Rant, with a few strong words. Because I can.
I am not going to apologize and I will never apologise for being me, for being who and how I am, for being a woman and for being a woman who loves women.
I will not apologize for questioning ignorance and prejudice and hypocrisy and hate in any form they manifest, including when it’s “radical queer wimmin’s” hatred (at worst) and intolerance (at best) of non-biological women, aka transgendered M2Fs. I might wonder why it is that those who so disparage religious fundamentalism become fundamentalist in a religiously fervent way themselves when they are arguing on their side of the fence, a fence so high that it leaves no room to view anything else.
Speaking of other side of the fence, I’m also not going to apologize for wanting to know why some trans people are so attached to rigid gender/sex roles. It’s clear that there’s a spectrum of gender and sexuality (hormones and genitalia aside) and that much, but not all, of what we think of as male and female is socially constructed and agreed to within the culture.
Case in point: A washroom is a washroom is a washroom. A toilet does not care who uses it. Take the gender signs down and the room’s function remains intact. Are gender specific bathrooms necessary? In Toronto, a number of restaurants are doing away with signs that indicate which gender can use what washroom. By way of history, the book Queering the Bathroom talks about the first recorded use of gender-specific washrooms. It was one night at a Ball in 17th century France
to amuse partygoers. Took a while to catch on, though. (For an article on this book, go here.)
To reiterate my point, I’m not apologizing for wondering about the silly and unhelpful things that people — even my people — do. Hard to believe but lesbians are not perfect, regardless of how they define themselves. Lesbians are not alone in the-not perfect world: also not perfect are gay men and transsexual and transgendered people and those who are intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited and allies. Under all the labels and identities are human beings with human needs and achingly human foibles including, interestingly, the foible of not thinking about what words they use.
What is it with the word bitch?
Why is it okay for women to casually refer to girls and women as bitches or hot bitches or happy bitches, or cool bitches just because the word is the cool, hip-hop, rappin’ poppin’ happenin’ fun and funny term of the moment, a term that at its core, is designed to demean, dehumanize and objectify women, a term so popular in all sorts of (boring, boring yawn, yawn) song lyrics.
Bitch, in its modern usage specific to women means “a malicious or treacherous woman“. So what that there’s a magazine called Bitch. So it’s a take-back-the-name thing and take away its negative connotations and give us its power. Um, no.
What it is, basically, is aping bad male behaviour and proving once and for all that in some ways, equality is happening. Maybe not exactly in the way that our bra burning and suffragette ancestors had in mind, but we have equality: the dark side. We have girl gang-bangers and we have girls carrying guns and knives to school, we have girls killing girls. And we have girls casually calling each other bitch because bitch is more what, tough? Street? Not to press a point, but we now have women saying ya, I’m a bitch and proud of it. Hold me back! She’s the one I want, oh, never.
What happens on the street doesn’t stay there. It’s influence on fashion and language is legendary, particularly with the various Englishes around the world. It is true that English is an ever-changing and fluid language. We use and reuse words and make up new ones. Sometimes words take on opposite meanings from the meaning they have traditionally had, like the word murder. Didjya know it’s a good thing to murder a song? A dance? A reading? Murder as in someone did a thing perfectly implying that murdering a thing is the way to perfection? Murdering a thing is the way to make it your own? Excuse me? Draw me the map to that conclusion please?
Every generation has its wacky words to exclude the earlier generations. I get that. I do it too, but I have a line about calling people names at the best of times and calling another woman a bitch is something I just do not get, unless she truly is the embodiment, the very definition in that evil, sad, wicked witch who sent out the flying monkeys and hurt little dogs too.
Bitch: a term popularized by men who don’t much like women.
It’s a good thing that our culture is becoming more accepting of the huge spectrum of human experience, expression and loving. I am not convinced it’s a good thing that along with an acceptance of difference, that there is an equal but more seditious wave to press-gang all demographics into a level of conformity in dress, music, and language, mortgages, taxes, books, art. But maybe this is the price of mainstreaming. Once upon a time we were outsiders and didn’t have to fit in, didn’t have to adopt cultural norms.
But this casual calling women bitches is beyond me. Not a nice norm. Sure we get cranky at PMS time and perimenopause is not fun and post menopause is another level of hell for women and those hormones do weird stuff to us. But that’s not what this is about. Using bitch as an expression of woman’s innate strength to take away the power of the word? Not happening. Redefining a bitch as a strong assertive woman, who says what she wants and what she needs? The kind of woman who gets (goddess forgive me this) bitch-slapped? Tell me how those two terms and concepts coexist peacefully?
Maybe it’s me. After all, I don’t think Beyoncé’s video about women ruling the world is true or good, either, just as I’m not buying that BITCH stands for Babe In Total Control of Her life, or that it’s a take-back-the-term to empower women. Sounds like an afterthought, a justification of something after the fact.
So I’m not apologizing for asking questions but I wonder if it’s just me. Am I being too semantically sensitive? Should I be celebrating that women are bitches and men are assholes and should I be celebrating how we in the LGBTTQQ2SA world adopt and make it part of our world, which is increasingly looking like the straight world? Are we conforming and mainstreaming to a lower common denominator?
Goddess, I hope not.
There’s lots of stuff out there about bitch and maybe someone can ‘splain it to me better. In the meantime, here are some images are for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, I can’t correct the spelling errors.