A Facebook quiz that tested “How much of a BITCH are you?” recently made the rounds. I took it, not because I was confused as to my degree of bitchiness, but because I was curious as to what questions are used to determine bitch magnitude.
Questions ranged from “How often do you complain about traffic?” to “What would you do if a kid shoved your kid at the playground?” The answers were pretty fair measures of your reactionary levels…from the “I freak out at the tiniest little thing, Bitch” to the “I’m calm and know how to speak my mind, Bitch.”
I was a “Balanced Bitch” as I knew I would be.
What surprised me were the reactions men had to these bitch quizzes popping up on their Facebook feeds. A 50% Balanced Bitch would get several comments, like…
50% is way too much bitch!
A bitch is a bitch, and no bitch is good!
Why do women feel they have to act like a bitch?
Why do women think being a bitch is a good thing?
So, I thought I’d write this blog post to answer just those questions. Let’s first start with the meaning of the word bitch.
Bitch originated as a noun used to describe a female dog, wolf, fox or otter. It morphed into a derogatory term used to describe pretty much any woman who pisses you off.
According to Merriam Webster, a bitch is: a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman—sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse.
“Bitch!” he screams, as he throws you out of his car.
“Bitch!” he yells as he punches you first in the stomach and then hard across the jaw.
“Bitch!” he taunts as he breaks your heart…and your bones…in two.
So, is it any wonder that women are taking this word…this dirty, defamatory, humiliating word…and reappropriating it as a term of empowerment?
To the enlightened woman, bitch is no longer a nasty nickname. Bitch means, baby you’ve got balls.
When you call me bitch, I hear foxy lady.
We are reappropriating the bitch, and she is confident, outspoken, articulate and expressive of her opinions. When someone insults her, she doesn’t just smile pretty and take it. Oh no, she steps up to the plate and hits a home run.
When we say bitch, we aren’t talking about the sister who’s malicious, vindictive, mean or spiteful…we have another word for that. We are talking about the sister who stands up for herself in a mature, womanly manner.
So men, when you ask, “Why do women feel like they’ve got to act like a bitch?” here’s why… because sometimes we REALLY DO HAVE TO. The world is not as safe for a woman. We are routinely talked down to, stripped bare, taken advantage of, and altogether not taken seriously. And while I always recommend starting nice, if a lady isn’t getting what she needs, then it’s time to add some spice to that nice.
Let’s face it, sugars…sometimes, we’ve got to get our bitch face on. Let’s wear it with pride!
And fellas, don’t make your woman feel ashamed for upleveling her bitch every now and again. That just means you’ve got a good woman who knows how to take care of herself.
I’ll never forget the look of scorn my then-boyfriend gave me when he saw the book, “Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women” by Elizabeth Wertzel, sitting on my coffee table. It’s not a book about how to be a bitch; it’s just a collection of essays exploring what it means to be a sexual woman with a feminist bent in today’s world.
Seeing the disdain flashing warning signals in his eyes, I remarked, “My roomie is reading it.” Which was 100% truth.
“Really?” he said, not believing me. “That doesn’t seem like her kind of book.”
Ouch. A metaphorical kick in the stomach. So, in other words, a book titled “Bitch” seems like my kind of read…and she’s what…an angel?
At the time I was hurt. My roommate and I had very different moral standards and reactions, and I was definitely more the angel!
My roommate believed it was okay to steal a man from another woman. BITCH IN A SERIOUSLY BAD WAY. My roommate likewise held that cheating was acceptable. CHEATER. My roommate could not hold down a long-term relationship past six months. EMOTIONAL RETARD. And who slammed the doors when they were pissed? SHE DID. But yet, I was the bitch?
I didn’t say any of this out loud…my bitch had lost her bark. I just smiled and took it. 😳 It’s easy to do…when you’re in love with the wrong type of guy who doesn’t appreciate your va-va-voom bitch.
So here’s my bitchy truth: My roomie may have pulled the book down from the shelf, but it was my book, I owned it, just like I own the word bitch.
As for all those other demeaning meanings of bitch…well, they really just apply to one scenario. Prison bitch. I’ll let the boys have that one.