If you call women 'side chick, bitch and hoe', you're reinforcing rape culture

The power of language plays a big role in denigrating women in society. The use of offensive terminology like 'bitch' and 'hoe', reinforces a belief that violent behaviour towards women is acceptable.

The language of rape plays a role in how society internalises these offensive ideas regarding violence against women.

Radio 702 and Cape Talk have launched #Spotlightonrape, a campaign which highlights the scourge of rape, and how it plays itself out in South Africa

702's Azania Mosaka engaged Professor Barbara Boswell about the role of language in reinforcing these behaviours.

Listen to the conversation below:

Words are how we make sense of the world. The way we speak about women and men are important ways in which we create the world for ourselves.

Prof Barbara Boswell

Words like bitch, a bitch is a female dog. A term like side chick pits women against each other. A word like hoe is very offensive and denigrating.

Prof Barbara Boswell

If we are using language that denigrates women and diminishes women, this is a contributor to what feminists have called rape culture. It's a culture that normalises violence against women.

Prof Barbara Boswell

One way of getting at men is through the women. This puts women in a relationship to men where she doesn't have autonomy.

Prof Barbara Boswell

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  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
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  • Comments inciting violence.

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