Let’s hear it for the bitchez!

I was at an excellent Emily’s List event yesterday where we talked about women and writing. After the panel one of the participants approached the group to tell us about a book she was working on called ‘dealing with bitches’ (I looked it up and it’s not called that here). She wanted to get stories from us ‘nice women’ about times in our lives when we’ve had to deal with ‘bitches’

Her question raised a bunch of questions in my mind and I wanted to ask, what makes a ‘bitch’ and what makes a ‘nice woman’? Are they each sitting on either end of our perpetual women’s seesaw, where the angels dangle in the ear while we bitches are stuck with our feet in the mud?

I mean, it was pretty interesting because earlier we’d been talking about Julia Gillard and why people didn’t like her because she doesn’t fit into any of the stereotypes that we expect women to. Then here we were, an hour later, being asked about ‘bitches’. The ‘bitch’ is, of course, the ultimate traitor to womanliness and the sacrificial Madonna.

I did what any modern woman would I came home and asked twitter (or the twitter to some of you) what they thought. I got some great responses (including from Clementine Ford, that’s right, we talk) that have lead me to want to sing loud and clear.

Let’s hear it for the bitchez.

If what makes a bitch, a bitch, is being assertive (or aggressive, as so many ‘feminists’ seem to term it) being smart, being engaged, being honest and direct and (worst of all) being powerful then let’s hear it for the bitches.

I was watching Political Animals, a new miniseries in America, where the main character (the female secretary of state) says, “Never call a bitch, a bitch, us bitches don’t like that” but I’m not so sure.

I don’t think I much like the idea of reclaiming the word ‘bitch’ (though I’ve never been too offended by it) but I do think that we as women need to think about what we’re really saying when we talk about ‘bitches’

Are we saying she’s too strong, too assertive, too loud, expects too much or just has something that we wish we could have?  Or does a ‘bitch’ posses those ‘masculine’ qualities that women aren’t meant to possess?

If being a ‘nice woman like us’ means being feminine and quiet, beating around the bush and playing second fiddle then how is that nice at all?

What do you all think? Will you put your hands up for the bitchez?







5 thoughts on “Let’s hear it for the bitchez!

  1. What I Wish I'd Known About Sex

    I’d been thinking about this alot in thepast few weeks watching the vitriolJulia from masterchef attracted. She was called a bitch and it was an running joke on twitter that she was a robot. All because she spoke her mind and didn’t appear to be overly emotive

  2. Not a bitch.

    I think you missed the point about ‘dealing with bitches’. Often in the workplace, and indeed in life, it’s women keeping women down. I don’t know if you’ve encountered them but there are plenty of nasty women who are threatened by women who are ‘too strong, too assertive, too loud’. I’d argue that those girls are the bitches, and that as women we need to find a way to deal with them as a sisterhood.

  3. beeankha

    I disagree on the author’s definition of a bitch, I think because I use it in two senses, one which is powerful, dangerous, etc and one just to mean a female who is being nasty for no good reason except maybe insecurities. (but these two can overlap and coincide and i like the beauty in that). I don’t feel the author’s definition covers it all. Also, i feel uneasy about bitch meaning possession of “masculine” qualities. I like bitch because it’s feminine and conveys the idea of feminine wrath and i don’t like it being associated with the masculine at all.. but also i hate when males use it coz i don’t think they understand or can fully appreciate a bitch in all her complex glory, but also, i don’t like being called a bitch when i’m not doing anything intentionally nasty to warrant that title. but in certain contexts i like claiming that title as a powerful one. but anyway, that’s my opinion about what that word means to me….

  4. beeankha

    And yeah with what “not a bitch” said, being assertive and strong etc is DEFINITELY NOT the same as the nasty snide-y underhanded backstabbing untrustworthy jealous, pathetic type of bitchiness that everybody hates, and in that context bitch can be very insulting, because it implies that underhanded nastiness. I feel this type of bitching generally indicates a person with big issues with themselves, and sometimes, thankfully it is possible to deal with a person presenting this way with patience and compassion, but other times a person can be so blinded by whatever is making them act this way that they can be near impossible to get through to…… sometimes a bitch is that way coz they have a hatred for themselves and push everyone else away, bitchiness may be their defense mechanism. then on the other hand, sometimes you may be full of a feminine rage (may or may not be totally justified) but using the title of bitch in the sense of “you may not like me, but i don’t give a shit!” can be powerful and indicate an assertiveness which is on the aggressive side of the spectrum.. like a she-wolf or dragon, which i think are powerful, noble symbols. I dunno, it’s a complex thing… a person, being human and flawed, can be both wise and majestic and powerful, but also selfish and foolish and vulnerable…

    1. beeankha

      Oh yeah, and also from experience, being kind and non-judgemental to someone who to everyone else may be a bitch and cause a lot of angst… someone from my high school who got on the bad side of many other girls in the year level as well as many teachers… she came up to me a few years after school and kept giving me these massive, heart-felt compliments and hugs, as if to say thank you and i felt really touched because she had noticed my quiet kindness and had appreciated it.


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