Hip-Hop, I don't want to be your bitch.
I don’t want to be a bad bitch, a perfect bitch, or dope bitch.
Last week, Kanye West tweeted that he wrote his yet-to-be-released song "Perfect Bitch" about his mega-reality-star girlfriend Kim Kardashian. I watched as women retweeted his tweet with "Ohhs" and "Awws" noting that it was "so sweet" for Kanye to write a song about his perfect bitch and that this love must be real...
I wondered how Kim felt about being called a bitch. I knew how I would feel about being called a bitch.
Last night the video was released for Lupe Fiasco's "Bitch Bad," and all the light bulbs lit up, I released a proverbial sigh, shook my head and said "finally." Lupe had armed himself using hip-hop to fight against hip-hop and provided a visual that spoke volumes, and all I could do was hope the rest of the world was listening.
The video for "Bitch Bad" opens up with film reel scenes of a white man counting money outside of a theater, and laughing, and then cuts between a rapper and "video vixen" dealing with the stresses of playing "black face" for the love of money.
I will save you a full breakdown of the video (which you can watch above) but, Lupe Fiasco touches on breakdowns of mainstream culture that some haven’t been exposed to outside of a women's studies classroom.
My purpose is not to dissect the meaning of the video, you can read that here. My purpose is not to talk about how the rap game has us tainting the youth, you can read that just about everywhere, but my purpose is to reiterate the importance of not succumbing to the images of the "bad bitches" that are force fed to us.
Lupe does an amazing job of bringing the main topic to the forefront: women and girls are sculpting themselves after an ideal that isn't realistic, after the “bad bitch” trolloping on their television. The topic of the portrayal of women in music videos may be an old one, but that doesn't mean it isn't still a very valid one.
The role of the video girl has evolved drastically since the days the Fly Girls were performing choreographed moves on television. Our roles on videos have gone from a shoulder shimmy and head nod in a bikini, to gyrations on a pole with blurred out additives, and I don't use the word additives lightly.
Women are being transformed to "bags of money" sporting fake hair, fake breasts, butts, lashes and nails and dancing over tracks to men claiming that they want a "real bitch," a real "bad bitch," of course.
As Lupe points out in "Bitch Bad," we have little girls who see this as their reality. Their perception of what a "real woman" is, is crafted after the "bad bitch" that their favorite musical artists lust after in their videos. Their perception of a “real” desirable woman is molded by what they are seeing on TV.
And quite frankly, where does a real girl fit in in a world of “bad bitches” made of plastic? There was once a time where Barbie was blamed for warping body imagery, now we have women claiming to be Barbie that our youth is lusting after.
In SPiN Magazine's combative review of the video, the question was prompted: "Its hook goes, "Bitch bad, woman good, lady better," which sounds sweet and all, but does any female want to be called "a lady"? "
Yes, SPiN, I don’t know about the others, but I would much rather be called an imperfect lady or a beautiful woman before I was someone's bad bitch any day.
Rachel is the Associate Editor and Senior Style Writer for GlobalGrind.com, proud graduate of a SUNY school, and as sarcastic as they come. Follow her on Twitter for random daily ramblings @MiissHislop