When They Call Me a Bitch

bitchologyToday is Monday, January 20, 2014.

Being a Bitch mans …I stand up for myself and my beliefs.I stand up for those I love.
I speak my mind, think my own thoughts, or do things my way.
I won’t compromise what’s in my heart.
I live my life MY way.
I won’t allow anyone to step on me.
I refuse to tolerate injustice.
It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be me.

So try to stomp on me, douse my inner flame, squash eery ounce of beauty I hold within.
You won’t succeed.
And if that makes me a Bitch, so be it.
I embrace the title and I’m proud to be a Bitch.

Depending on how old you are, what culture you live in, the word “bitch” will have different meanings and associations for you.  What I’m going to talk about here is the meaning it has for me, as I can’t really address the other meanings.

A dictionary will tell you that a bitch is a female dog, wolf, fox or otter.  When I was growing up, you could call a girl a bitch, but you couldn’t use that term for a guy.  (All that’s changed, now, but that’s another story.)  The insult was originally intended to convey that a human female was acting or had acted like a female dog.  If you know anything about female dogs in heat, you know that they are not choosy if a male dog is around.  Dogs get right down to business, and they don’t care where they are, who’s watching, or what anybody thinks.  Either of them.

Humans are supposed to be different, at least in the society I live in here in the United States.  There’s a point in sexual behavior beyond which a couple should be in private quarters to continue.  We just aren’t supposed to fornicate in public.  Humans also have some rules, some written and others unwritten, about whom you can have sex with.  There are age restrictions so that children will not be abused.  There are taboos against incest.  There used to be laws against sex with someone not of your own race, but of course, we all know who could and couldn’t routinely ignore those rules.  There are also laws against having sex with a same-sex partner, but these are being relaxed in some places.  There are rules against having non-consensual sex.  Whether you agree or disagree with the rules, you have to admit, at least, that we do have rules.  That’s what makes humans different from other animals.

OK, so if a human woman has casual sex with whomever, wherever, whenever, regardless of the rules, she’s a bitch, because she’s acting like a female dog.  That’s the root of the insult.

At some point, however, probably before I was born (but you couldn’t have told that by the media, because it was censored), men began to call women a bitch for other reasons.  This happens so predictably that it would be funny if it weren’t so demeaning.

Every woman has had this experience, or knows someone who has.  Some guy invites a woman to have sex with him, either with words or body language, usually crudely, and often in public.  When she refuses, the first thing she gets called is a bitch.  Why?  It isn’t because she’s acting like a female dog, that’s for sure.  So what is it?

It’s because she’s not playing his game. This can be applied to any situation.  If you don’t do what the guy wants you to do, you can count on being called a bitch.  You can also count on being called a cow, a slut, or a whore, and being told that you’re fat and ugly.

This can be very hurtful, but when you realize that the man is simply telling you that he’s angry because you’re not playing his game, whatever it is, it’s a little easier to stomach the insult.  The key is not to take it personally, and to realize that you have just succeeded in getting the guy to take “no” for an answer.

Of course, the meaning of “bitch” has widened to mean anyone who is opposing you, which is why young people will call anyone of either sex a bitch.  The meaning now becomes a person who is opposing you, a hateful, spiteful, difficult or unpleasant person.

I’m going to acknowledge, here, that I’m not dealing with the usage of the word “bitch” to mean any woman at all, or to mean someone who is subservient.  If that’s what you mean when you call me a bitch or address me as Bitch, then I reject that label, and I won’t wear it.

But if you call me a bitch because I’m not giving you your way, I beg you to think why I’m not giving you your way.  Maybe it’s because I value myself too much to act like a doormat.  Maybe it’s because I would rather not engage in sex at a purely animal level.   Maybe it’s because I don’t agree with you.  Maybe it’s because I’m not following your rules.  Maybe it’s because I’m insisting on being taken seriously.  Maybe it’s because I insist on being heard.  Maybe it’s because I’ve just expressed an opinion that’s contrary to yours, or contrary to what is “accepted” at the present time.  Maybe it’s because I’m not taking your advice, no matter how well-meaning.  Maybe it’s because I’m holding out, because I’m refusing to “settle.”

Maybe you think I’m rejecting you, but here’s what I’m really rejecting:  I’m rejecting the idea that I’m a plaything that you can use whenever you want to, either for sexual enjoyment or for making you feel more masculine, when you obviously don’t give a rat’s ass how I feel.  I’m rejecting the notion that it’s OK for men to have sex with whomever, wherever and whenever just because.  I’m rejecting the idea that I have to agree with you.

I’m rejecting your attempt to control me.  I’m rejecting your use of power to make me do something, or to prevent me from doing something,   I’m rejecting your belittling attitude and the way you express that attitude.

I’m rejecting the concept that if I’m expected to do all the housework and take care of the kids, even if I have a full-time job, and you don’t.  I’m rejecting the insinuation that men deserve some kind of medal for agreeing to help with the daily housework or being in charge of the kids for a while. I’m rejecting the idea that there is a limit to what I can do, just because I’m wearing a female body. I’m rejecting that idea that I should do all the work so you can get all the credit.  I’m rejecting the concept that I have to be the one to give in, to make the sacrifices, to take care of all the details that will keep our relationship going, but you don’t have to lift a finger.  I’m rejecting the notion that it’s my job to make you happy.

I’m rejecting your need to be right, to be in control, and to be totally free of any restrictions or commitments, no matter how unrealistic a proposition that is.  I’m rejecting your assumption that you should get your way all the time, that my needs and wants don’t count.  I’m rejecting the idea that I should do all the work in a relationship, while you just sit back and reap all the benefits.

Maybe you think that I’m taking away your power, when I’m really just taking back my power.  Maybe you think I’m trampling on your “rights,” when I’m really just standing up for my own rights.  Maybe you think I’m putting you down, when I’m really just trying to pull myself up. Maybe you think I’m disrespecting you, when I’m really just insisting that you respect me.  Maybe you think I’m taking away some of your control, when I’m really just learning to control my own destiny.

I don’t think like you do, and that’s OK.  I don’t solve problems the way you do, but I solve them. I don’t agree with you all the time; I have my own opinions.  I can work with you or against you.  I can be your partner or your opposition, but I sure as hell won’t be your doormat.

You may think I’m being a loudmouth, but I’m simply speaking out, because I’m tired of ignoring this issue any longer.  And if that makes me a Bitch, then so be it.

There are some sites online where people are beginning to speak out when they see incidences of sexism, and where women (and men!) are invited to speak out on the issue of sexism, especially the “daily” kind that happens when we react to people and situations in old-fashioned ways that no longer serve us as a species.   Remember that this isn’t a Republican problem or a Democrat problem.  It’s not just political, and it’s not just economic.  It’s a whole, underlying worldview that no longer serves our growth (if, indeed it ever did.)  It is an insidious, subconscious belief system that holds women back, rather than allowing women to pull their own weight in this world.  It is a belief system that we need to change, because until it changes, women will never get equal pay or have equal rights with men.  It needs to change before we can dispense with the glass ceiling that keeps women out of positions of power and influence. Like a lot of other changes, it must begin with individuals opening their eyes, becoming aware, and deciding not to ignore the issue anymore.  It begins with people deciding to speak up rather than let something pass when it’s clearly not right.

What can you do?

First, take a look at this article. Scroll down and read what women have had to say, and ask yourself if you have had this experience, or whether you have perpetrated this sort of thing on a woman:  19 Examples  of Everyday Sexism  It’s important to hone our awareness of this issue to the point where the slightest example of sexism becomes obvious.  Otherwise, nothing will change.  All changes begin with awareness.

Then go to this site and read what some more people have written, and write your own, if you have something to add.The Everyday Sexism Project  Tell your story; don’t hide it under a bushel.  The time to speak out is now.

Next, go to this site for some ideas about what to do about the issue.  Stop Sexist Remarks: Creating Change One Conversation at a Time  Get involved.  Show your support.  Check out the “tools.”

Don’t forget to click on the link provided in the above page.  Here it is:  Top Five Things You Can Do To Prevent Sexist Remarks   Start talking about the issue with just one person.  There is strength in numbers.

I don’t hate men.  I hate mindless sexism.  We can work together.  We can work it out.  🙂

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