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on bitches

20 Mar

I’ve noticed an upsetting trend among women in the last…I don’t know…five years or so. Young women especially. So many are proudly proclaiming themselves to be ‘bitches’, and frankly, this confuses me. Surely, I thought, nobody would want to be associated with bitches of any variety? Or maybe it’s some new slang like ‘sick’ or ‘wicked’ or when everybody said ‘bad’ and it actually meant ‘good’. Maybe ‘bitch’ now means ‘kind hearted, generous individual’. So I consulted the dictionary.

bitch – noun.

1.  a female dog.

2.  a female of canines generally.

3.  Slang.  a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, esp. a woman.

Okay. I considered this.  Really pondered how these could be desireable traits, even traits that some would work towards achieving, and I came up blank, until I really considered the sorts of girls I know who proudly proclaim themselves to be bitches.

And they really are.

This bothers me even more than the proclamation itself.  Being a bitch isn’t a good thing.  So many women now somehow feel that being a ‘bitch’ denotes strength.  “Nobody better mess with me, because I’m a bitch.  I have no reservations about taking your shit clean off, thank you very much.  Note the clarity of my intention, and how it speaks to be character as a powerful, independent woman.”  But in searching for the sort of strength that it seems these women are associating with the word ‘bitch’, they begin to lose sight of its true meaning.

It’s a wonderful thing to own yourself, to be proud of yourself and your capabilities and brilliances and beauty.  Do that.  Don’t let anybody take it away from you, and if anybody tries to limit your self-love, by all means, take them down a peg.

This does not mean become a ‘malicious, unpleasant, and selfish’ person.

Bitches are cruel.  Bitches step on others in their efforts to self-define themselves as powerful and intentional.  Bitches confuse strength and selfishness, and are willing to hurt other people in to prove how ‘tough’ or ‘hardcore’ they are.  Strength doesn’t lie in callousness or eagerness to damage the people around you.  It’s in your unstoppable desire to protect, nurture, and improve, despite pessimism and cynicism and those who would build walls in your way

If you want to call yourself a bitch, fine.  You probably are.  But don’t think by ‘admitting it’ that your behavior is somehow excused, or that people will find you witty or cute.  If you’re a bitch, you’re a bitch, and all your admission does is show the rest of us that you don’t have any remorse for treating the rest of us like shit.  We don’t think it’s sexy or cool or powerful.  We just think it’s sad.  All the energy that could have gone into something positive has been channeled into something that tarnishes the rest of us.

If you’re one of these ladies who proudly proclaims yourself a ‘bitch’, please reexamine your motives.  We don’t want, nor need any bitches in society.

Knock it the fuck off.

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21 Comments

Posted by on March 20, 2009 in Life

 

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21 responses to “on bitches

  1. Lesley Denford

    March 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Well said! Calling yourself a bitch does not excuse bitchy behavior. I’m more like a….cuddly kitten. I’d much prefer to be called that!

     
    • saturdayjane

      March 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      Aw, you ARE a cuddly kitten! I like this connotation much better. Hehe!

       
  2. Michael M.

    March 20, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I have a feeling you could write a similar post about women calling each other hos or whores. I never understood that one.

     
    • saturdayjane

      March 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      Ha, I don’t always get that one either.

      That one might totally depend on context, too. 🙂

       
  3. Sal

    March 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Huh. I always assumed this was a reclamation of negative terminology, similar to “bad” or “wicked,” as you mentioned … but you’re right. It’s not. Bandying this word about as if it were complimentary just encourages women to ACT selfish and malicious and feel like what they’re doing is positive and powerful. It’s a front, and a damaging one at that.

     
    • saturdayjane

      March 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks for the agreement.

      I did consider, also, that it might be a reclamation, but then I thought about Eve Ensler’s ‘Vagina Monologues’ as reclamation, and realized how different they were. Eve Ensler’s approach was to take the word and examine it positively and proudly, whereas the bitch thing is just…attempting to excuse bad behavior.

      I’m just glad that most of the ladies I know don’t conform to this! There’s just a couple per hundred, I suppose.

       
  4. lisa

    March 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    This word makes me cringe. As you said (and so articulately too!), you can be strong without being awful.

     
    • saturdayjane

      March 21, 2009 at 2:00 am

      Thanks for the agreement! It’s nice to know I’m not way off base or anything here. 🙂

       
  5. Vanessa

    March 20, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I agree with a lot of what you said in this. Not to turn it another direction, but I think this relates a lot to how I’ve been feeling lately about the idea of “reclaiming” bad words, such as n***** (oh, the conversations my biracial boyfriend and I have had). Even though I’ve read several essays and such about ethnic people reclaiming the slurs regarding their race, it still doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t think it really DOES take the power away from those who look down on you. It does to a degree, but it also reinforces that identity that comes with it. If you have the time, watch this slam poem by Julian Curry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD-UpHlB9no It’s a really great poem, and I think it reflects how calling yourself a word can also mean embracing parts of an identity that you shouldn’t take so lightly.

     
    • saturdayjane

      March 21, 2009 at 2:03 am

      That’s a beautiful poem! Honestly, I love slam poetry. I don’t see nearly enough of it. It expresses things really well, and I think it can be applied to the ‘bitch’ scenario as well.

       
  6. WendyB

    March 21, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Good post! But I call people of both genders bitches, because I’m nice that way!

     
    • saturdayjane

      March 21, 2009 at 1:58 am

      Ha! I’ve used it in reference to dudes too, not gonna lie. 🙂 It’s pretty satisfying.

       
  7. amanda

    March 21, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Great post! It’s really thought provoking. I’ve referred to myself as a bitch. I tend toward the introverted and introspective, and usually speak up when I don’t agree with something. This, naturally, makes me a bitch. (For the record, I don’t get it, either.) So when people mention I’ve got my bitchface on, or they’re getting a bitchy vibe from me I simply tell them to go with the feeling.
    I suppose for me, it’s more of a sarcastic declaration — which makes me question: is that bitchy in the popular sense? I do definitely agree that there is a strong reclamation movement with regards to the word “bitch”, primarily because it was often used to describe strong women who weren’t submissive and were unwilling to acquiesce.

     
    • amanda

      March 21, 2009 at 1:28 am

      Oh, and it reminds of Tina Fey’s speech about how Hillary Clinton being a “bitch” is actually good thing, since bitches get stuff DONE.

       
      • saturdayjane

        March 21, 2009 at 1:55 am

        Mmm. See, I wouldn’t call somebody who is quiet but assertive a bitch. That’s just being…quiet but assertive, y’know? And I have zero problem with that. I guess my big deal is about girls who do something cruel or selfish and then say, “Well, I’m a bitch!” as though that excuses things. It reminds me of people who personally attack somebody and then say, “No offense,” as if that makes it better.

        I do think different definitions of ‘bitch’ have sprung up in an effort to reclaim it. I just hope people really consider it before they throw it out there,y’know?

         
  8. amanda

    March 21, 2009 at 5:16 am

    I agree. It’s all in the context/application of the word, which I guess can be applied to language as a whole.

     
  9. Kitty

    March 21, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Ah yes, I have noticed this trend. Apparently, it’s also a perfectly fine way to greet complete strangers on the street…
    I swear, I was just out for a walk, telling my new shoes how beautiful they were, and you know, generally minding my own business, when this woman walked past me and said “What up Bitch.”
    And I was all, Bitch? Excuse me?! Have we just reached a new level of crazy, and I missed it. I mean, you may have just interrupted a conversation between me and my new sling backs, but I at least I don’t go around calling perfect strangers the B-word. (Especially when they are so clearly of the feline persuasion.)

     
  10. Kitty

    March 21, 2009 at 6:08 am

    PS: Thanks for adding me to your blog roll… You’re a sweetie pie! I will happily return the favor. I’m in a sunshine-induced, blogging-blackout at the moment, but I am planning on leaving Florida and making a return to the real world at some point. Much Love!

     
    • saturdayjane

      March 21, 2009 at 6:39 am

      No problem! I adore your blog! I was happy to add it. 🙂

      I’m stunned that a woman would just say that to you, out of the blue! I would have no idea what to say! I’d be tempted to hurl insults back at her, even if she didn’t mean it offensively!

       
  11. K

    March 24, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Confession… I refer to myself as a bitch every now and then. Women are labeled “bitches” for being assertive, independent, or willing to take charge. Owning the fact that I am all of those things (and hence, a bitch) takes the term away from people who want to use it in a mean way. I’d rather be a bitch than a doormat. Though I can see how it can sound… weird. Very thought-provoking post.

    Now that I’m on your Grown Up Blog, I’ll have to comb your archives. Well done! Yay!

    Oh, and have fun on break!

     

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