“HEY BITCH!” When’s the last time you heard someone greet a woman this way? Or how about “Stop your bitchin’!” when someone is complaining about something? You may have even heard the expression “Traffic was a bitch”. I can’t stand any of these expressions, but I hear them all too often. To me this is just an indication that society has become accustomed to using bad words as part of everyday conversation.
When did the use of this word get to be so casual? Have we become so desensitized to the point that this word is now considered “normal”? Why do people think that it’s okay to use a word that originated as a term for a female dog to describe a human being? And, for a woman at that? How does one even relate to the other? Do women really embody the traits of a female dog? I understand using this word at the height of a heated argument (not that it’s okay but I do understand), but why use it to say hello (“Hey bitch!”)? I can think of about a million other expressions to use, for instance:
- What’s up?
- What’s happening?!
- What’s shakin’?
- How’s it going?
The list goes on & on. I can also think of other ways to complain about traffic, but I won’t go there. The point is if you want to create a synonym for a word, then pick something that can’t be offensive if used out of context.
Some people might argue that words don’t have power unless you give them power. Words are only words & shouldn’t bother you if they don’t apply to you. Well, I beg to differ. Calling me out of my name is wrong no matter what connotation you put on it. And the notion that you can remove power from a word is laughable. How would you like it if I called your mother ‘stupid’ to her face, as long as I told her that calling her ‘stupid’ really meant that she’s a cool person ? I doubt you would take kindly to me using that word to describe your mother. What if I said your daughter was a whore, but really meant that she was very pretty instead? Hey, as long as you know what I meant it shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Wrong, because no matter how I choose to use that word to describe your child, it’s not very flattering, is it? Words do matter. They can easily be taken out of context no matter who uses them or how they are intended.
Then there’s the argument that women continue to normalize the use of the word “bitch”, so isn’t that just validating its casual use for everyone else? Is it ever okay for women to call each other bitches? When you have a clear understanding of yourself as a woman, isn’t it okay to enforce that across your entire peer group, regardless of gender? But where do we draw the line between becoming offensive and just enjoying ourselves, by saying what may come natural in conversation? Even used as a joke, like “You’re my bitch”, is this a word worth normalizing?
Is it even possible to change the entire characterization of this word from the purpose in which it was intended to something else? Some would argue that if a woman acts like a bitch, then she deserves to be called one. The problem with that word is that it describes a certain set of negative behaviors that is typically correlated with being female. To be mean & manipulative is supposedly inherently female. When a woman is described as a bitch she’s being shrewd, malicious and straight out cruel. When a man is described as a bitch, he is being effeminate in some way by being weak (again, a characteristic associated with being a woman). But that goes back to my original question – how does a woman (or a man) acting a certain way make her similar to a female dog?
At the end of the day, it’s about respect. Maybe to you that word is no big deal, but to someone else it could be and may even be hurtful (imagine that, being compared to animal). I’m just waiting for the day when dropping an F-bomb is as just as common as any other word we use today. That’ll be a cold f*%^ing day, bitch.