So, last week I was questioned more than once about my use of the word Bitch, and why I think it is appropriate to use in daily conversation, in art, and as the name of my blog/movement. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to delve deeper into the social and cultural constructs of the word. I also wanted to get input from the HBIC community so I asked what women thought of it via our fav social networks Twitter and Facebook. I got a varied response on how women feel about the word, as expected, and the over-arching response was that women generally have mixed feelings (as do I) on this word.
Some prefer not to be called a Bitch but they think it is fine to use it as a verb, say as in "stop your bitchin'!" Some think that it is ok for women to use the word, but it is not ok for men to. And some think that only some men (i.e. gay men) can use the b-word without stepping on toes. Most of the responses I received agreed that it was fine to use the word in certain contexts but would be considered offensive in other situations. For instance, it is acceptable when a women greets her girlfriends with a "Hey bitches!" (which is the connotation I attempt to use when addressing readers of this blog and followers on social networks) but not ok when a woman uses the word in a demeaning, condescending, or aggressive way towards another. And of course all of these rules change when it comes to men (especially when a man is called a Bitch and the complicated standards of masculinity that it reinforces).
Since there are so many interesting nuances to this word, and I got such a varied response when asked about it, I decided I would put together a series of posts about Bitch, each representing and examining a different cultural context or industry and it's treatment of the word. I have a few friends who have agreed to write a guest post for The HBIC Movement in order to give this series some depth and breadth. There is no way I can consider every aspect of the word and it's constructs but I hope this series will help us gain a better understanding of the varied opinions about it, unpack some of the powerful emotion that arises from it's use and engage in a thoughtful and stimulating discussion about the socio-cultural implications of language, art, race and gender. I welcome comments, ideas and guest posts! Challenge yourself to think critically about this word and the role it plays in your culture, family, sexual identity, music, etc. and then share your thoughts with the HBIC community. Stay tuned for more posts on our favorite word -- BITCH!