As I’ve stated elsewhere, or somewhere on the interweb, the more I hear, read, or find women using the term “bitch” the more I feel the need to either regulate my usage of the term “nigga”, or to remove it completely out of my verbal circulation. Although many of the posts on this site can be regarded as academic or erudite, their inception usually demands an anecdote. I was in a conversation the other day with a sister that I respect highly. The discussion referenced a phrase that has become a sort of proverb in the black community. The phrase is, “You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife.” It always strikes me when women, especially women that I consider highly intelligent and strong, utilize and subscribe to patriarchal notions. In this particular instance, two notions of male rulership and designations of the woman’s “place” within that structure. The phrase might have slipped under the left radar had it been used in a different context, however, because this beautiful black goddess used this phrase in reference to herself, it struck a chord.
“In Renaissance Europe, coutiers played an extremely important role in upper-class society. It was customary for royal couple to lead separate lives — marrying simply to preserve bloodlines and to secure political alliances– men and women would often seek gratification and companionship from people living at court. In fact, the verb “to court” originally meant “to be or reside at court”, and later came to mean “to behave as a courtier” and then “to pay amorous attention to somebody”. The most intimate companion of a ruler was called the favourite.
‘Prostitution and the sex discrepancy in reported number of sexual partners'(Brewer, 2000) goes on to estimate a mean number of 868 male sexual partners per prostitute per year of active sex work…
In some cultures, prostitutes were the sole women allowed to sing in public or act in theatrical performances.”
“Whore means prostitute. And a prostitute is a woman who offers to hire her body for indiscriminate sexual intercourse, or so says The Concise Oxford Dictionary. Prostitute is further defined as a verb: to prostitute oneself is to sell one’s honor for base gain or to put one’s abilities to infamous use. Other dictionaries include men secondarily in the noun definition and specify in the verb definition the shame attached to dishonor and the unworthiness and wrongdoing attached to infamous use. The noun clearly denotes a person, especially a woman, offering heterosexual sex, in particular intercourse, for money; the verb denotes any person’s activity, which need not be sexual, put to uncommendable use. Those meanings are likely to conform to popular opinion except that many people collapse the second definition into the first. A prostitute then becomes one who sells her honor by offering to hire her body for base gain or for an unworthy doing, specifically sexual intercourse.”
– Gail Phetersoon, “The Whore Stigma, Female Dishonor and Male Unworthiness”
As expected, the above, with exception to Willie D’s artistic expressions of cynicism, if not outright misogyny, follow the western academic practice of overlooking, or outright not detailing, the historical practices of white male exploitation of Black Women. The term “hoe” derives from the word “whore”, which, as already mentioned in the quotes, is synonymous with the term “prostitute”. In a system of patriarchy, where women have to vie for male acceptance, and the oft coveted position of wife next to a man of means, the prostitute sits low on the totem pole of the hierarchy of desirable positions for women to have. The term “whore”, and “hoe”, have come to mean one behaving in such a manner, ultimately, a person that has numerous sexual partners outside of exclusive bondings, or a relationship of such a nature. It can also refer to a woman that dresses as such. The term, in the black community doesn’t solely refer to women, however, because the system of patriarchy affords a standard for men that is highly approving of sexual conquests. The term “hoe” when applied to a male is often considered a compliment to the receiver.
I suppose I would have to thank Todd Shaw for introducing the concept(“never make a hoe into a housewife”) to my impressionable young mind. As the song’s lyrics show, the term “hoe” is used interchangeably to refer to women in general, and women who sell sex as a profession. It is the use of the phrase “hoe” out of the context of prostitution that I would like the Asylum to consider here.
You see some people like to play the dating game
Meet a new freak and ask “what’s your name?”
Wine and dine and waste all that time
Spending money on a hoe cause you think she’s fine
Holding hands at the movies, waiting months to fuck
Played like a sucker, you should know what’s up
Getting dogged by a snotty, fake, broke-ass hoe
Listen to a real dog, cause I know
You get a pretty yellow bitch with that long-ass hair
Fine motherfucker trying to get with a player
Can’t fuck worth shit, old stiff-ass bitch
Tried to get some head and she just kissed my dick
I need a bitch with a beeper, a full time tramp
She can’t suck dick like she’s licking a stamp
But she can lick it all around, or swallow it whole
Deep throat this big dick and act real bold
You go to sleep, she’ll straight rob your ass
Cause Hoes like to steal and take all your cash
And when hoes go to jail, pimps make bail
Take ’em to the stroll and let the pussy sell
Cause to a trick, they’re just quick nuts
But to a grandmother, they’re like big sluts
And if you’re short dog, they look like bank rolls
If I ever go broke I’ll just break hoes
Cause hoes were made to be broken
It happens every day in Oakland
I need a bitch, that’s one thing I know
Put my money where my mouth is and just break that hoe
Two and fro, they like to run in pairs
Hit small towns and sell pussy everywhere
I ain’t giving no bitches, no kind of slack
Cause Oakland, California is where they made “The Mack”
Prostitution is the oldest profession
Kick back young partner, learn your lesson
Pimp till you die, as long as you know
Pimps ain’t nothing but hoes
Getting paid, for everything you say
If a hoe wants to fuck you, she gots to pay
Keep the bitch broke and control the world
Cause when hoes get rich, they call ’em “call girls”
Now ain’t nothing like a neighborhood trampy slut
Take a hoe to a spot and let her lick these nuts
Get a square bitch, you gotta lie to kick it
But with a nasty bitch, she’ll just lick it and lick it
I had a square bitch, man, she looked way too cool
She said she loved me, but is that true’
She asked me could she be my lady
Wanted so much to have my baby
So what bitch’ I popped your cherry
Hell fucking no, I don’t wanna get married
Cause can’t no bitch hound me
Talking that shit about a family
I wants no champagne, I drink gin and juice
Bring a bag of ice and watch a ho get loose
Spread the word, we’re getting tossed tonight
And please don’t trip on the cellulite
I got a fat bitch, sucking on my dick
Every day homie it’s the same old shit
Don’t look stupid, hoe, drop them goddamn drawers
Get your ass in the bed and let’s fuck like dogs
On the very first night, we fucked
I got the pussy, I got sucked
I couldn’t wait, she asked me why
I let the answer shoot straight in her eye, bitch
Hoes are like cum freaks, they suck you dry
The do what you say, and don’t ask why
Who said that hoe ain’t old enough’
If she could bleed, then she can fuck
Call me “dirty dog” but your cock stank
Motherfuckers think pimps ain’t making bank
But the, pimp game just don’t stop
You gotta be down to reach the top
I tell all my homies “play these hoes”
Don’t eat the pussy or pay these hoes
Cause some of these hoes get tore up smoking
Bitches like that you find all through Oakland
Miniskirts and no panties on
When it’s time to fuck, it don’t take too long
And it’s mandatory for hoes to simp
Catch other hoes and bring ’em to pimps
So take this game and keep it for life
Never make a hoe into a housewife
Just get a good bitch, a workaholic like holly
Bitch so bold, she’ll take a piss in the alley
And make big bank, it’s the pussy is dope
They keep coming back until the tricks go broke
But if that hoe jumps off the track
Another young bitch will bring them tricks right back
During the epoch of US slavery, black women were regarded as less than human. They were deemed subhuman females and were situated below white women of all classes and practices on the social hierarchy of white capitalist patriarchy. Black women were thought to possess high levels of libidinous energy, which would work as a justification for the rape and sexual exploitation of Black women by the white US male. For breeding purposes, Black women would be offered trinkets to have sex.
“On some plantations a woman might be given a small pig each time a child was born to her. Women were promised a new dress or a new pair of shoes at the birth of a child. A small monetary sum, form on to five dollars, might be given a slave woman at the birth of her fourth of fifth child. A few slaveowners promised freedom to black women who bore large families. A case appeared before the Virginia courts in 1761 in a dispute over a will that included a provision to free a female slave Jenny if she bore ten live children. Some enslaved women desired pregnancy, for they saw it as a means of obtaining certain advantages, the primary one being a lightening of the work load.” – bell hooks, “Ain’t I A Woman”
So, historically, and at the roots of the Black in America’s culture, we see a pattern where the women are reduced to sexual beings, and a forced form of prostitution has developed. The sexuality of the Black woman, and the hyperbolic, and grossly mythologized stereotype that Black women held “loose” sexual morals, and were sexual beasts would saturate the media and thus the psycho-cultural atmosphere of the US. The white woman, as a symbol of all that is pure in woman, would be held in high esteem. These patterns of thought have trickled down through the socio-historical storm drain, and revisit us in various forms.
As I have alluded to in another article, the white woman’s sexuality is presented to us in such a fashion, that even if she is portrayed as a “street walker”, considered the lowest status that a white women in this white capitalist patriarchal society could hold, she is still worthy of the white male of means emotional/romantic consideration. We see this plot played out in the movie, “Pretty Woman”.
As this trailer shows, the movie is full of the woman under the spell of patriarchal magic. We have the poor white woman being swept away by the rich white male. The writer, J.F. Lawton, places these words in her mouth as the describing of her childhood dream. This concept of the “prince” coming to save the “damsel in distress” riding on a horse, no doubt, the “Cinderalla” story, is saturated throughout white patriarchal folklore and story-telling. We’ve seen this script and template played out in various Tyler Perry plays and motion pictures. Unfortunately, in the black community, males are less apt to “save” the Black women down on her luck. In fact, the black man is taught against “saving hoes”.
What we see in this video is a use of the term “hoe” to imply underclass Black women. The video depicts a man driving a drop top 5.0 mustang(a mustang is a horse, and during the time of this video’s production, the vehicle was a status symbol in the Black community) pulling up to a woman walking with two children. The message is that a Black woman with two children is in an undesirable socio-economic condition, and any man willing to “save” her is worthy of disrespect. It is interesting to note that “Pretty Woman” is released in theaters in 1990, and “Captain-Save-A-Hoe” is featured on E-40’s 1993 release of “Mailman”. You have two very poignant depictions of social reflections with regard to how the Black man and the White man view their respective women. In one case, you have a woman that is soliciting sex, blatantly asking for money, and is regarded as worthy of a man who can make a statement about buying a billion dollar business over breakfast. In the other, you have a group of women being labeled hoes simply because of their economic status, and possibly race. Even if the argument that the song’s co-author, Earl Stevens, was making a statement about black men spending money on “gold diggers” is true, in comparison to the White patriarchy’s media message, the song still communicates a strong message to the Black community,”The Black woman is simply not worth the effort, and you are dumb if you try.” This message is in stark contrast to that of the White male’s message to his male grouping and to that of his female counterparts.
Since I am on the discussion of White men and their portrayal as saviors of their womenfolk, and because this is one of my favorite movies, I will venture to show the white woman as prostitute being romantically fought for in another theatrical piece. In the movie, “True Romance”, a script written by my favorite white writer/director to attack for racist portrayals, Quentin Tarantino, Clarence(Christian Slater) is a clerk in a comic book store that call-girl Alabama(Patricia Arquette) is paid to go on a date with. The two wind up having sex, and a teary eyed Alabama pronounces her love for Clarence, and they get married. Clarence confronts Alabama’s pimp, and in an interesting scene only Tarantino could have conjured up, Clarence kills Drexl, Alabama’s pimp. Now the movie has a few plot twist that I don’t feel concern us here, but over the course of the movie, Clarence shows his devotion to the former “whore” Alabama.
Of interest is that this movie was also released in 1993. Another noticeable contrast between what the white male media is presenting with regard to the white woman and how the Black Woman is presented by black males is the professional prostitute who finds love versus the regular woman who’s male counterparts are being advised to overlook them. Two movies released around the same time with similar messages:”prostitutes are people too, more so if they are white…of course.” The songs we have listened to have the message of “black women from underclass environs are all hoes.” Ironically, those black males who might argue that a man doesn’t want to be with a woman with several partners or the like, are comparing women who might have double digit amounts of past partners with women who are being portrayed as women who have, according to the above statistic, over eight hundred! That message alone says much about the media messages being disseminated. A Black woman is a hoe if she is unmarried with two children, or enjoys sex in the manner of men;a white woman is a hoe if she is a prostitute, and even in said instance, it is the duty of the white male to save her. In the black community, males are taught that they don’t want to be saved.
The sexual virtue of Black women has been attacked, and vilified since the early days of slavery. With the need to justify and legitimize the rape and sexual torture of black women, the white male system defined the Black Woman as a sexual temptress of sorts. When we look at the modern dances, dress codes, and styles of behavior, we are reminded of these myths and stereotypes that have been recreated and accepted in the Black community. My biggest concern is that Black women seeking approval and acceptance from Black men fall into the trap of internalizing these concepts. As Black males fail to secure power, and find themselves wrestling and killing one another for status symbols, the psycho-social templates of hyper masculinity will continue to readdress themselves. In a patriarchal society, the men of the oppressed peoples tend to degrade their own women for not treating them as the women of the oppressing race treat their men. It shouldn’t be a shock that most Black men seek out white woman once they have achieved a high level of financial success in this country. As the Lexus and Benz are symbols of wealth, and status, so is the white woman objectified as a symbol of the same. The Black Woman as the mistress, the other woman, the sexual appetite appeaser is still a common thought as we have seen in Tyler Perry’s “The Family That Preys”. The idea being that black women are cool to fuck, but you don’t want to settle down with them.
However, as long as Black women define themselves by the terms of a powerless, misogynistic male group, they will never rise to the potential within. If you define yourself as a hoe, based on my definition of the word, then you will always be a slave to the whims of my making. In a country where Black women are beset by sexism and racism, it is my opinion that Black women should be cautious on all fronts. Since we live in a capitalist economy, a patriarchal capitalism, it is dangerous for Black women to place themselves into any psychological framework that will objectify them based on any standard. There is no ideology or framework of thinking in this country that places Black woman in a truly free position. It is a man’s world as James Brown once noted.
If you are being clothed from head to toe, or wearing a business suit, or some form of professional attire, you will be disrespected by men. Mostly by males of your own race. If you decide to be a human and enjoy sexual encounters, you will be dubbed a “hoe”. Mostly by males of your own race, and some females of your own race. If you can’t critically assess the situation as it stands, and you choose to play this societal game with no regard for alternative ways of being, then so be it.
I’d only remind you that you are being attacked by the media on all fronts. If you succeed in any field you will be labeled a “bitch”, or a “hoe”. If you don’t find a male to marry or even to pursue an exclusive dating arrangement with, you will be labeled a “lonely bitch”, and depending on your age, possibly a “lonely bitter bitch”. If you decide to pursue sexual exploits outside of a relationship, you will be regarded as a “hoe”. If you express that you enjoy male companionship without the concomitant emotional or romantic ties, you will be called a “hoe”.
With all that on the table for you from others, I’d simply suggest you not call yourself a “bitch” or a “hoe”. There are plenty of us out here that already are. You might want to protect your own psychological space. Trust me, it is better to be your own friend than your own enemy…
“There are some fine sisters in the Party, Kathy, Marsha, and some others, who were walking in front of a little barber shop, two doors down from the National Headquarters in Berkeley. It’s a shop where a lot of brothers, many of whom have just recently come out of the joint, go to get processes on their heads. Some of these brothers call themselves pimps, and you can figure that some of them, at one point or another, are pushing weed or something — the type of activities that black men are driven to, trying to live. These brothers are playing their old game, saying to each other,’Man, I know I can rap to one of the Panther sisters and take all of those chicks away from all of the cats over there in the Panther office.’
Now, this is an old game that’s related to male chauvinism, to the brother dominating the sister. What that’s related to– as Malcolm X put it one time– is that the President is the biggest pimp in the country. And this pimping the sister on the block is related to the continued existence of a class system. It’s cross-related to the economic problems in the black community where the male is put in to a position where he can’t really be the breadwinner for the home.
So when the sisters walked in front of the little barber shop, I noticed some brothers were huddled among each other, speculating on the Panther sisters. They tried to rap to Marsha and a couple of sisters, and Marsha set them straight.
She said,’Look, brother, you’re getting none of this! You don’t use this on the streets, either. The only way you can get close to me is to get hip to some of the real ideology of the Black Panther Party.’
Then another sister said,’Yeah. If you want to get next to us, why don’t you check out the Red Book?’
Well, those brothers were a little shocked. Then the other brothers inside the place started laughing at the brothers outside. Well, this got off with the brothers. It seemed like the whole barber shop got upset, not in an antagonistic manner, but wanting to know what it was that didn’t allow these sisters to go for that old pimp game. Naturally their speculation was that the sisters made love to us, and therefore they agreed with our rap. What they didn’t understand, is that you can’t define it in terms of what kind of rap is going down, that it was the ideology of the Party that was helping us bring us out of that very same kind of thinking.
So their curiosity was aroused, and the brothers tried rapping with some of the other sisters, and got the same answers. The next thing I knew, all those brothers had come over to the Party headquarters, twenty-five or thirty of them, to buy some Panther literature and some Red Books. They stopped talking and started listening. And the sisters laid the revolutionary ideology right on them.
We had tried for a long time, in a lot of ways to get these brothers motivated, but it took some sisters with a new and respectful way of looking at themselves, to bring these brothers in!” – Bobby Seale, “Seize The Time”