Social Question

Jude's avatar

Why would anyone be cool with labeling oneself as a bitch?

Asked by Jude (32134points) July 6th, 2011

Seriously. Why? What does that say about them do you think?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

71 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t get that either.

josie's avatar

Maybe they simply believe in being totally 100% honest

YARNLADY's avatar

To me it says that they are using the word as a wisecrack to get back at people who consider it an insult.

Plucky's avatar

I don’t understand it fully. Perhaps it is a sense of power or self-affirmation. Taking the negative traits of the label and turning them into a positive instead – taking ownership of the term.

I think it’s similar to the evolution of the word queer. It used to be an insult word. Now, it has become quite accepted as the opposite. People took ownership of it ..thereby embracing it.

Jude's avatar

@josie But, do you have to take on a bitchy attitude? You can be totally honest without having a royal ‘tude.

MilkyWay's avatar

Hmm, I must ask this question to my classmate who’s got “Sexy Bitch” written on her folder in colourful letters.

Facade's avatar

Ignorance basically. It’s similar to Black people calling themselves “niggas.” Often people say that taking a word and using it in a “positive” way is empowering, but neither group realizes how damaging those words are.

Jude's avatar

Is my question worded right?

cheebdragon's avatar

It’s just a word, how can a 5 letter word be insulting to you?You could call me every name in the book, it wouldnt matter to me, because it’s nothing more than a word, big fucking deal. If it offends you, it’s only because you’re letting it, maybe it’s a lack of confidence in yourself and who you are….?

KateTheGreat's avatar

I think that people like that believe they are more “emotionally invincible” when they classify themselves as bitches.

Jude's avatar

@cheebdragon Not insulting. Just curious as to why.

YARNLADY's avatar

@cheebdragon Don’t try to pretend that words have no effect on other people, that would be ludicrous. That silly child’s rhyme “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a big lie.

Words do hurt and words do have power. Anyone who doesn’t realize that is in danger from their ignorance.

redfeather's avatar

I do this all the time. I know I can be a bitch at times, but I also know I can be sweet. Just like, if you piss me off, get ready to deal with a bitch.

tinyfaery's avatar

I can be a bitch, but I am not a bitch. Those two things are very different. I’ll happily act like a bitch in situations where I feel it is warranted, but I won’t act like a bitch just because.

cheebdragon's avatar

I’d be more concerned with how something so insignificant as a little word is apparently crippling to women around the world. Bitch, cunt, whore…at the end of the day, they are still words, nothing more, nothing less, you are the only one giving it power and meaning.

redfeather's avatar

@cheebdragon I turn into megabitch when someone calls me a “cunt”

LostInParadise's avatar

Maybe the use of the term indicates that they can’t be messed with. I am reminded of Sarah Palin’s statement that the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull is lipstick.

cheebdragon's avatar

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent….” Eleanor Roosevelt

If someone called you a turtle, would you be offended? Probably not, because you know that you are not a turtle. Right? So are you a cunt? Are you a bitch? Are you a fucking golf ball? No! So why should it bother you?!?!...

athenasgriffin's avatar

My friends and I used to call each other bitches. Then we matured and got over it.

I don’t take well to other people calling me a bitch, though.

Coloma's avatar

I wouldn’t ever call myself a bitch. Strong yes, assertive yes, bitch, never.

Bellatrix's avatar

I may label my behaviour or attitude ‘bitchy’ at times. I don’t go around calling myself a bitch though. In other words, “I was being a bit of a bitch there.”

I find the prevalence of lyrics in songs that put women (or anyone group in society) down, call them bitches and ‘hos’ etc.. quite disturbing. I don’t understand the mentality that thinks it is cool to denigrate women in such a way and this includes when women do it themselves. As though it is a mark of honour or something to be called a bitch or a whore?

lonelydragon's avatar

Embracing the negative term changes it from an insult to something positive. They are reappropriating a derogatory term. It becomes a way of saying that a woman is assertive and formidable.

@cheebdragon LMAO at “golf ball”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

…Because I’m cool with whatever label that I and not others apply to me…no one should dare to call me a bitch if they don’t want to hear one open her mouth…just saying.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I openly admit to being a bitch. I don’t mind when others call me a bitch. Because I am. And I know that about myself. And I feel no remorse or shame for it.

But call one of my girlfriends (or sweet jellies) a bitch, and it’s on.

cookieman's avatar

Exactly what @Facade said. I frankly think the whole “I’m reclaiming the word” attitude is a lazy use of the language.

If you want to show me how powerful and in-control you are, then grab me with your articulate use of the language. Calling yourself a “bitch” or a “nigga” repulses me and makes me not want to be near you.

If you call that a victory, then good for you.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I just want to point out that labeling myself as a bitch is no different than others who label themselves as:
drug addicts

Labels are labels and everyone has one. I don’t see near as many complaints about men being called assholes or dickheads as I do women being called bitches. Frankly, I think a lot of women make a big deal out of it just to have something else to bitch about, and I resent that.

Plucky's avatar

I want to point out that I understand both sides of the fence. I can understand why people do not like such terms. I’m sure everyone can relate to that cringing feeling, when you hear a term you don’t like, in some form or another.

But why people feel the need to “reclaim the word”? It’s not so simple as cringing at a term because it’s negative/offensive. I think many people fail to understand the freedom one can feel from owning terms such as bitch, queer, nigger, homo, fat, redneck, etc. Turning a negative insulting word that, perhaps, one has been called throughout much of their lives is a form of healing. It is a way to proudly state, “Yeah, I’m a….. but you know what? I’ll be the best….. that ever lived.” In that sense, the person makes it their own.
An example with the word nigger ..many black slaves who would have spoken against their white masters against the term would have been killed, or beaten, on the spot. To show any sign of intelligence or articulation was an insult to many white people. What way did much of the black American society fight back? They took that horrid vile word and made it theirs ..made it something to be proud of. Sometimes, that’s all one can do. The people that understand this are usually the ones who have experienced non-average hardships regarding a certain trait. I am aware we not in the slavery days anymore but the racism still exists. Just as homophobia and sexism still exist.

In saying that, I’m not saying I agree nor disagree. But, I understand it. I have a tendency to take multiple sides in these types of arguments/ideas. It’s hard to pick a side when one sees, and agrees with, both sides – even if they oppose one another. I do not think the ownership of such terms is a false victory. Yes, it can certainly seem so – especially in today’s media. However, at the root of it lies the real reason. The ability to take something negative and turn it into a positive. It’s a coping mechanism.

Facade's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate It’s more than a label. It’s an insult specifically designed for women to degrade them. Saying it’s just a label would be like saying Nigger is just a label, and that Black people should just get over it. A hateful word is a hateful word.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Facade I don’t feel degraded by the word bitch. It’s degrading if someone refers to a woman as a “cunt”. But not bitch.

bitch (bich) n. a woman regarded as bad-tempered, malicious, etc…

I’m bad-tempered. We all know this. And I will personally kill anyone who hurts my kids and I wish all pedophiles were immediately euthanized. That makes me malicious. I am a bitch.

And I refuse to link my feelings about the word bitch to the word nigger, since most black people I know feel perfectly comfortable saying “yo, wassup my nigga”. It’s only when non-black people use the word that they get pissed and raise a stink about it. The difference is- I don’t give a shit if someone else calls me a bitch, because I AM a bitch.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@cprevite So I assume you never use the words “Yankee” or “Christian”? And what do you call Baroque music or Impressionist art? These are all reclaimed words.

AmWiser's avatar

B eautiful
I ntelligent
T houghtful
C aring
H onest…...Woman

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@SavoirFaire Precisely. A label is a label is a label is a label…...... “Insulting” words fly around on a daily basis. Why give a shit if someone chooses to call herself a bitch? I could be calling myself a cracker ass-redneck-kid spankin-bicurious-nympho-anti social-wanker from fucking hell. But I prefer to stick with bitch. It’s shorter and rolls off the tongue easier.

Jude's avatar

But, “cracker ass-redneck-kid spankin-bicurious-nympho-anti social-wanker from fucking hell” is more fun. ;)

Cruiser's avatar

Hot muscle cars are bitchin so I could see how one saying “I’m Bitch” or a “Bitch” could be a positive quality. I think that person/girl saying that would suggest they are being brutally honest about themselves and their own attitude and allow for them to define what “bitch” means about them.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

It could be an assertive thing. Women see themselves as powerful and intimidating. Someone not to be messed with.

Coloma's avatar

“Bitch” evokes, to me, a “who gives a shit if I hurt or offend you” attitude. NOT the same thing as strong and assertive with FINESSE!

One can be very assertive with tact, grace and diplomacy, not shrieking, sloppy emotionality.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m just going to throw something out there… and I could be wrong. It’s been known to happen. I think a lot of women have at least a bit of the same attitude I have about things (whether it be only thoughts running through their heads, or actually vocalized), and they’re just too scared to look that closely at themselves.

It’s as if admitting it is a failure, so they whine about it instead. And whining about things is also called “bitching”. Several posts on this thread can be said to be “bitching about being called a bitch”. Well…... bitchy is as bitchy does.

And as I mentioned above, I don’t see any guys chiming in on this thread to say “Hell yeah, it really hurts my feelings and makes me feel degraded when someone calls me an asshole or a dickhead!”

Those words are meant to be insulting and degrading also, but I’ve never heard men raising a stink over those. Why? Because they probably know that they’ve had an “asshole moment” or a “dickhead day” and they don’t give a big enough crap to claim they’re being degraded.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Coloma Thus the efforts to reclaim and recontextualize the word so that it no longer has to evoke only the one meaning. Yes, people can still try to use the word in hurtful ways. The process of reappropriation is a long one, and it cannot be said to be fully complete until attempts to use a word hurtfully are lame and ineffective. But the process can be successful. No one calls Bach’s music Baroque and expects offense to be taken at the label anymore.

@WillWorkForChocolate Agreed and agreed.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My hubby just said he thinks we’re ALL bitches for arguing about this on a computer. :P

Coloma's avatar

@SavoirFaire’s generational too. I am 51, in my day to sound really old, haha “Bitch” was not a term of endearment.

I call myself a “Bohemian” type, but, really, most would say ” Hippie”. haha

“Hippie” has a surprisingly stereotyped meaning for many as well.

Lets not go there. lol

Jude's avatar

I guess that the mods let this one go. It’s a free-for-all in general. I’ll move it over to social.

Coloma's avatar


Oops…I see myself in that!

Coloma's avatar

Well then…do you all think the day will arrive where parents are sending out birth announcements that read..” The little bitch has arrived! She weighs 7.9oz.” ?

El_Cadejo's avatar

I never really got this one. I mean im a self proclaimed asshole and all but I wouldnt go as far as wearing a shirt that said asshole on it or better yet plastered across my ass like I see some women do.

Though overall I must agree with @cheebdragon its just a fucking word. To me its not so much the word that is offensive, its how one uses it that makes it offensive. For example, we can all agree asshole is less offensive than fuck. But the sentence “you’re an asshole” is so much worse than ” I fucking love cupcakes” . Its all about intention. But even still then, it is up to you to decide how you want to take it. I mean if one calls you an asshole, why do you even have to put any credence into what they’re saying in the first place anyway?

cookieman's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: I absolutely would be offended if someone called me a “asshole” or a “dickhead”. Why wouldn’t I be? They’re insults. Nor do I have any interest in “reclaiming” them when there are dozens of more creative (and less insulting) ways to describe the times I might act inappropriate.

@SavoirFaire: I’m not saying words can’t be “reclaimed” and eventually cleansed of their negative connotations. But I’d say most modern uses of such words are more about shock value and (as I said) lazy use of the language than about “reclaiming” anything.

I’m sure the teen girl I saw at the mall with “BITCH” emblazoned on her sweat-pantsed-behind was thinking “I’m gonna ‘reclaim’ this word just like they did with ‘baroque’.”

And yes, these are all just words and we shouldn’t be so precious or sensitive about them. But, as @uberbatman points out, intent is everything.

But hey, when can we start reclaiming “cunt” or “cock”? I mean c’mon, it’s just a rooster.~

Coloma's avatar


Yes, no reclaimation on cunt..that’s the ONE word, above all others, that just might make me shoot someone.

Aethelwine's avatar

One of my favorite t shirts reads “Classy Bitch”.


El_Cadejo's avatar

One of the pet names I call my SO is cunt muffin :P talk about reclaimin a word. She’s never found it offensive though, just giggles at it.

Bellatrix's avatar

@uberbatman as you said, it’s all about the intent. My husband once, note I said once, called me woman in such a way that I went off at him and he has never used that word that way again. “Woman! You left the gate open!” He hasn’t gone there again. As you said, all about the intent.

Judi's avatar

I’m coming in late and haven’t read the other responses.
My husband and I have this little joke. Many years ago, I gained some weight, and whenever I saw a beautiful girl, and noticed that he noticed, I would jokingly tell my husband “bitch.” the nicer and sweeter she was, the more we would laugh.
When I lost weight and got my mommy makeover, my husband started calling me “bitch.” It was a great inside joke that I wanted to be beautiful enough to be called “bitch.”
I think it’s just that some people redefine the definition, (like my husband and I did) to mean someone who is Cinderella beautiful, inside and out.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Coloma I’m not sure what age has to do with it unless you’re just too old to learn new tricks. “Bitch” still isn’t a term of endearment, after all, even if it is in the process of being reclaimed. It makes sense to me, though. While the word is supposed to refer to a woman who is malicious or unpleasant, it has often been used to refer to any woman who refused to be submissive or needy and who had the gall to make her own decisions or be self-reliant. Recognition of this pattern led people to say, “wait… what’s wrong with being like that, huh?” I confess that I’d actually expect you, as a “Bohemian type,” to share in the assessment that women are more capable than certain antiquated stereotypes suggest.

@cprevite The teen girl might not be a conscious reappropriator, but her willingness to wear the shirt means that she has at least subconsciously absorbed the message that the qualities associated with bitchiness—self-confidence, decisiveness, etc.—are not bad things for a woman to have. She is thus part of the effort, even if not part of the movement.

Regardless, you are changing the issue. I was responding to your general denigration of word reclamation as lazy (and implicitly worthless or wrong-headed). You did not limit yourself there to specific uses above, after all, but rather to the practice as a whole. If you are now changing your claim, fair enough; but it seems to me that the same argument could have been used against the early Christians or Yankees.

They might have looked stupid or lazy to those who disliked the words or used them in negative ways, but even those who used them without being intellectual powerhouses still contributed to the change that eventually came about. Adopting the word for shock value still often involves some recognition that the word has been used to apply to something that isn’t necessarily bad, even if it is widely disparaged. Teenage girls tend to be rather socially conscious—especially if they’re shallow, incongruous as that may seem—so I doubt that this is entirely lost on them. Indeed, teens are smarter than people tend to give them credit for, even if they still do a lot of stupid things.

Coloma's avatar


Your expectations are right, IF, the word is used in the ” don’t expect me to carry your slippers in my teeth and play the coquettish role of a non-threatening female.”

Fine. Call me a bitch. That would be your problem anyway. ( The problem of the party choosing to assign a negative label to whatever behavior is thwarting THEIR agenda. )

If it is used in a verbally abusive manner, whole different ballgame.

Some words don’t really merit being reconstituted, and if we wish to split hairs, the true definition of “Bitch” is a female dog. Sooo, it’s already been reconstituted as it is.

My reference to age was only intended to mean that the word, as it was used in my generation, was not tossed around casually. If you called someone a “Bitch” it was intended to be an insult, not a casual thing as it is for a lot of younger peeps today.

Quite frankly I think society has bigger fish to fry than lobbying to reclaim the word Bitch, and I still don’t see the day coming, anytime soon, when, as I said above, birth announcements will shout from the rooftops that a bitch is born! haha

Jude's avatar

Like @tinyfaery, I can act bitchy, but, wouldn’t proudly call myself a bitch. To each her own, though.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Okay, I can agree that quite a bit of how we absorb the word has to do with how it’s used. My husband and friends can call me “bitch”, “crazy bitch”, “silly bitch”, “goofy bitch”, “cranky bitch”, and so on aaaaaalllllll day long and I’d never bat an eyelash. But if someone calls my mom, or my girlfriends, or some of the totally NON-bitchy jellies a bitch, then I feel obliged to step in and defend them. This just happened last week with Jillthetooth, who is so far removed from bitch status that it’s ridiculous for someone to even call her a lesser name.

Actually, I think I’m more offended when someone calls a female dog a bitch, than I am if someone calls me a bitch. It makes me want to say, “Really? Do you know my dog? She’s the sweetest, most loving thing ever!” I know for dogs it’s just a term, but the word itself has gotten to be so used for cranky ass women that it doesn’t register as “female dog” with me, and I feel like I have to defend my dog, LOL.

I admit to being a complete bitch, as I said above, and I’m cool with being called one, since I understand that most of the time, I really am a bitch. It doesn’t offend me, because it’s true. I would not (as someone else mentioned above) wear a t-shirt or pants that said “bitch” on it, because that’s crossing the line by dragging it into public, where kids can see it, and I’m NOT cool with that.

One of my girlfriend bought me a silly novelty t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, and a beer-style logo on the front, with the words Killer Bitch in the beer logo. It’s been untouched in my closet for about 7 years now. I giggle over it, but I’d never wear it.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Coloma I am not sure you’ve caught my point. The word “bitch” is often used as if certain traits are negative. Then people start saying “but those traits aren’t negative.” So they choose to take the word on themselves so that it is less attractive as an insult, making it harder for others to use. So reclamation is an act of defusing a word. It might even get some people to consider why they were using the word in that way—as if certain traits are bad—in the first place. Might.

As for the word having already been appropriated once, no one said a word cannot be appropriated multiple times. That’s like saying I can’t go through a door because someone just came out of it. “Bitch” was reappropriated first as an insult, and now people are trying to reappropriate it so that it is not one. I don’t really see why it matters that the word has meant more than one other thing in the past.

Finally, the “bigger fish to fry” argument is a red herring (pun intended). I can do more than one thing with my day. I can be opposed to more than one thing at once. Trying to reclaim a word does not prevent one from trying to end war or oppression just as breathing doesn’t prevent you from walking. The “bitch is born” thing doesn’t really seem relevant to me, either. We do not know a child’s personality traits at birth, so it does not make sense to call an infant girl a “bitch” regardless of whether the term is positive or negative. It’s the same reason we don’t send out announcements that say “a gentle violinist with a degree in nursing is born.”

Coloma's avatar


I get what you are saying, I really do, I think we’ve just about beaten this bitch to death. lol

SavoirFaire's avatar

Maybe. I guess I just wasn’t done bitching.

Coloma's avatar


You can’t really be a bitch if you have a sense of humor ;-)

Plucky's avatar

Bitches bitching about bitching bitches… perhaps, in the end, we’re all just bitches bitching ..or uh bitching bitches. :P

Just in case you think I’m serious ..yes, I am just being silly. ;-)

Coloma's avatar

@Plucky too, so, just in case @SavoirFaire , I meant in general, people can’t be true bitches if they possess a sense of humor. I’m okay if you call me a funny bitch. :P

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Coloma Ah, I see. And here I thought you were reassuring me that I wasn’t a bitch.

Coloma's avatar

Well..just to cover all my bases. haha

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Coloma Wait…........ I occasionally feel like I have a decent sense of humor. Does this mean I’m not a true bitch? Oh shit, everything I’ve come to understand about myself has just been blown apart! I need a moment… :P

El_Cadejo's avatar

Elton John never had a problem with it :P

Plucky's avatar

@uberbatman Well, Elton John is one of the coolest bitches ever. :P

AnonymousWoman's avatar

It could be a self-defence mechanism. Maybe the people you are talking about have the attitude “If I call myself a bitch, it won’t hurt me when other people call me one.”

Jude's avatar

@AnonymousGirl I think that you’re right.

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