The other day I had a conversation with my mother about the way women are perceived. We talked a lot about things like wage gap and different treatment for different genders, and a lot of important things. One of the things we had more of a debate on, was the word bitch.
For the most part, bitch is seen as a derogatory word that is used to degrade women. It was originally used to specify female dogs, and has become a word for strong women. If she’s bossy or in command, she’s a bitch. If she’s a powerhouse, or she’s working hard at her career, she’s a bitch. My mother hates the word; she doesn’t want to hear it or be called it, but she has.
I am aware of the connotations of the word bitch, but I am also aware of the strength that language receives from us. If we let that word have power over us, it will continue to. Now, I’m not suggesting we call everyone a bitch, but I think if we change the way we use it, it can slowly become just another word.
When my mother and I were talking, she said something along the lines of, “it’s assumed that women bitch about their jobs, but I know that Scot bitches constantly about his job, more than I do about mine!” I find that problematic. That is an instance where “whining” could be used instead of “bitching.” Making changes to our language like that, will start to remove that connotation.
Another way “bitch” is used, is to call men pathetic. My cousin plays a lot of first person shooters online. I have noticed that the way to insult a dude who is playing poorly, is to call him a “bitch” or a “pussy.” What about “baby?” To be completely honest, my pussy can take a kick far better than balls can, and my female dog can rip your throat out. Neither are weak, and we need to stop speaking of them as if they are. So use baby; babies are weak little creatures that can’t fend for themselves in any way at all! So if someone isn’t being a team player online, he or she is a baby, definitely not a bitch or pussy.
I think the connotations of language are incredibly interesting. “Fuck” is one of my words because even though I use it rather casually, it still gets looks from people. Due to it’s connotation, I don’t use it around people I respect, or around children. But in casual conversation, I’ll say it. “Cunt” is another word that gets an explosion of a reaction. I was playing Mad Libs with a couple of my adult male friends on our way home from New York Comic Con, and I used cunt as my word when it was my turn. The guy who was writing the words asked me if I was sure I wanted to use it, and the dude in front of me turned around in shock. Erica Moen (one of the most inspiring and phenomenal creators out there) refers to her vagina as a “battle hardened cunt” because she requires a lot when it comes to clitoral stimulation (I learned this from her NSFW web-comic, Oh Joy Sex Toy) and I love that. “Cunt” is a vagina, and it should be used that way.
Fangirls, I’m all about language. It intrigues me how scared some people get of words, but at the same time, it drives me up the wall when people use derogatory words. So remember; she’s not “bitching,” she’s “whining.” If she’s playing poorly, she’s not a “bitch” or a “pussy,” she’s a “baby.” Use your words wisely, and show respect.
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