Hoe: /hoh/ adj.

What makes someone a hoe?* Over the last few days I’d heard men call women this term so frequently that I decided to pick some brains on Facebook after having to repeat myself so often in the conversations (read: heated debates) I was having with these men. I posted this status to create a forum and a safe space for people to give me their honest opinions and I was not disappointed by the array of answers I received. Shout out to the friends who contributed. 

 

I got quite a few varying answers from my Facebook friends, a few rallied around the idea that a hoe is someone who is sexually unfaithful to their partner. Others stood behind their logic that someone who disrespects the relationship of another by sleeping with them knowing they’re in a committed relationship is a hoe. Others consider someone a hoe if they sleep with “any and everyone” or is “sexually reckless.” One friend said a hoe is “someone who has sex with someone else for someone else” and is “someone who doesn't own their sexuality and has no type of standard or judgment when choosing who to have sex with.” Another friend described a hoe as someone “who actively chooses to make bad decisions sexually yet lacks responsibility to deal with the consequences.” A different friend called in question the moral compass of hoes, or lack thereof, by stating that a hoe is “someone (male or female) with no moral compass when choosing sexual partners.” One comment stated “Note: men can be "hoes" too.” I found that interesting because I never specified a gender when asking, the default gender for hoes just happens to be women, even for us women. Then there was the friend with a twist on their answer who answered as the voice of society saying “a hoe is a woman who has agency over her sex and sexuality.” *silent yaaaaaas.* Lastly, I had a friend say “I choose not to call anyone that, regardless of what they do or who they do. It's their life and it's not my decision to label them.” I believe it’s as simple as that, it’s not our place to judge others for what they do with their lives. But moving along! Offline, I was told that a hoe was a woman who has slept with too many men or has sex with guys who are friends/ co-workers. A multitude of questions poured out of me. Can men be classified as hoes? How many is “too many?” Do sexual favors make you a hoe? If a man sleeps with 10 women and a woman sleeps with 10 men, are they not equally hoes? Is there a manual for “hoeness” that outlines the rules and lets these men so easily label us women? Aren't these the women you go after? I truly want to understand. I want to know what the logic behind this label is. Men call us hoes for any and everything and try to justify it with their busted and hole filled logic. She slept with my friend, she’s a hoe case closed. Even though I slept with 4 of her friends before her and 2 while with her, nothing wrong with that, don’t question it. She’s a hoe for wearing revealing clothing but I’m the first one in her DM’s trying to bag. She’s a hoe for sleeping with so and so but I’m next though. What? I once got into a heated debate on Twitter when a man said “I want my future wife to be a virgin. // She can’t have no bodies. // I need to be experienced for her though so I’ll keep racking bodies.” Never mind the fact that he reduces sexual partners to bodies. When I asked him why she had to be a virgin for him but not him for her and how she would gain experience, this dense young man said he’d teach her everything she needed to know and because he didn’t “want no hoe.” I fought until my eyes were permanently rolled and I was blue in the face but he didn’t care, that’s how he will always think- as many of society bred men will and do. Passed down since ancient times, we women have gone through the ringer, from harlots to hoes. If we ever express sexual desire in the ways that men do, we are chastised (or worse) for doing so. In YG’s famed “Toot It and Boot It” he raps “and I’m YG so you know I fucked, and she fucked back like a little slut.” I know, I had to focus on breathing regularly after that, too. He’s not a slut for sleeping with her but she’s a slut for sleeping with him. Why is it that a woman who sleeps with multiple men is demonized while a man who sleeps with multiple women is praised? Hell, a woman who sleeps with a man and it may just be that one, is still a hoe depending on who is calling her the name. Like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but sick and twisted to read “reputation is in the hands of an immature and egotistical man.” I’m unable to grasp it, there’s no sensible logic. If we do the exact same things, I am a hoe but he is worthy of praise? Perfect example from the (absolutely brilliant) movie Easy A: the main character, Olive, played by Emma Stone pretends to sleep with a gay classmate so that he can stop being beat up when his peers suspect he’s gay. She chooses to “sleep with him” at a party where the entire school crowds around the door listening in. They have fun with it and then she tousles his hair and tells him to “go get ‘em tiger.” He leaves the room to cheers, high fives, hugs, handshakes, and invites to drink with the other guys. When Olive leaves the room, everyone stares. They judge her on her “walk of shame” (why shame?) from the bedroom to the front door. They laugh, point and make jokes as she walks and you can see the pain on her face as she’s a virgin and has never experienced such ridicule and certainly didn’t expect that stark divide in reactions.

 

There’s an issue of equality with this label and it needs to be addressed, seriously. Women are being abused and dying for expressing their sexuality or for being perceived as hoes and refusing to have sex. Also chronicled in the movie, Olive had a man force himself on her for refusing to have sex with him after dinner as he believed he’d scored with the school hoe. It’s not that kind of movie so he just drives away furiously and leaves a crying Olive in a dark parking lot but in real life, women are being violently raped. In an effort to combat the inequality in being able to show that you like sex, Amber Rose (hereinafter being referred to as Muva) has started a movement with her platform. Referred to as a hoe in the media constantly, Muva transformed the insults into a badge of honor which she wears with pride. Muva aims to normalize women having sex by combatting stereotypes by ripping the shame from the action. Last year, at her Slut Walk she donned lingerie and a sign that said “strippers have feelings too” and walked down the streets of downtown Los Angeles screaming “my pussy, my choice” with thousands of followers in tow.

 

Signs read “I do what I want with my hot body,” “proud hoe,” “no means no,” “rapists cause rape, clothes do not” amongst many, many others. She lifts women and empowers them to be bold in their choices and not let society rip them down for doing so. Vendors at the event offered HIV testing, information, condoms, games, the works. She held an incredible event to empower women, remove shame from sex for women, fight gender inequality, uplift victims of sexual assault, end rape culture, build a community of women for women and call for change in the way the media addresses women and slut shames. Ironically, the media ripped her a new one because they don’t understand her mission- I mean, why would it in a patriarchal society? Power to Muva for having the toughest skin and the iron will to use her fame for such a cause. Last year’s Slut Walk was free made possible by donations and of her own pockets. This year’s Slut Walk will also be free made possible by Flirt Cosmetics. I will be in attendance yet again with another sign and more power in my voice. She honored three VIP guests who won a contest by sharing their stories and who they walk for. I was fortunate enough to win and meet Muva and I can’t understand why anyone would even want to call her the names they do. Just as I don’t understand why us women are called hoes for enjoying something so natural. This year’s Slut Walk is on Saturday, October 1, 2016 and it starts at 11am but if you arrive at 10am, you can make signs with the other event goers. Register for this year’s Slut Walk LA here: http://amberroseslutwalk.com/ to enjoy fashion shows, celebrity performances, twerk contests, dope vendors, and most importantly of all a safe space and a community. On this same website you can register for a free breast cancer screening (if eligible) at the event, buy merch, donate to the cause, and read or submit stories about assault. Lastly, I’d like to answer my own question as best I can: a hoe to me is nonexistent, I am making a stand to not use the word anymore because like many things, it’s a social construct and a negative word meant to berate women (and men) for their personal choices. We have to do better as a society. Power to you if you know what you want and go after it. Happy eggplant hunting, ladies. 

 

*Used as a slang term, not the gardening tool. 

 

Article by Olivia Steadman-Oladipo

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