For those people who state they want to ‘reclaim’ the word, ‘b*tch’, please note, this word was created for a reason as are all words.
“The word “bitch“, literally meaning a female dog, is a common slang term in the English language, especially used as a denigrating term applied to a person, commonly a woman. It often refers to someone who is belligerent, unreasonable, rudely intrusive or aggressive.
Its original use as a vulgarism, documented to the fourteenth century, suggested high sexual desire in a woman, comparable to a dog in heat. The range of meanings has expanded in modern usage. In a feminist context, it can indicate a strong or assertive woman, one who might make men feel threatened. When applied to a man, “bitch” is a derogatory term for a subordinate.”
The word ‘bitch’ makes me twitch and this definition helps drive home exactly why that is. Men aren’t punished verbally, physically, and socially- on an accusation of having high sexual desire but through the use of the word ‘bitch’, women are. It’s absurd. Personally, I would not use the term ‘bitch’ “in a feminist context.” I laugh in the face of contextualization (at least in this case). I would say ‘a strong woman’ and ‘powerful’ and ‘assertive’. And to refer to high levels of desire; ‘sensuous’, ‘sultry’, ‘aroused’, and ‘passionate’ fulfill this meaning quite pleasantly. Please, see my previous post about How to replace the word in any sentence reasonably conceivable. I am not saying that it’s right to use the word to mean what it means; however, I am saying that it’s wrong to use it to mean anything else. It’s twisted and hurtful to use that word at all.
This word intrinsically is a form of ‘slut-shaming’. The term ‘bitch’s original use and intent was as a deeply wounding insult. It refers to a ‘female dog in heat’. Women are human beings, not animals. Anyone who has met a female dog in heat will understand, that dog will have sex with anything. The other side of the coin is that anyone who has met a male dog who is not neutered will understand, that dog will have sex with anything (including nonsensical attempts on human legs…).
That’s not to say anything negative about sex. The problem here is an assumption that women who are not reticent about sexual desire are having completely indiscriminate sex. Some women are. Some aren’t. Terminology which labels us all alike is incorrect. I’m proud of women (and men) in the anti-slut-shaming movement for standing up for our right to not let sexual harassment be justified. That is important, and it seems it was not so long ago that such a movement would not have happened. In general, anyone with enough self-respect to stand up against ‘slut-shaming’ has enough self-respect to discern between sex partners. As humans, we can have that self-respect and discerning ability not to have sex with everyone and everything. (healthy limits, get tested, use protection, know your partner.)
The word is also intended to indicate the degree to which it is ‘wrong’ that women would assert themselves in a situation. So, if I’m in a long line and someone cuts in front of me, and I say, “Excuse me, please don’t cut in front of me,” and I’m called ‘bitch’ as a result, that’s intended to undermine my right to call this person out on cutting in line.
Or, say I was given a part in a movie and the director changed their mind after telling me the part was mine and gave it to someone else. Is that person a bitch for wanting to be in the movie as badly as I do? Am I a bitch if I say “That’s not fair, I was told I had the part,” or if I state to friends that an experienced casting director would not have proceeded in the same way? What is it about women speaking up for ourselves in the same way men do, that gets us this ridiculous label? How has this rancid insult stayed in circulation for ~700 years?
Time to get rid of it. My language doesn’t need it. Yours doesn’t either.
It doesn’t sound smart, it doesn’t shock anyone anymore. It doesn’t insult the intelligent, and it will not be used on the weak if I have anything to say about it. (and I do!)
I’m feeling really good about changing the world.