I feel like I’m always talking about how I cringe when I hear people– men specifically– using the word “female” in certain contexts. I’ve talked about it in MadameNoire’s editorial meetings, I whine and grip about it to my sister when I hear spewed in public. And I even had to correct my teenage cousin over the holidays when he used it. To clarify, I don’t hate the word female absolutely. I’m well aware that there are times when it’s appropriate like “female inventor” or “female poet” or something because poets and inventors are assumed to be human. But if you’re using female in the place of woman, it’s a problem. Because a female can be any species of animal. Calling a woman a female is dehumanizing and often, used derogatorily. Like, “These females be [insert some foul behavior here.]”
But apparently, I may be fighting the wrong battle because there’s an even more derogatory and dehumanizing word–a slang phrase–used on various social media sites. The word, or acronym rather is THOT. Perhaps you’ve seen it. It means “That hoe over there” or “Those hoes or there.” And while it’s not new in terms of pop culture, unfortunately it’s still running rampant. There are memes, vines, a sea of tweets and clever pictures.
The term originated from the Chicago rapper/prophet that is Chief Keef. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Chief Keef, please know that was severe sarcasm. Please look him up. I’m not saying he’s a complete lost cause because he’s still young. But from what I’ve seen, he hasn’t really put his redeemable qualities on display.
Anyway, as you may imagine the term was originally used to describe sexually promiscuous women. Of course that’s problematic and misogynistic because, once again, women are being punished for being sexually expressive while men, who behave similarly, are given a pass and a pat on the back.
In fact, the term came to my mind again today when I was looking at the Juicy J scholarship story. When I learned that, according to Juicy J, that twerking wasn’t a requirement, though it was called a “twerking scholarship,” I went to search for the actual rules. Sure enough twerking was not listed as a requirement. And I saw a tweet that read, “Juicy J knows thots don’t read.”
Instead of Juicy J laughing at his deviousness or just giving Zaire the money because she truly deserved it, Juicy J took the opportunity to scold the women who actually submitted twerk videos for his review.
“Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money and I don’t want to waste it on just some girl twerking her ass. You don’t deserve it…See that’s what you get for shaking your ass and thinking you were gone get some money. It’s not always about shaking your ass.”
Really, Juicy? How hypocritical is that? Sure, there’s more to women and students than twerking but how many years have you been suggesting that that’s what women should do and do for you specifically? How many years have you been suggesting that almost exclusively? Let me help you, long enough for college aged women to think that’s all you’d want from them, long enough for them to know that, according to your music, you do reward women monetarily for shaking their ass. You glorify the behavior in your songs but women who twerk in real life– or outside of the strip club– are to be reprimanded? There’s a better breakdown on the wrongness and hypocrisy of all this on the Crunk Feminist Collective.
But even worse is that terms like these, that are initially supposed to be applied to loose, grown women, ultimately end up trickling down to the innocent. The term has been applied to two year old babies and little girls for laugh, kicks and giggles. Not unlike The Onion calling Quevenzhané the c word. It’s gotten out of hand. And I don’t want you to think that men are the only ones using it. A quick Twitter search, will show you that the term is used equally between men and women, white, black and everyone in between.
It’s played, wack and discriminatory. And if you don’t believe so, ask yourself what is the male equivalent of a THOT?