The b-word: whose is it, anyway?

“I got 99 problems but a rather difficult and frustrating woman isn’t one of them.”

Reimagining Jay-Z’s lyrics without the word “bitch” is a ridiculous enterprise, one that fans relished when news emerged that the rapper would stop using the derogatory term following the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy, earlier this month.

A poem initially attributed to the hip-hop mogul but later credited to blogger Renee Gardner announced that Jay-Z’s little bundle had brought on an epiphany about the slur: “I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it/Now with my daughter in this world I curse those that give it.”

The flap pitched feminists against misogynists and fans against fans, leaving cultural critics grappling over the current state of the b-word in Western culture: Who can use it, and how? Have women – including Jay-Z’s rabid female fans, women from all socio-economic backgrounds – reclaimed the term, or simply become habituated to it?

Read the whole story in The Globe and Mail.


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