| Unfurl Your Bitch Flag
Flying high with all the bitches, female and male!
By Ellen Snortland
As host of "Saturday Night Live," comedian and writer Tina Fey issued a clarion call for women to be proud bitches during her "Women's News" segment on February 23, 2008. Fey unabashedly supported Hillary's bitch-in-chief status. To view "Bitch is the New Black" go to: http://tinyurl.com/2y7hzq. Here is Ellen Snortland's own bitch challenge. *
Bitch is a noun and a verb; simply add a "y" and you've got an adjective. What a bitch of a word! Who wouldn't want to be a bitching, bitchy bitch? Sign me up. I double-bitch dare you to join me.
Be a bitch, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. It's a good thing, nothing to be ashamed or scared of. I've wasted way too much of my life attempting to prove I'm not a bitch. I have been nice when a saint would have lost it. I have been unduly proud when people said I'm not a bitch but another woman was. I have called other women bitches in a disempowering way. I'm truly sorry for the way I've abused the word. I would like to see the word "bitch" elevated to its proper place in the English language, transformed from sexist epithet to a word of adoration and awe.
Bitch is actually a wonderful word and state of being. Just as a stud is a potent and valuable male, bitch is the ripe female equivalent in the dog kingdom, er, queendom. As we all know, its human use is usually derogatory because it is a word mostly used in reference to strong women.
Strength is a relative term. A man called me a bitch when I politely declined to let him cut in front of me in a grocery line. I suddenly understood the absurdity of trying to maintain a non-bitch stance in the world. No matter what, someone will think I am one, so what the hell - I might as well enjoy the perks of being an actual bitch.
"Bitch" is used as a verbal weapon, a way to keep "uppity" women in line or to keep women who are thinking about being uppity from opening their mouths. "You wouldn't want anyone to think you're a bitch, now would you? Better not say anything," is how some of the logic goes. OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH, how scary to be called a bitch. Isn't it amazing that so many of us have given the word so much power?
To call someone a bitch as a put-down is to presume there are bitches in the world and there are "non-bitches"; that the proper way to be a female human being is to be a non-bitch.
What is a non-bitch? She is like the unicorn, a myth, a fantasy dreamt up by people with mother issues. A non-bitch is a woman who personifies compliant beauty, who never gives a fella any trouble. She is always nice and understanding, never angry, doesn't argue, doesn't protect herself, her property or her children. She is always complimentary, remembers every detail about everything, never hurts feelings intentionally or unintentionally, always serves others first, always smiles and does what everyone asks of her, all the time, with no complaint. I'm sure I've left something out but since I'm a bitch, I don't pretend that I don't make mistakes.
The old-fashioned, put-down usage of bitch is like a girdle; it holds women back and in, and in a most uncomfortable and unhealthy way. No one really wants to be stuffed or squeezed into anything, whether it's an undergarment or an archaic form of so-called feminine behavior. Everyone despised girdles, but it wasn't until a few courageous women started refusing to wear them that the rest of us could wiggle out of them forever.
I hereby proudly declare my bitchness and invite others to do the same. Join me. Everyone in the world has bitchness in them, women and men, girls and boys. Why would we collude in the absurd idea of aspiring to not be something that we all are? There are things to complain about, there are things to be angry about, there are domestic and global problems to take action on that require the bitch in all of us.
The more who proclaim, nay, celebrate their bitchness, the less bitchy we'll all seem and the bitchier we can all become. If you don't like that idea, take a hike because I don't care. I have better things to worry about. Ahh, that felt good - just like taking off a girdle after a long day. Try it.
Old habits die hard. I admit I still flinch if someone calls me a bitch. But I must remember to be proud that I am no longer invisible, and therefore pleasing to everyone and anyone. And I think of my favorite real-life bitch, my dog and companion. Now there's a role model.
She's faithful, loving, valuable, warm, nurturing, intelligent, affectionate, and capable of ripping someone who attacks me or my loved ones to ribbons. She's a bitch and, except for the way she drools and sheds, I want to be just like her.
* "Unfurl Your Bitch Flag" is partially excerpted from Snortland's book, "Beauty Bites Beast," available at Amazon.com. For more information visit www.snortland.com, or contact Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pasadena Weekly: 3/1/08