“Bitch Bad, Woman Good”

Lupe Fiasco’s new music video for “Bitch Bad” premiered yesterday. Before listening, I really had no idea what this song would be about. Knowing it was Fiasco, I thought it had to be something pretty intelligent, but with the pre-existing knowledge that being a “bad bitch” for many women is a source of pride, I really had no clue.

Of course, Fiasco didn’t disappoint. I’ve listened to the song a few times throughout the morning and am continually analyzing it each time. The video (which you definitely need to watch) and the song itself is broken up into three “acts.” Each act builds upon the other until the very end when the listener realizes that there is a vicious cycle happening with men and women that they themselves can probably relate to because it is perpetuated by the media every day.

For those reading who may not be familiar with the term “bad bitch,” it’s defined by Urban Dictionary as a woman who essentially has her life together and looks good. In most contexts, it’s a good thing. A lot of popular songs talk about “bad bitches” in a way that seems empowering, despite the fact that women are being called “bitches.”

The first act in the song is about a little boy whose mother refers to herself as a bad bitch. Essentially, the woman who cares for him is “skew[ing] respect for dishonor,” leaving him with the idea that a “bitch” is “bad” and his mom isn’t a bitch.

So, we have the little boy who will grow up into a man with the idea that a bitch is bad and bad bitches are bad. The second part of the song is about pre-teen girls listening to and watching songs about “bad bitches.” In their minds, though, a “bad bitch” is what they want to be when they get older. The women in the music videos are what they strive to look like and how they want to act as they grow up.

The third act is where the boy and the girl, with their ideas about bad bitches, come together. He sees a “bad bitch” and she thinks she’s a “bad bitch” but the meaning is different for the two of them.

“Just like that, you see the fruit of the confusion
He caught in a reality, she caught in an illusion
Bad mean good to her, she really nice and smart
But bad mean bad to him, bitch don’t play your part
But bitch still bad to her if you say it the wrong way
But she think she a bitch, what a double entendre”

The message of this song really speaks to society’s perceptions as far as the media goes. I do wonder when being called a “bitch” became a source of pride for so many women, especially when coupled with the word “bad.”Although, I guess it’s the same as groups of women who have become empowered by the word “cunt.” Instead of letting “bitch” or “cunt” destroy these groups of women, they take it and wear it proudly. I see both sides to the positive and negative connotations of the term “bad bitch” but it’s important to remember that not everyone does. And that’s when the problems start.

Check out the video and let me know what you think:



One thought on ““Bitch Bad, Woman Good”

  1. Yeah, the whole reappropriation of the words “bitch” and “cunt” is complex, right? Sigh, I don’t know how I feel about it, but I’m glad you’re highlighting a medium that speaks directly to this issue. Right on, sister.

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