You can talk to me about reclaiming words until you’re blue in the face and I still don’t buy it.
Bitch is not a compliment. On the street, in music and in the boardroom, it’s the word that won’t go away.
According to the dictionary this is the definition of the word:
bitch (bch) n.
1. A female canine animal, especially a dog. 2. a. A woman considered to be spiteful or overbearing. b. A lewd woman. c. A man considered to be weak or contemptible. 3. Slang A complaint. 4. Slang Something very unpleasant or difficult. To complain; grumble. To botch; bungle. Often used with up.
Do you see anything positive in the above definition?
Kanye West, a successful African American entertainer tweeted to the world:
“Perfect Bitch” will be featured on Kanye West’s upcoming Cruel Summer album. Kim Kardashian thought it was great. According to TMZ she is telling friends, “The song talks about how he was with so many other girls but could never find the right one until he met me.” This is something to be proud of? C’mon KIM! How about teaching people respect instead? How about not demeaning your fellow women by using offensive terms “to empower them”? I do not find it empowering to be called or to call someone else “bitch”. I find it offensive. I don’t think I should have to call myself “bitch” before someone else does so I can say, “I reclaimed it.” Embracing the label reinforces its use and makes it acceptable and that’s not okay. It allows people to be comfortable with calling me a name that implies a negative connotation.
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If you knew the meaning you wouldn’t use it! Insulting a woman by calling her a female dog pre-dates the existence of the word bitch itself. The English language historian Geoffrey Hughes suggests the connection came about because of the Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis (Diana in the Roman pantheon) who was often portrayed with a pack of hunting dogs and sometimes transformed into an animal herself. In Ancient Greece and Rome the comparison was a sexist slur equating women to dogs in heat, sexually depraved beasts who grovel and beg for men.
The first serious rise in the usage of bitch begins at 1920 – exactly the same year as another feminist milestone in the United States: suffrage. The 19th amendment to the US constitution was ratified on August 18th, 1920. After decades of struggle, women finally received the right to vote. Women became more public as did their critics. In 1999 best-selling author Elizabeth Wurtzel published Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. In it, she lays out a view of BITCH Manifesto: “I intend to scream, shout, race the engine, call when I feel like it, throw tantrums in Bloomingdale’s if I feel like it and confess intimate details about my life to complete strangers. I intend to do what I want to do and be whom I want to be and answer only to myself: that is, quite simply, the bitch philosophy”
New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas defended his use of the term toward Anucha Browne Sanders, a former Knicks marketing executive who won a sexual harassment against the organization. Bitch is a word we use culturally to describe any woman who is strong, angry, uncompromising and, often, uninterested in pleasing men. We use the term for a woman on the street who doesn’t respond to men’s catcalls. We use it for the woman who has a better job than a man and doesn’t apologize for it. We use it for the woman who doesn’t back down from a confrontation.
Just when is someone going to say, “Don’t call me a bitch!”