Women have tried to reclaim the word “Bitch.” For the record, I don’t think it’s working. Now everyone uses it. It’s all over the place in our language use, even on TV. It has just become more ‘okay’ as part of our everyday vernacular.
Women started to reclaim it and use it instead of having it used against us, but I don’t think that reclaiming is working. It may be in some circles, but in the end I think it’s just adding to the idea that it’s normal everyday speech.
So, what’s the big deal?
What does it mean? Bitch.
Straight from Wikipedia:
The word “bitch“, literally meaning a female dog, is a common slang term in the English language especially used as a denigrating term applied to a person, commonly a woman. It often refers to someone who is belligerent, unreasonable, rudely intrusive or aggressive.
Its original use as a vulgarism, documented to the fourteenth century, suggested high sexual desire in a woman, comparable to a dog in heat. (yikes) The range of meanings has expanded in modern usage.
In a feminist context, it can indicate a strong or assertive woman, one who might make men feel threatened. When applied to a man, “bitch” is a derogatory term for a subordinate.
– curious that it is a derrogatory term for a subordinate when referring to men. Oh yeah, it’s that for women too!
From the online Merriam Webster:
1. the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2. a : a lewd or immoral woman b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3. something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant
I don’t want to be likened to a dog in heat or described as “extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant.” I’m a bitch sometimes. Isn’t everyone? Men too. We all get into bad moods. We all have bad days.
But this word is reserved mostly for women and it’s negative.
Plus, often when we speak up, as women, about something we disagree with or think isn’t okay, we are called bitches. When we are delegating tasks and being strong bosses, we are bitches. This is, I’m sure, part of why women have tried to reclaim the word to mean strong and powerful. But it’s a gendered word and it works against us. Now everyone is using it. It’s all over the place.
Do you even get in trouble in high school for using it? Probably not since it’s on TV and everything. It’s much worse than shit or fuck because of the insidious nature of insult it carries. At this point, I really think it’s working against us and with it, we continue to allow others to define us.
Grrl Code: Don’t call other women bitches. Don’t think the word is okay, strong, or assertive. Be aware of the language used to describe us and how instead of making us stronger, leaves us weaker.