Cognitively during tender ages of development we are introduced to words by association. Look at these books 📚, or here are some keys 🗝🔑. Eventually we get older and learn that the garden equipment below are hoes…
…or you might learn at the same time or later on that people too can be hoes…
The etymology of one word can take on several meanings all at once and is subject to change without much prior notice. When words begin to take on different meanings in the sub-cultural context it oftentimes takes on nuanced undertones. In many instances it is an overt and deliberate reinterpretation to dissolve existing connotations and attach newly defined ones. The term hoe is one of many trending buzzwords. This word carries meaning that can have damaging effect to one’s character and standing, at least in the past it did. Now it is and can be seen as dignifying in some circles, a term of endearment or self-appointed comeuppance. In either these and many other cases it is seen as something that is brought to bear in our communities as a consequential societal ill that warrants more normalization and less exclusion.
The internet stands to erase the boundaries that bounds certain dialects to their native regions and or respective subcultures. Social media networks seem determined to widen those circles of influence on its defined usage. If you are outside of these local circles you may feel lost and not in-the-know at times when you come across the usage of certain jargon during certain modes of communication. Oftentimes the different meaning is conveyed simply by way of pronunciation as well as through context.
In Jay-Z’s autobiographical Decoded, the art of declaring and expounding on wordplay in hip hop culture is an essential component and a defining mark of lyricism in rappers.
“With language, rappers have raided the dictionary and written in new entries to every definition–words with one or two meanings now have twelve.” _ Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter; Decoded, November 2011
This is quite evident with the use of the normally derogatory form of the term “bitch” in the song “99 Problems”. But much to the chagrin of those who thought Jay-Z was lambasting women in the double-platinum selling title, the term was, in that instance, redefined unbeknownst to so-called listeners of rap music.
Getting back to the topic of “bitches” and “hoes” as newly defined. Efforts with activism and awareness to redefine and soften the harsh and derogatory form of the term hoe –normally reserved for women–can be seen as plausible in many respects. Aside from the usual scorn, the accused are currently and have historically faced much abuse. It is also far too often met with violence, sometimes fatally. The awareness inspires empathetic humanity that is always welcoming.
Words alone often do quite a bit of harm though, especially when they are attached to flaming arrows at a target for labeling. I have to admit there was a little cringe in me when I hear the word hoe hurled at a woman. I cringed when I saw the phrasing above by a tumblr’s post/reblog popping up in my dash. The statement suggests that there is a bit of dichotomy between the way it is being buzzword-ly proclaimed up against a matter of survival, getting paper or essentially c.r.e.a.m., because they are beholden to the phrasing “cash rules everything around me”, or just limited to less viable options to make a living. Some might argue to the extent to which false justifications have been conjured for decidedly living the perceived life of a “hoe”.
Similar wording has been made with the statement “everybody wanna be Black until…” of course when it it not socioeconomically convenient to be Black. However efforts to redefine Black which is hard-coded under the social construct is immeasurably slow, if at all it is in fact happening. I guess only some things do actually change.