Now before you go any further with this post, I ask that if you are a sensitive reader you perhaps take 2 minutes to breathe, step out of your box then carry on reading.
When I first heard the word “bitch” I was watching The Bold and the Beautiful and a pink-faced Stephanie Forrester was referring to Brooke Logan as such, with a less than impressed expression on her face. I realized then that bitch is not a nice word and should not be used when talking to someone. I also noticed that it was always used when referring to a woman who has done something to offend the other.
In grade one however, my teacher told me that a bitch is a female dog. I was confused, Brooke Logan is not a female dog but on the show she was always being called that by different people. I had already associated the word with a rude, arrogant female. I probably wasn’t even 10 yet and I had that encrypted in my brain.
Growing up, I came to the realization that I would probably hear more people use the “Stephanie Forrester meaning” more often than the female dog meaning. Very few people refer to their female dogs as bitches because now it has become a derogatory word for the dogs.
Languages evolve, and words adopt a different meaning as the language continues to change. So I’m assuming that is what has happened to the word bitch. The dictionary says the slang meaning for the word is:
• a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, especially a woman.
• b.a lewd woman.
• c. Disparaging and Offensive. any woman.
• d. A man considered to be weak or contemptible.
Lewd means: “suggestive of or tending to moral looseness”
I have said this before, and I will repeat it because it is necessary to do so, you teach people how to treat you. One of the things that African-American people struggle with is that a white man will still dare to call them a nigger but they call each other nigga. This is apparently acceptable because firstly, it is not spelt the same way and secondly it is acceptable because they use it amongst themselves. I fail to see the logic in using a word associated with oppression to somehow empower yourself, especially if it carries double standards.
So many women have started referring to one another as bitch and it is a cool thing to do, it is harmless fun. Until your man refers to you as bitch and all of a sudden it becomes an “Oh no he didn’t situation”. No he didn’t what? He referred to you as you refer to yourself so what has changed? The tone of his voice? The context?
Woman, come on man! Say what you want but a bitch is no longer a female dog but it also isn’t a beautiful, dignified woman of value and influence. We are setting standards that are lower and lower everyday by allowing the small things to slide. Next thing you know the little things will become so big we cannot recall them.
Ellen Khuzwayo, a woman whose legacy is her fight for the rights of women in South Africa wrote a book entitled “Call me woman”. It is her autobiography which tells the story of her life and encompasses the strength and dignity of the women she was privileged to know during her lifetime.
Woman: a. An adult female, exceptionally minded, strong character, a nurturer and independent human being.
b. Someone who recognises self-worth and sets high standards for self.
c. Unwilling to compromise on what she believes in.
Call me Woman, and understand what that means, but do not even consider calling me bitch.