B-word. Endearing or offensive?


Ronel Ghidey

A few weeks ago, when I was walking down the hallway with a classmate, I saw a female friend of mine and decided to tell her she was my ‘b—-.’ Later that day, the same friend told me she had heard what I had called her and said she didn’t like when that word was used to reference her even though she knew I meant it in an endearing way.
This situation had me think of all the times people have called females the b-word and thought nothing of it because of the way it was being used, from friends telling each other ‘you’re my b—-’ to others jokingly calling their friends b—-.
So, I decided to ask some of my female friends what they thought about being called a derogatory word in an endearing way.
Most agreed that they didn’t mind being called by the moniker a b—- as long as it was in a positive way and that they take the word in its context, not its history.
Some other female friends said they didn’t like being called the b-word by me and other men but were comfortable if it came from other females.
Another word that has similar properties is N-word. It’s similar because, between black people it can be an endearing word, but if a caucasian called a person of color that word, no matter the way he mean it, it would come off as disrespectful.
All words with properties that vary are complicated. The reactions of females being called a b—- can vary, some agreeing that if said endearingly, the meaning changes. Others say that no matter the context, it’ll be a derogatory term.
The word’s usage has changed greatly over time, from the actual definition being female dog and being a derogatory term for women, used by men, to it being used to describe something different.
I believe the way you use the word has much more meaning than who says it, or the history of the word itself.
Rhonda Rousy is the Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight titleholder who created a t-shirt that says “Don’t be a DNB”– a do nothing b—-. She created this shirt to inspire females to take charge in their lives.
Of course, if someone says she doesn’t like being called by the term, then you shouldn’t use it, but that goes for all words that are used to describe people.
The history with of a word shouldn’t get in the way of being able to use it, or continue to be used only as it was meant. Those who presently live in a society should decide how a word is used.