Want a quick way to really touch a woman’s nerve and make her see red? Tell her that her shoes look cheap and call her a “hoe”. At least that’s what shows like Bad Girls Club and Basketball Wives would lead you to believe when these terms are often thrown around as much as martinis. Search any message board for tags associated with Rihanna and Kim Kardashian and I’ll give you my first-born if you come across the word “hoe” less than five times. It really started to make me think, what’s in a name? Why do women feel like their primary weapon of choice in a girl fight is to scorn your enemy’s sexual behavior and fashion choices? And while we’re on the subject, what exactly makes a woman a “hoe”?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a writer is that words can be as powerful or as weak as you make them. For example, while women of past generations would be offended by being referred to as a “itchbay” or the god-forbidden N-word, with time many have come to accept these words as terms of endearment and defend the casual use of words like these by saying that when the people who these terms were initially meant to offend then take those words and manipulate their definitions, the words are then stripped of their power. Nonetheless, there are people who stand on both sides of the debate and will most likely never come to a compromise. To be honest, I am not even sure which side I stand on, but as a writer I’m uncomfortable with the idea of making language ineffective and stripping words of their power.