troublemakers

Bitch Is Not a Four-Letter Word, And I Call Myself One.

 

I admit it. I am a bitch. And despite my glossy coat and good temperament, I do mean this figuratively. And not in a positive way.

Much of my life I have been accused of being a bitch in its broader and more socially accepted sense. The kind of bitch that likely first came to your mind. The kind of bitch primarily defined as an insult. The kind of bitch that Urban Dictionary defines in four distinct (and insulting) ways:

Definition number 1: Word used to describe the act of whining excessively.

True example given: Stop bitching, Todd!

Definition number 2: Person who rides specifically in the middle seat of a car.

True example given: Can I ride bitch?

Definition number 3: Modern-day servant. A person who performs tasks for another, usually degrading in status.

True example given: Bring my friend and I some vodka, bitch!

Definition number 4: Term used to exclaim hardship.

True example given: Person tells story to other cellmate, depicting how they came to be there, and the cellmate says, “Ain’t that a bitch!”

My own personal example given: Yo, bitch-riding bitch, ain’t it a bitch when people bitch about women being bitches?

Bitch is obviously a versatile expression. It’s a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb. It rivals Fuck in its ubiquity and utility, and works well in harmony with many other grammatical forms and vulgarities.

And there are many different kinds of bitch, e.g.: Fucking bitch, in which fuck and bitch work together in functional harmony. Total bitch, in which it is falsely suggested that one can be a partial bitch. And, of course, Stupid bitch, in which a girl is described as both stupid and a bitch (and which suggests that bitch does not automatically imply stupid — winning!).

Urban Dictionary also informs us that it is possible to combine adjectives in order to create several meanings and emphases at once, such as Total fucking bitch. Or, Stupid fucking bitch. Or, Total stupid fucking bitch. There is no end to its creative usages. And I’m sure I’ve been called every variation of it.

Facts:

On Synonym.com, there are zero antonyms listed for bitch.

On Thesaurus.com, the one antonym listed for bitch is saint.

20 words related to bitch: whore slut cunt witch harlot pussy ass skank fuck asshole sex ho ugly dick girl shit fag gay fat stupid

How does it feel, being a bitch? How does it feel being a whore slut cunt witch harlot pussy ass skank fuck asshole sex ho ugly dick girl shit fag gay fat stupid bitch? Being those things, you learn guilt. You learn the need to apologize.

Being bitches, we are taught to apologize for everything: For being dumb, for being smart. For being strong, for being weak. For being ugly, for being pretty. For being fat, for being skinny. For being something, for being nothing. For simply being a girl.

The first time I was called a bitch was by another bitch. And I didn’t know we were bitches until she told me so. I was in the 7th grade. I was a nerd, and not the comfortable, cool kind we all grow up to be, but the painfully self-conscious, 12-year-old kind who wears glasses with her initials stickered to the bottom left corner and shares rainbow pens and fruit-scented erasers with her friends.

One day at recess, I innocently sat down on a bench, probably reading a book or minding my own business — the two sure postures of a victim — when the class bully, Shelly, came up and started yelling at me through her bucked teeth for taking her seat. Red-faced and frightened, I immediately got up, apologized, and walked briskly to class.

“I’ll find you after school!” she yelled.

At the end of the school day, I left in a flash. But Shelly caught up with me in the first two blocks. I came to a halt. Other kids continued past or stopped to watch.

“Do you want to fight, bitch?” she challenged.

I stood there with a heavy stack of textbooks in my arms, glasses sliding down my nose. “No,” was all I could croak out.

“Okay, then, bitch, just don’t sit in my seat again. Got it, bitch?”

A single word, “Yes,” was, again, all I could manage in response. Shelly looked me up and down with disgust before walking, thankfully, in the opposite direction.

Up to this point, the only form of bitch that had made it to my vocabulary was bitchin’, a word I’d appropriated from Moon Unit Zappa, and used to describe my sticker collection. Shelly opened me up to a whole new world of personal perception and grammatical territory.

I’ve done plenty since then to refine my own personal understanding and manifestation of bitch. Both negatively and positively.

Ultimately, I can blame others for putting their labels on me and comparing me to a whining, middle-seat riding, modern-day servant and female dog, but it is both my own behavior as well as society’s definition of bitch that make me both claim and reclaim it, love and abhor it, kick it to the curb at the same time as owning it. And redefining it. And not being sorry about it.

I can post and share and like and Tweet (and rant to a very unassuming captive audience) my reality and perspective of bitch, but the truth is that bitch is whatever anyone chooses to make it.

Which is why I went back and added my own definition of bitch to Urban Dictionary:

Bitch: Word used to describe a strong woman, a good friend or someone who’s got your back.

Personal example given: These girls are my fucking bitches!

The Free Dictionary would have us believe that a female bitch is a mean, overbearing or contemptible woman. Contemptible — meaning despicable, hateful, shameful, unworthy.

Well, I am not despicable, hateful, shameful, or unworthy. No matter how loud, opinionated, controlling or neurotic I get. No matter how bitchy I am. No matter how much anyone tries to convince me that I am or am not any number of these or those or many other things.

Maybe I’m simply following the standard set for me. Maybe I’m fulfilling expectations or living in denial. And maybe I’m just a bitch with as much shit to suffer as everyone else, and could I just stop bitching about it? Yeah, probably. But regardless, I am a bitch.

I am a bitch because

I am forthright and strong

I will not belong

I demand what I deserve

I make myself heard

I voice my thoughts

I feel distraught

I am not one of them

I ignore rude men

I have control of my body

I act and talk naughty

I seek independence

I am not apprehensive

I accept only truth

I will not take abuse

I am critical, I think

I am not the weak link

I have breasts and a brain

I am more than my pain

I am a woman, goddamit

I was born of this planet

I have a belly of fire

I act on desire

I choose my child

I’m deviant, I’m wild.

I cry and I bleed

I have wants and needs

I am a bitch because others call me that name

And if this defines bitch, I call myself the same.

***

Deneene Bell is a mother, writer, teacher, traveler, seeker, bitch, fighter, and goddess. She lives in the coastal redwoods north of San Francisco with her husband, two sons, and a small flurry of feathery and furry things. When she’s not nurturing little spirits and words, she does a lot of reading, dishes, and Yoga. She has a couple of degrees that she’s put to hopeful and practical use teaching for universities, advising college-bound students, editing books, and writing lots of different stuff for lots of different entities. Her superpower is involuntarily editing everything from text messages to bathroom-stall poetry. Her dreams include raising good humans, living with mindfulness and grace, and finishing one of the books she’s writing. She blogs in search of those dreams, and to connect with others who may share or seek to understand her experiences and ideas, at SattvaMama.

***

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