I’ve never been prouder to be a real bitch. And you should too.
Now, I know there are some people that will say “What? She’s SO nice. She’s no bitch”. They are most likely the fortunate ones that have never felt my wrath over the years. And then there may be some that will say, “You’re welcome, bitch face” when and if they see this post. And may then go on to count, list and share the reasons why they KNOW I should take the first prize blue (bitch) ribbon. Maybe it’s that face of mine that always lets people know where they stand with me. A true resting bitch face. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t (usually) let people walk over me (I added the “usually” in there because I sadly admit I have allowed it at times — when it’s involved the beautifully wrapped boxes of shit I’ve dated over the years and saw for too long through rose colored glasses. Apparently even shit looks good with a rose colored patina. What a stupid bitch…). But most of all, it’s when I’ve either disagreed with someone — or called them out for their shitty behavior. No one likes that. And frankly, regardless of whether it’s being directed to a man or woman — they like it a lot less and take it much worse when it comes from a woman.
Yes, I did just say that. I strongly believe it to be true. Men and women are still viewed differently when it comes to voicing their opinions, disagreeing with someone or when giving criticism. It’s very sad. And I’m pretty fucking tired of it.
For shits and giggles — I looked up the definition of “bitch” online. According to Wikipedia, the slang definition of the word “bitch” is as follows:
Bitch, literally meaning a female dog, is a pejorative slang word for a person — usually a woman — who is belligerent, unreasonable, malicious, a control freak, rudely intrusive or aggressive. When applied to a man, bitch is a derogatory term for a subordinate. Its original use as a vulgarism, documented from the fifteenth century, suggested high sexual desire in a woman, comparable to a dog in heat. The range of meanings has expanded in modern usage. In a feminist context, it can indicate a strong or assertive woman.
So basically, a woman that is strong and assertive — falls into the same category as, or could be easily confused with a woman that is belligerent, rude, malicious and unreasonable. And a dog in heat. Lovely.
All kidding (and my dramatics) aside — there are a few things I want to seriously point out here.
Observation #1: Admittedly, I have called or thought of other women as bitches for being the first part of the definition — and you know you have too. There’s nothing pleasant about having to deal with someone that is belligerent, rude, malicious and unreasonable — regardless of whether they have a P or a V. I do my best to avoid it, but as much as we all try to limit those exchanges — there will be a time we are faced with those types of people and we have to figure out how to handle it. More on this in a bit.
Observation #2: When I read this, I did actually chuckle at the thought of calling a man a bitch. And yes, I admit I have done that too. But because of being “subordinate”? Really? Do we all still really think of women as subordinates in society?
Observation #3: There is a real difference between being “aggressive” and “assertive”. And this is what actually bugs me the most about the bitch label. Someone AGGRESSIVE is combative, hostile, argumentative — and violent. Someone ASSERTIVE is confident, authoritative, bold and strong willed. The meanings are different and I think that we are often blurring the lines between these two words. Especially when we refer to a woman who is simply being assertive — as a bitch.
I would absolutely describe myself as being assertive. I’m strong willed. I voice my opinion. I’m independent. I defend myself. And I’d like to think that I do it in a manner respectful of those around me. Does this make me a bitch? No, it makes me successful at life. Which is exactly how we would POSITIVELY describe a man acting in exactly the same manner. He would be called “successful”, and revered as such. He would not be described negatively. And I’m really tired of it.
A friend and I were talking about this whole “bitch” label recently. And this is where I’ll go back to my first observation, as promised. I myself have often described certain women as bitches. Why? They were definitely trying to be assertive — but were coming off as rude and unreasonable. They were actually behaving more aggressively and it completely turned me off. Maybe they deserved being called bitches? Not really. I think as women we need to first, understand the difference between these two monikers and work harder at simply being assertive, not aggressive. Unfortunately, many successful women may be aggressive because they have lacked support (maybe even confidence to some degree) and had to work even harder to prove themselves and get to the positions they have. And they find that by maintaining that behavior, by wearing that veil to protect themselves — it prevents the crown from slipping. I can understand it. But that sounds very exhausting to me. And I don’t agree with it at all. There has to be a better way.
So, how about this? Instead of being aggressive, instead of clawing your way to the top, instead of tearing other people down to rise yourself — which I unfortunately witnessed a lot when I worked in the corporate world — we as women need to do a better job supporting each other. Sorry ladies, but I think the boys are a bit better at this than we are. I think we could all do more to help and support the women around us. Give advice, lend a hand, give encouragement. BE HONEST (in caps for a reason, my lovelies…think about it). Share your honest experiences, no covering up because of your own insecurities. Because once you do — you’ll be SHOCKED at how many people around you are going through the same struggles. And most importantly and very simply — be kind. You’ll be surprised at the difference — and improvement — in your daily interactions and relationships once you start letting your guard down just a tiny bit. Let’s allow our softer sides to speak a little more often, even in the workplace. And instead of being aggressive, unreasonable and belligerent — we’ll be seen more as a new kind of B.I.T.C.H. As someone that is Beautiful. Individual. Talented. Caring. And Hardworking. Let’s make the word BITCH become that acronym for these positive qualities we all possess as assertive, strong, independent — and successful — women. Think about it. What would you really have to lose?
So yes, the next time you call me a bitch, I’ll have to absolutely agree — I definitely am this kind of a BITCH. And thanks for saying so.
Want to be a BITCH too? Together with Vented in Brooklyn, we are hosting our first BITCH FEST on Tuesday, May 15th at the Salty Dog in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It will be a great night to meet, network and support some local women that are right there with you and understand where you’re coming from. And yes, there will even be a little shopping available too. Visit our Facebook page, “BITCH, We Got This!” or the following Event Brite link for more information and to register. Oh, and if you liked this post — don’t forget to show some love with those claps (up to 50) so more readers can see this article. Many thanks and hope to see you on May 15th!