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?