How many times have we all heard this used nonchalantly; as a term of endearment, a denigration, a judgment, or used for its actual denotation, female dog (not often). I cringe every time I hear it, but then accidentally say it when I’m driving and get a bout of road rage. The thing is, that the word and it’s use toward women, is a reprehensible step backwards to the mentality of woman/female as second class citizen.  The term in its general sense and usage, is meant in derogatory fashion to a woman and how acceptable it has become in our society, is unacceptable. Let’s think of the extent to which this term/insult is denigrating; it is aimed toward a man, when the man is subordinate or a “wuss.” WHOA! Have you ever seen how insulted men are when someone calls them a little bitch? Them is fightin’ words!  In the general sense that it is used toward women though, it’s fine? It’s so common it must be, right? Many women call other women, bitches. In other words, the general connotation of the term bitch is toward a woman who is successful, knows what she wants and goes for it, doesn’t take shit from anyone, doesn’t conform to social norms and is self-confident. Usually those women; the tough ones, ambitious and sometimes a little bossy maybe (and so they’ve earned it), or the not so sugary-sweet-type, are labeled as “bitches.” This idea enrages me. I hate to state the cliché here, but this is a total double-standard we see, yet again, as women.

A bitch-slap is meant to humiliate someone. Bitch is used by men (and unfortunately other women), at women to put them in their place. Here are just a few snippets of the many definitions the urban dictionary gives the word, Bitch.

  • An exceedingly whipped guy who does/wears/thinks/says whatever his girlfriend tells him to.
  • A woman that doesn’t give a flying f*ck anymore and that can and will be cruel to men ~ Cruel to men?! And what about when she did give a flying fuck? How would she be different? And why doesn’t she give a flying fuck anymore, maybe because a man deserved the cruelty? Oh but no, he couldn’t have done anything, she is just a bitch regardless!
  • A woman who would say things that if she were a man, she would be confronted or assaulted. (using her position as a woman as a shield) ~ Ha! That’s my favorite, because women cannot either: protect or defend themselves in any way, and/or use our inalienable right to free speech .
  • A women with a bad attitude ~ According to who?

Now of course some women have turned this seeming insult around and embraced it as an empowering thing now. I guess if you can’t stop people from saying it, then use it against them! I just ask that you think before the next time you’re thinking of saying it out loud. We don’t want to unconsciously perpetuate any denigration toward women, especially women to other women insults! Let’s stop making this so culturally acceptable and become more conscious about it.  When it comes down to it, we are negatively affecting others and ingraining the implication of it into our own psyches when we use this term. I was with a man, that at the beginning of our relationship, would call women bitches right in front of me (and of course as an insult)! I was so utterly appalled and infuriated, that I ripped him a new asshole right then and there (and had to several times)!  As soon as I explained to him what he was doing, how degrading and insulting that was and the significance of his repulsive behavior, he stopped saying it.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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