. Second, she's hilarious and quite pleasant. Third, she's incredibly independent, subservient to no one. In fact, if she were a man, they would have called her confident, strong and leader. Of course, her reputation was tarnished because someone forgot that women are allowed to be in charge.

*name changed for confidentiality

***

Overheard in a department store: a girl trying on shoes was surrounded by boxes of discarded heels. "I don't like these ones either, can I try something different?" she asked politely of the salesman. Her boyfriend, under his breath, muttered impatiently, "ugh, you're such a diva."

diva |ˈdēvə|
noun

1. a famous female opera singer
2. a famous female singer of popular music: a pop diva.

ORIGIN late 19th cent.: via Italian from Latin, literally ‘goddess.’

By this definition, only Beyoncé is to be called a diva from here on out. We use the word diva nowadays to describe women who are temperamental, difficult to please, and haughty. How exactly did we take a word for a celebrated singer and turn it into an insult? Simple, somewhere along the line, the word was appropriated.

appropriate |əˈprōprē-it|
verb

the action of taking something for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission

This happens all the time. Start browsing Urban Dictionary and compare some of the things you find to Merriam Webster's definition. We're not going to keep words from changing meaning. It's a linguistic phenomenon inevitable in the evolution of language, but what if we could guide the transformations with more positive adaptions?

***

I walked a ways ahead of my best friend on a crowded sidewalk. She called out "hey slut, come here a sec," so I trotted back to her, knowing that the address was a somewhat twisted term of endearment and far from an insult. But the look on another friend's face made me stop. I saw him question the situation, surprised that I had so readily responded to the derogatory name. While I knew that I had responded to her voice rather than the name, he didn't. One joke and bam! My new identifier was promiscuous girl.

slut |slət|
noun

a woman who has many casual sexual partners.

The word is used too often in the wrong context. It has become an easy way to degrade someone that doesn't live by your personal credo. A girl's dress is too tight. She's a slut. A girl smiles at your boyfriend. She's a slut.

What if we appropriate the nasty word? What if by definition, a slut is someone who has this radical notion that sex is enjoyable and therefore chooses to pursue it. Then the clothes a person wears would have no bearing on whether or not she's slutty. People could be friendly and smile without being accused of seducing anyone.

Remember when you were younger and your mom told you, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" Now that you're older, don't just say nothing at all. Actively attempt to say something positive or kind. Slut shaming ends and feminism triumphs when we collectively agree to fight for one another. Words are powerful so decide now whether you're ready to use them to inflict damage or remedy it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1844
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

303943
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

190567
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

92732
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

286102

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

172244

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

114736
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Take A Look At The Extravagant Lane Woods Jewelry Collection For Valentine's Gift Ideas

So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection

335093

Just like diamonds are a girl's best friend, so are pearls, rubies, gold, emeralds, and any type of luxurious jewelry you can get your hands on! A woman is incomplete without a piece of jewelry on her and it is a gorgeous accessory required for all occasions. So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments