by Marvin Wendt
Would you feel offensive if I call you a bitch?
You would right ? But what is a bitch these days ?
The definition of bitch is a female dog, wolf or fox.
But nowadays you can find the word everywhere: You call your friends “bitches”, you describe yourself as a “badass bitch” and you have a “resting bitch face” to clarify your coolness and if someone is not okay with that you can “bitch slap” him or her. As you can see, when using the word as an adjective it expresses coolness but when using the verb “bitching”, you complain about something.
Before having a look at what “bitch” means in the 21st century, it’ll be shortly focused on how the meaning of the word changed over the years.
The word bitch has been used (and is still being used) within the scope of feminism: Joree Freeman wrote her famous “Bitch manifest” in 1968, where she declared that a bitch is a self confident woman who doesn’t need a men to be successful: She might be in a relationship but is not underestimate by her partner, She makes her own decisions and is responsible for her life and should not feel insulted by the word bitch.
Then the word became quite common and moved mainstream.
If you take a look at Google search history, you can see that the word bitch became really popular all over the word.
Ten years ago, the word bitch was only “googled” by Americans and British people. Nowadays people all over the world, according to Google search history, are looking up the word. Also in pop culture “bitch” became really popular.
David Guetta sings about a “sexy bitch” in one of his song and he is “trying to describe the girl without being disrespectful.”
Madonna has two songs on her new record with the word bitch in their titles. She also posted a picture of the word on Instagram and described her understanding of the word in an interview with Billboard magazine :
“If I say to you, ‘I’m a badass bitch,’ I’m owning myself, I’m saying, ‘I’m strong, I’m tough, and don’t mess with me.’ If I say, ‘Why are you being such a bitch to me?,’ well, that means something else.”
Even in fashion the word “bitch” find it’s way on clothes like on sweaters or heads.
So what is a bitch in the 21st century ?
Is it a Beautiful Intelligent Talented Charming and Hot women like Madonna said, so a term of feminism and strong independent women ?
Or is it still an insult to hurt women for being female ?
Andi Zeisler is the co-founder of bitch magazine. She evolved this paper as an feminist response to pop culture. The magazine was founded in 1996, where the word bitch was not present in the media. According to Zeisler, “bitch” is an insulting word to describe only women – women who are not afraid to speak out what is on their mind. In 1996 it is was provocative to use bitch as an name for a magazine. Zeisler is saying that the word bitch describes a women who is doing her own thing, is strong, confident and her own person.
The word bitch has not lost his power, even though it is all over the media nowadays. The meaning of the word is comparable to the one of the word “slut” or “whore” and it still gets the attention of the crowd. The word feminism instead, lost his power. People think feminism is something that already “happened” , but that is not the case.
Why is a “stay home dad” being judged by society ? Why can’t have women a “typical” men job? We need to break out of stereotypes. Modern feminism believes in the equality of the sexes. Zeisler hopes that the word bitch has the capacity to support modern feminism, because it has gains a lot of media attention.
Changing a meaning of a word already happened in the gay community.
The word “queer” used to be an insult for people who are acting “strange” or “different” compared to the “norm”.
The meaning of queer changed within the scope of the gay movement in the 1960’s and 70’s. Gay people called themselves queer and the “queer community” is open for everyone who is “different” or “strange”.
According to Zeisler, the same thing needs to be happen with the word bitch.
But we are still living in a world where bitch is an insulting word. Even if it is common now to call your friends “bitches” or to be a “badass bitch”, if you are using it against a person, it has just one meaning: to hurt and insult someone.
Or do you think bitch has now the relevance of the new word for modern feminism ?
Bitch please …
1. Emma Watson’s speech in front of the United Nations about modern feminism.
2. An interview with Andi Zeisler about feminism and the word bitch.
3. A critical text about the word “bitch” and the use in our society.
4. A critical response of a woman, who got called bitch.
5. An Essay about the history of the word bitch.