Bitch is a derogatory term, an insult. It’s not a badge of honor. It’s not cute. And it sure as hell isn’t empowering. It is a sexist term, meant to put women down. A bitch is a dog, and as much as I love dogs, I don’t think the term was ever intended to be used as a compliment.
BITCH. A she dog, or doggess; the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore. ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1811]
Bitch is just one of the many animal-related terms used to denigrate or objectify women: bitch, chick, pussy, tail, barracuda, shrew, cow…I’m sure there are others.
I enjoy Bitch magazine but dislike the title. I don’t think “reclaiming” or attempting to redefine negative words as positive ones ever works. If anything, I think using the word “bitch” as a magazine title only furthers the stereotype that feminists are angry, irrational creatures to be shunned and ignored. (Note to self: Kiss your dream of writing for Bitch magazine goodbye.)
The word “bitch” is tossed about so nonchalantly theses days on T.V., in movies, and in music—and I’m not singling out hip-hop here, it’s everywhere.
What message(s) are we sending our girls? That it’s not OK to be angry? Or to have a bad day? That women are nameless, interchangeable, and disposable?
I see this trend in my everyday life as well. On Facebook, I’m noticing more photos posted, by men and women, with captions like, “Shopping with my bitches” or “My best bitches.” Sometimes, the word “bitch” is followed with a heart or a smiley face, just to let the rest of us know they mean bitch in the nicest possible sense of the word. Please.
Repeat after me: Bitch is not a synonym for woman.
I vow to eliminate this word from my vocabulary (future rants exempted, of course), and I hope you’ll join me.
Violence against women is at an all-time high. Sexist language sends the message that women are less then fully human, and can help perpetuate violence.
From here on out, let’s all agree to call female adult human beings by the appropriate term: woman. Are you with me?
Isn’t it Time Women Stopped Calling Each Other ‘Bitch?’ by Dori Hartley on ParentDish
Calling Yourself “Bitch” is NOT Empowerment, by Kristen King on Kristenking.com
Photo by Discofiasko on Flickr