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Outspoken, arrogant, and unfaltering to criticism, she sits erect on an unconquerable throne surrounded by the riches and spoils of a life of nonchalance. Competition? Please. On what planet? Men and women idolize everything she touches, emulate everything she wears, and envy her life. With one hand pressed gently on her hip and another in her wallet, she’s taking our men, hexing our women, living prodigally; squandering anyone who stands in the way of her relentless spending, sexual escapades, materialistic living, and anything associated with gaudiness. This highly coveted queen is the one and only,bad b*tch”.

The “bad b*tch” is no urban legend according to reality television shows like the Bad Girls Club, Love and Hip Hop, rap lyrics, and other pop culture staples. Wanna feel like a bad b*tch instead of being one? Look no further! Buzzfeed has 17 songs that’ll have you feeling like a baddie in no time and shield you from basics. Do you doubt whether or not your significant other is…basic? Thank goodness, a how-to-spot-a-basic-partner exists!

*sigh*

No, no, no! We’ve got it all wrong. At what point did it become acceptable to camouflage degrading and distasteful remarks as something our women should admire? Particularly in the African-American community, the myth of the bad b*tch continues to rupture the psyches of young women—and men—creating an unachievable goal for many who wish to be validated or recognized. Women who fail to subscribe to these expectations face exclusion—you’re basic if you don’t live a “bad b*tch” lifestyle—but most importantlyy, this encapsulates an ongoing narrative deeply steeped in sociohistorial factors that shape how Black women should act.

To put it simply, Black women are mere vessels through which America’s infatuation with the oversexualization of Black women can grow, and, by marketing these faulty models of behavior, America profits at the expense of our Black women.

In a poignant reflection for Gloss Magazine on the degradation of Black women in the media, Cicely Teal writes:

Black women are constantly inundated with images that are not reflective and since the media acts as a window into different worlds; this shapes the world’s views about who black women are as a whole. The images of black women are spoon fed into the American Diaspora through promiscuity, salaciousness and sexuality. The viewing public fashions their beliefs on what they see all while longing for more.

This longing is inadvertently mistaken for acceptance, so it reinforces sexualized behavior which is what is presented in music videos. This gives society a linear one-dimensional perspective. Images of black women are radically extreme in the media. Often in music videos, the women are fair-skinned with long hair, real or fake, and very voluptuous. Dark skinned women with natural or kinky hair are rarely the focus. Thereby, black women are witnessing what it is that men like. This, too, causes low self-worth….we have not yet left the realm of the slave mentality. The broken bones of the past are not healed.

The only way to combat these ignominious caricatures of Black women is to stop supporting venues, artists, or any form of media that treat women with derision. Let’s uplift our women, praise our young girls, teach our men, sons, and friends how to love, show them confidence and give them the resources to survive.

Of course, some women form a skewed idea on womanhood based on circumstances that are out of their control, but this is where the real magic happens: all women deserve a chance at life, no matter how grim or bleak the sky, the sun still smiles and shines amidst the rain.

No more rain on our women, from now on, only sunlight.

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  • VicGrimes

    I am completely unqualified to speak on this but I think we need to teach children to think critically. I must admit one of my guilty pleasures is watching the unabashed ignorance of Love & Hip-Hop. And while their buffoonery is entertaining, I am acutely aware of what the media is trying to feed me. Even with a show like The Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl, some of Issa Rae’s raps make me cringe. I think there needs to be a concentrated effort to show more positive & diverse images of Black women in movies and music. I would just like to see more balance.

  • Michelle

    Can we also bury the term “Boss B*tch” as well? Just bury it in hallowed ground and pour sea salt over the grave, as well as, burn sage over it?

    • Mary Burrell

      @Michelle: Yes to pouring sea salt and the burning of the sage. LOL!

    • SuperDre

      PLEASE!

  • I supposed I’m one generation ahead of the ‘bad bitch’ generation…
    I realize we use these as terms of endearment, but I believe when we use these words, we take away the power of them being negative…I guess depending where you stand, that’s either a good or bad thing…but when I use the B word, I don’t mean it in a loving or affectionate way

  • “At what point did it become acceptable to camouflage degrading and distasteful remarks as something our women should admire?” I feel like it started in blaxploxitation films like Cleopatra Jones and then peaked in late 90’s hip-hop and beyond. As a college student, I don’t know much about this, but this is based on what I’ve learned and been exposed to.

  • Elie

    I don’t like the idea of boycotting mainstream music. There’s nothing wrong with liking curvy light-skin black women who have fake hair and act like bad bitches, as long as we recognize that they are not the ONLY women who are beautiful.