Posted by: katelynclark12 | January 23, 2015

Is it Really that Bad?

“Bitch is the New Black” a statement said by Tina Fey, during the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. This statement was said when Hillary Clinton was trying to run for the presidency in 2008. Following that statement, they went onto say “Bitches get things done,”  and then said that both her and Amy Poehler were bitch and people just had to deal with it. This reminded a lot of what we were discussing today, and for myself, I wonder why can’t women take the work “Bitch” and turn it into more of a positive thing? Can there be sort of a re-branding of the term, can we make it so that it can’t be used in such of a negative way. I mean, the actual term means female dog, so how did we even end up here with such a negative view of the word?

What makes a women a bitch? Is it when a woman is being strong and independent and doesn’t take any crap? Or a woman who sets high expectation and standards with what they want in their life? To me, that should be a woman that you should look up too. The one who is fighting her way up to the top and striving to be the best. This is not someone society should be tearing down, but a person that a little girl could admire.

Does it have to be a bad thing? So instead of being offended when called a bitch, I could turn around and say “Thank you, I guess that means I’m a strong woman who isn’t going to back down because of gender stereotypes.” I chose to be a “Bitch” then, if it means I can chase my dreams to the the very top.

This is the short clip of the Weekend Update from SNL~


Responses

  1. I love what you have to say about bitch being a compliment. Often, I find that the word bitch is used by someone who has been given negative feedback by the female leader. In this case, bitch is meant to be an insult but means that the woman has a backbone and is not afraid of using her justifiable power. If I was that leader, I know that I would want to possess those agentic traits that are commonly associated with the term “bitch” but I still would never want to be called a bitch. Although there is a changing meaning and some positive meaning to the term, I do not think it will ever completely lose its use as an insult. While I may find it to be a compliment from a close friend on a particularly assertive and positive action made, I still feel that it would be an insult if said from the perspective of a follower or subordinate. In my opinion, we should not need a word like bitch to describe a woman taking on typically masculine traits. My question is this: Why can’t we just call her a good leader or use more descriptive words to compliment her leadership style and get rid of the word “bitch” all together?

  2. I love this. In my personal experience at work, I often am called a “bitch” and people telling me that I need to “fuck off” simply for doing my job and not wavering in upholding work policy or “letting things slide”. It really is often that a female in a leadership position is called a bitch simply for doing her job. I think it is a great idea to respond to the word in a positive or way that empowers women instead of degrading them. It truly is an ingenious idea. Whenever I or someone I know is called a bitch, it makes you feel weak. It pulls down your self esteem because it is an attack on your personal character and the person you have worked so hard to become since birth. I find it really naive to think that we can eradicate the word bitch because no matter who you are or how hard you try there will always be someone out there trying to dull your shine. So instead of ignoring it, I think it is intuitive to think of the word in an empowering way. Thinking of myself, I would much prefer to say that I am a boss ass bitch than a mean, incompetent bitch. It is all a matter of perception. Who knows, maybe if we can change the meaning, one day it could be a good thing?

  3. When I hear the word bitch I think of several definitions. It is a word that is thrown around to describe: something basic, something or someone that is unpleasant, a person that is treated like a servant, or used to whine. The other definition is an insult used by men and women to undermine, shame, or hurt a target. It is classic bullying. What I see in Tina Fey, Hillary Clinton, and Amy Poehler are three women who get things done. They are women who we see and admire. These women are changing things, and that is threatening to a society that doesn’t want to see a female president or laugh at a woman’s jokes. The word is an insult, but more and more we see all women being called a bitch. The word loses its sting once every powerful women is seen as a bitch. It is what you say to bullying, that it is a way to make someone feel inferior. To bring someone down a notch. It is effective, but that woman is probably doing something right. She might be causing a change in the way women are usually seen. Yes it hurts but lets be real, if Tina Fey is proud to be one she makes it feel like a good thing. So one day it may be.

  4. I think that women are referred to as bitches because when a woman is seen as strong and aggressive it is assumed to be a bad thing. Instead of commending a woman on how great she is doing and how she is leading society assumes that she is being overly aggressive and pushy, making her a bitch. I don’t know if it is possible to rebrand the word and I don’t know if we should. I would hope that instead of having to accept being called a nasty name, eventually we will just be called strong women. The word is insult and we shouldn’t have to accept these circumstances. If men don’t get insulted when they are assertive women should not have to accept getting insulted. It is interesting to think that people like leaders who show those strong agentic traits but when a woman does show these traits she is called a nasty name. Can women find the balance between being assertive and being a so called bitch? and do we have to find a balance, it doesn’t seem fair that women have to bend and break to not be a “bitch” but still remain an assertive leader.

  5. Fantastic insight to Tina Fey’s argument! Also has any one else realized that there are way more insults for women than there are for men? That even on the grounds of cussing and swearing at each other men have an uneven advantage over women? What hurts me the most is that these terms are thrown around daily and in such casual context. The work bitch could mean a horrible woman or just simply a friend depending on the context. If these negative stereotypes continue to persist in society then the fight for equality will never be changed. I really love what Katelyn said her and I agree with her whole heartedly. If being a bitch means being a kick ass woman then I’m in!

  6. My roommate and I discuss this almost constantly. My roommate has a poster hanging on her wall that says “Feminist Bitch. Deal with it.” I think that women have been re-branding the word for a while, but it still has the power to have negative consequences. I think that if a woman chooses to use the word to describe herself as confident or aggressive then it can definitely be a good thing. However, if a man or another woman uses the term to demean a woman then it can really have a negative impact on her as a person. I think that, as with anything, using terms like “bitch” is a fine line as to what is and isn’t appropriate. In my opinion, you should never use it to describe someone unless you have their consent.

  7. It’s interesting to think about the diction we use today and where the meaning stems from the terms we only to refer to either a man or a woman. A man isn’t typically called a “bitch” because that’s a term usually referred to a woman. If a man however is called by the term, it usually implies a different meaning than when a woman is called the term. A man called that name usually depicts that man as being cowardly or also unfortunately related to as feminine, which is implied to be an insult. Being a “bitch” shouldn’t have a negative stigma, but the re-branding of that term is a great approach in my opinion. Although I am not fond of the word, I understand that it is most likely never going to be nonexistent, and changing the perception of the term and giving it an actual meaning could in some ways also make the word less used and emphasized in our society together. Thus, hopefully another word, with a more positive perception initially could in return be more universal of the definition of “bitch.” Only time will tell the telling of the word.

  8. I love that you brought up how “bitch” has become so prevalent in everyday language today. While it has and probably will continue to be used as an insult, it’s also taken on a different, more positive meaning also. My favorite version of “bitch” empowerment is the phrase “Head Bitch In Charge.” HBIC is phrase used to describe strong female leaders who aren’t afraid to take charge when they need to. I think it’s interesting that Jessica pointed out that men are usually never called a “bitch,” unless it’s in a degrading fashion. “Bitch” in the male sense refers to being weak or delicate, never used as a word of empowerment like it is for women. I had a discussion with my roommates tonight about how profanity is designed to get a rise out of the person being sworn at. Without the reaction of shock, fear, or anger, the words become pointless. While I think “bitch” is seen as a negative word by some, women have the ability to take back the word and transform the definition into something positive and powerful!

  9. I don’t think that women have the power to take the word bitch back, when they are using it still to this day as a negative word. Countless time in my life I have heard women call other women” a bitch”. I don’t think that it is a man against woman issue. I think it is a woman against woman issue. Women are other women’s worst critics. Why do we judge other women so harshly and quickly? In my opinion, women use the word much more often than men in a negative light against each other. They only way we are going to “take back” that word is if we stop using it. Because women use that word to describe each other, it is only making it okay for men to use it to describe women. I got this idea from a movie you may have heard of, Mean Girls. To quote Tina Fey, “”You’ve got to stop calling each other bitches and whores, that just makes it ok for men to do it.”


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