I want to preface this by saying that I love slang. It’s informal and colorful and (usually) clever. It’s one of the most fun parts of language, aside from swearing. But right now, at this very moment, there is one popular term that annoys me to no end. That term is “thot.” (The Urban Dictionary page is full of definitions that actually make me cringe.)
For the blissfully unaware, it’s an acronym I first heard used by DJ Babey Drew (Chris Brown’s DJ, right?) during season two of “Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta,” and it stands for “that h*e over there.” Drew spent a good deal of the few episodes of this past season that I caught trying to promote the word. I’m assuming it was his Jim Jonesian effort to come up with a quick catchphrase and make some extra coins off of being cast on a reality show, and by all means, get your money. The problem is that “thot” is the most annoying bit of slang to gain popularity in the past few years.
Unlike “fetch,” thot has actually been able to happen, and it is driving me insane. First, it sounds ridiculously stupid. Not all slang works, obviously. I remember when my Howard friends were trying to make “tweak,” (v. to do entirely too much) popular, and I would just slow-blink at them and try to push the conversation past it. But “thot”? You guys, why do you love this word so much?!
A quick rundown of a few trends in “thot” memes:
The Straight-Forwardly Offensive and Problematic Meme – These “Keep Calm” posters are already annoying, not to mention the fact that they trivialize the widespread fear that led the British government to plaster these all over major British cities in the months leading up to WWII. (I know. I’m a wet blanket.) The idea that you should show “no love for a thot,” is just a new way of saying promiscuous women are subhuman, and deserve no respect or affection. Problematic in every whicha way.
The “These Attention-Starved Silly Women Deserve to Be Ridiculed” Meme – Of course, we can all agree that any girl or woman desperate enough for attention to wear her undergarments outside of her clothes deserves to be name-called and ridiculed. Right? RIGHT?!! ECHOOOOOO!!!
The “Let’s Dub Random Things ‘Thot’-like To Make All The Wimmenz Question Themselves”Meme – Seriously, studded combat boots are “thot” boots now? What’s next? Black leggings? Pea coats? Breathing whilst being a woman? (It’s the last one. Obvs.) You might also be a “thot” if you owned an Easy Bake Oven as a kid, apparently. Because Easy Bake, right? I give up.
I don’t know if this is the case everywhere, but half of the people in the DMV that I hear use it don’t even know how to pronounce it correctly, presumably because they didn’t actually watch the show, and just began seeing Twitter folks use it when dubbing Lime-a-rita’s “Thot Juice,” or whatever. They pronounce it like “thought,” while most users pronounce it like “tha-ott.” I don’t know why, but that irritates me even more. Like, this word has spread far beyond LHHA’s viewership and actually permeated into our culture. Google searches for the scene in which Drew first explains the word to his ex, DJ Traci Steele, do not yield many results, so why has this word caught on months after the episode aired?
Because it’s “fun” or “funny” to find another way to put women down, clearly. I’m not going to sit here and act like I have never laughed at a misogynistic joke in my life. I’m not perfect in my feminism, and never really hope to be. It’s a process that requires reading and re-learning and a lot of growth and self-reflection in order to unlearn years of anti-woman rhetoric that’s been pumped into me since I was old enough to remember that girls are supposed to be made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.”
That being said, did we really need to come up with another word to use to denigrate women? I mean seriously, whore, slut, trollop, skank, rip, jump-off, h*e, hussy – the list can go on and on. Those have all worked very effectively when keeping the time-honored tradition of slut-shaming, silencing or marginalizing women. I think the users of “thot” find it appealing because it doesn’t sound as harsh as some of the others. Maybe that can explain why I’ve seen adults refer to little girls as “thots” online so casually. It would read a lot harsher if they called a child a whore.
Case in point, the rampant spread of “thot-shaming” on Instagram. “Thot” pages on Instagram used to bully or “expose” young girls. I’m talking girls as young as middle school-age having explicit photos of them spread all over the internet without their permission. Some of the posters could be in serious trouble for distributing child porn, but why did they think this was OK in the first place, regardless of the photographed person’s age? Probably because it’s been proven incredibly difficult for adult women to get their photos removed from revenge porn sites, even photos they can prove were stolen from their files by hackers.
And I know the first comment on this post will be, “she has given this entirely too much thought,” but honestly, I haven’t. This post took less than an hour to write, in total. That’s how blatantly obvious it is that this word is both corny and dangerous.