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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
An interesting conversation occurred recently on Twitter. I was joking about my bad attitude, and said, “My attitude stems from ‘you’re calling me a bitch like that’s a BAD thing.'”
I was surprised to learn there are still women for whom that word has a sting and a bite.
When I was in college, I read (in Cosmo of all places) an article on the word “bitch,” which pretty much said that men use it as a term to put uppity women in their place. You know, like when we’re being strong, and assertive, and standing up for ourselves.
That was the point when I decided that the word bitch would never bother me, because I wanted to be a strong woman.
Of course, I spent several years confused about the term “strong woman” and precisely what that meant, (Note to my college aged self: You’re doing it completely wrong.) but eventually I came to terms with what it meant to me to be a strong woman, and I’ve been working on it ever since.
A couple years after college I came upon Elizabeth Wurtzel’s book Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women (I’m amazed that the cover on the current version is toned done from the cover on the version I have, which I love. How did a book praising strong women get its cover toned down?), which reinforced that idea.
…I intend to do what I want to do and be whom I want to be and answer only to myself: that is, quite simply, the bitch philosophy…
Here’s the thing, it’s not shocking for a man to believe and act in such a manner, but–even today–we’re still fighting over what feminism is or should be or who should make the sammich. (Every time I see one of the arguments I want to shut all participants in a very small, very dark basement, for a very long time.)
We can have all the debates about gender equality and sexism and male privilege we want, but it seems to me that as long as women are called bitches for saying what they think and for standing up for what they believe, it’s pretty clear what the state of things really is.
Misogyny still exists. Some of us still deal with it Every Single Day. And as long as it does I’ll willingly and proudly take the title of bitch. I will not sit down and shut up and be nice, just because that’s what society expects me to do.
I will laugh loudly. I will be brash and outspoken. I will tell you my opinion and you are free to debate me but you have to use rational arguments and logic. I will stand up tall and make my presence known and not stand in a corner waiting to be acknowledged.
I will continue be a bitch, and I’ll continue to proud to be called one.