I’ve been called many things throughout my life, some bad and some good. There’s one thing that I’ve been repeatedly called, though, as both a compliment and an insult. Bitch. I’ve been labeled a bitch by both my peers and elders. I’ve been called a bitch since a young age. And I’m proud to be one.
Let’s take a look at the word. As a slang (noun) term, bitch can mean many things. Urban Dictionary (ever reliable) says that bitch can mean an “annoying and whining female” or “an exceedingly whipped guy who does/wears/thinks/says whatever his girlfriend says” or just “a woman with a bad attitude.”
Simply put, bitch is usually used to describe a woman or, in the case of a “whipped” man, put him in a submissive state, under a woman, deteriorating his masculinity because he does what a woman says. Bitch is typically used as an insult against women who are seen as annoying, demanding, or powerful.
In my experience, I haven’t been called a bitch when I’m being annoying by my standards. What do you think of as annoying? Clingy, maybe? Or possibly a huge gossip? How about someone who is always in your business? I do all of these things–everyone does–but I’ve failed to be called a bitch for acting in these ways.
I’ve always been called a bitch when I assert power.
Granted, I’m a pretty loud person (I get that from my mom–she’s a teacher). Granted, I can be kind of “demanding” but only when I know certain things need to get done, and I’m trying to get them done (AKA I know my limits). Granted, I tend to take charge of almost every situation I’m in (I try to be conscious of this, though).
“Don’t be a bitch” has been said to me, though, when I told people in high school to shut up when the teacher was trying to talk. I’ve been called a bitch when I’ve called people out for their inappropriate behavior in my personal and professional life. Guys have called me a bitch when I didn’t respond well to their compliments or pick-up lines. I’ve been told that I “come across as a bitch” when I give well-rounded, constructed, professional criticism. I tarnished my reputation in high school because of regularly addressing controversial issues on this blog. A lot of people have called me a bitch both to my face and behind my back–whether I know them or not.
What I’m trying to get to here is this: when I’ve been called a bitch in derogatory terms, it’s always been because I didn’t come across as passive or “ladylike” (refer to this blog post). I’ve always been the bitch because I’m more outspoken, more of a leader, and because I refuse to take shit from anyone.
And I’ve been called a bitch as a compliment (by friends and family too). Terms like “boss ass bitch” or “bad bitch” are part of my regular vocab. My favorite compliment, though, is probably the “bitch who gets stuff done.”
Whereas I’m all of these, I still receive the less-than-nice insult of bitch every now and then. And though they’re meant in a negative light, I couldn’t be any happier to be called a bitch. Here’s why.
I’m called a bitch because I’m goal-oriented and motivated.
My favorite “compliment” of bitch is when I’m trying to just get shit done. I’m a list person. I’m very organized. I have short-term and long-term goals. I always know the next step in the project and, if I’m working with other people, I always try to make sure everyone is on top of everything. I try to make sure everything goes to plan in the most productive, least overpowering way possible.
I’m called a bitch because I take time management pretty seriously.
I like things (and people) to be on time. I’m a firm believer in the saying “if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late, and if you’re late you’re fired.” In jobs past and present, I’ve managed other peoples’ times and due dates. I’ve been met with heavy opposition or criticism when I’ve been persistent about lateness, but that’s just my job–and I’m trying to be as productive as possible.
I’m called a bitch because I’m outspoken and defend my beliefs.
This correlates almost directly with my blog. I have always been outspoken and I have always been one quick to defend myself in certain situations. Because I point out and talk about things that most people want to remain in the shadows, I’m considered controversial. This happened a lot during high school when I would post blogs that gained a lot of attention. Many people–especially adults–didn’t like it. But I’m proud to be outspoken and opinionated, because so many people are not, and having opinions is an important step in creating change.
I’m called a bitch because I’m not afraid to be loud.
I’ve always been loud–it’s just in my nature. I’m commanding and draw attention from others around me; this is just how I’ve always been. Because of this, I’m a great public speaker and can get a whole room quiet in just a few minutes. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve noticed a lot of opposition to this. I’ve constantly been told to “quiet down” or reminded that ladies aren’t loud. I’ve been told by people that they assumed I was a bitch before they ever met me because I was loud and exerted a power that could command a room. I’ve never viewed any of these things as negative aspects to any person, yet so many people do.
I’m called a bitch because I’m not reserved.
If you haven’t read my blog about being ladylike yet, you should definitely check it out. Because I’m not. I can be gracious and welcoming; I have good manners; I know right from wrong. But let me tell you something–I’m not reserved. I’m not quiet. I don’t wait for permission to participate in social activities. I don’t let people walk all over me. I don’t conform to meet society’s standards. That’s just not…me. And because of it I’m a walking label–a bitch. Whereas men are praised for being opinionated and defensive, friendly and outspoken, women are expected to be almost entirely this opposite. I’m obviously not this.
While the term bitch, when used as an insult, works to degrade women by making them seem like less of a woman–less of a human being–I think it’s important that we embrace these qualities that make us the bitches that we are. Are you a bitch because you’re demanding? Good. You deserve to get what you want. Are you a bitch because you’re defensive? That’s fine. You’re allowed to defend yourself when you need to. Are you a bitch because you expect your colleagues and partners to exert the same amount of energy into a project that you’re putting in? You’re damn right to be a bitch–tell them how it is.
Being a bitch isn’t a bad thing. Being a bitch means you have your shit together, you’re responsible, you’re powerful, you’re outspoken, you’re motivated. If you’re called a bitch by someone, you’re just exemplifying the behaviors that they–that society–doesn’t want to see young women showing. Being a bitch means you’re breaking barriers and actually doing something right.
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