Home / Fall 2015 / 2015-12-03 / Bad B*tch or Mad B*tch?

Bad B*tch or Mad B*tch?

Mary Bauer of Addison, Ill., sits in her living room holding her Comcast bill which arrived February 4, 2015, which is addressed to "Super Bitch Bauer." (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Written by Tresia Bowles, Staff Writer

Amazingly, the word “bitch” is still derogatory to women even in the year 2015. Feminists and careless and prideful women have tried many times over to reclaim the word and make it our own, and yet, there are still many women who see the B-word as a fighting word regardless of who says it. There are women who use phrases to make the word positive and women who are not offended when women say it but are when men say which drives an entirely new argument. Either way, it drives this argument; is the B-word still holding women back?

I’ve definitely been in situations that would argue the “yes” side. I’ve seen women fight in the most inappropriate times and places over the word “bitch”. If you don’t believe me just turn on your TV or search YouTube. Reality TV is notorious for using that word as a trigger for an altercation. Shows like “Love and Hip Hop”. “Basketball Wives” and any of the “Real Housewives” franchises can’t go an episode without the word being mentioned. Or if you go to Word Star Hip Hop. Com and search fights, I’d be willing to bet the word “bitch” is used prior to the altercation. Even though these women show how effective the word is, do they truly represent the entire female population? Does this take into account the many times the word “bitch” is used and there is no repercussion? It’s hard to tell, but the media certainly isn’t helping.

As I stated, there are several phrases being used to cultivate the word “bitch”, I’ll name a few. We’ve got “bad bitch” which means a well put together female, typically attractive, curvy, and can dress well. We’ve got “that’s my bitch” as in “that’s a good friend of mine”. Or even “I’m that bitch”, and that means that the female is a boss, powerful, strong, or in charge. Of course there are still some negative phrases such as “basic bitch” which can be used to refer to someone who is not well put together and may have particularly bad physical qualities or financial struggles such as a female who cannot dress, buys cheap clothes, cheap makeup or cannot do their makeup, bad weave, and so on. There’s “resting bitch face” which is my favorite because I’ve been told many times that I have one. I, for one, have accepted that term. However, some women take offense to this because would a man be told the same thing? And lastly “bitchy” or “like a bitch” which can be used on males and females to say they are acting like an upset or mean woman or person in general. “Bitch” in the English Oxford dictionary is defined as “(n.) a female dog, wolf, fox, or otter”, “a spiteful or unpleasant woman”, “a difficult or unpleasant situation or thing” and “a complaint”. And as a verb it defines as “express displeasure; grumble”. This basically says that anyone or anything can bitch or be a bitch, so why is it always associated with women? Perhaps because the original meaning only refers to female animals and that has been internalized for years, since the 15th Century to be exact, and it hasn’t gone away.

Is the situation behind the original meaning of “bitch” driving the reason why some women are comfortable being called “my bitch” by a friend but never by a man?

I can say I’m guilty of that because outside of my lovely gay male friends, I’ve never been comfortable being called a “bitch”, even when it may be an attempt at something positive, but I’m trying to do better. The reason why is because I will gladly sing or rap the lyrics of a song from an artist who is calling a woman a bitch with no problem. I feel hypocritical. There is a bit of a double standard with men and I believe most men are aware of the effects of using that word on a woman. I will say that most of the time that I hear men use “bitch” it is negative. I look forward to a time where women love themselves enough to not even be bothered by that word.

So, are you a bitch? Are you a dog? A good friend? A mean person? A sexy female? We’ve come farther than the 15th Century for sure. Rappers and other musical artists are able to use the word in songs and on stage without riots. Friend are able to call each other “bitches” with no fighting. “Bitch” can be looked at in certain angles as something positive. We, as women, have made so many attempts to reclaim that word, yet we still have far to go. I don’t believe it’s necessarily holding women back, but it leaves a scar. It’s not like we are going to wake up one day in the future and there will be no more fighting over the word “bitch”, but I don’t think it’s the word, it’s simply the meaning behind it. So bitch

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