Let me start by saying the following words may be used interchangeably throughout this post: hoe, whore, slore, tramp, skeezer, sckallywag, dirty-foot, promiscuous, dummy, slut, jezebel, fast, harlot, and so on and so forth….
Of the many topics discussed in my classes, it never fails that a student will say something like this: “I’m just saying Prof. Harvey, she’s a hoe and everybody knows it,” or, “She’s a slut, and she has always been promiscuous.” At that very moment, my head slants to a 45-degree angle, my arms fold over my chest, I proceed to give the side-eye and ask a very provocative question: “How exactly are you defining the word “hoe?” Again I get the, “C’mon Prof. Harvey, you know what a hoe is!”
But do I? Do any of us know what a tramp or slut actually is? Can you define it in such a way that most people you know would agree to the definition? Can it be quantified? Come on, let’s define it right now! Stop reading this post and write down your definition of a hoe, then post it in the comment section and let’s see if we can come to a consensus on what it means to be a hoe. If I say, “A person who has sex with more than 5 people,” would that person be promiscuous? What if I said, “A person that has sex with more than one person in a 24-hour period,” or, “Someone who has sex and receives money after the act.” Which definition is the “truest?” Hell, I’ve heard enough married people say that we are all whores if money is at the beginning or end of a sexual act. Marinate on that one for a second.
When this conversation comes up in class, I stop the lesson and inform everyone that we are going to come up with a collective working definition for ‘whoredom’ that everyone has to agree to. How often do you think I get a unanimous consensus. Never. It has never happened. I can barely get 3 people to touch and agree; and that’s if we can even get a full sentence on the board before people shut it down.
We use these words all of the time and people cannot come up with a definition that they all agree on. Why is that? Because the word(s) hoe, tramp, slut, etc. are all subjective. It could mean the number of people you’ve slept with, or it could mean your mentality around the sex you have and the people you have sex with. It could simply mean that you are talking about someone who is having more sex than you. Now how about them apples?
I am of the professional and personal opinion that there is no such thing as a hoe. We use words like these to shame people around their sexual actions. There is nothing uplifting about being called promiscuous. And more importantly, if it can’t be defined outside of the public health or spiritual realm than I think we should stop using it. It is judgemental and it is an empty word. And let me be clear, I’ve not found a clear definition of promiscuous in narry journal article nor bible.
So, if you have a spirited definition that you think will put us all to bed (pun intended), than Court is in Session!