BITCH! Bitch, bitch, bitch BEE-ACH! No matter how long I roll it around in my mouth, and mentally chew on it, my brain simply cannot digest hearing women referred to as bitches. I think I’m bitchose intolerant because it nauseates me to hear so many of seasoning our language with this bitter condiment.
It takes me back to my childhood when my mother used to make me take a spoonful of Cod Liver Oil every day. She swore by it for warding off colds and other infectious childhood diseases. To offset the taste she would mix it with some type of juice and tell me to hold my breath and drink it. Orange, apple, cranberry—it didn’t matter. Nothing disguised the taste of the oil and I always had this queasy feeling in my stomach in the end.
Fast forward to the future. My aesthetician encourages me to drink Olive Oil or Flax Seed Oil in the morning to moisturize my skin. Like my mother, she also tells me to mix it with juice. Though I don’t think I’ll die from the concoction like I did in my childhood, the residual of oil lacing my lips and subsequent burps serve as reminders that no matter what I take it down with, it just doesn’t settle well with me. Bitch is an acquired taste that I haven’t acquired.
Even when the heavy peppering of the language leaves us irritated, some of us still like to sample this unsavory appetizer. So, we try to soothe our discomfort by trying to make it taste better. It’s Ms. Bitch to you or we use the acronym Babe In Total Control of Herself. Maybe it works for some, but it just slides around in my stomach.
I know that for some women, Bitch is a term of empowerment and/or endearment. I have had this conversation with friends and family, and I have had to be firm in my unwillingness to partake. Sherry Argov’s Why Men Love Bitches and Why Men Marry Bitches are popular books, and there are others. Then there is the TV show, Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt.23. Bitch seems to be on everybody’s table these days—right there next to the salt and pepper shakers, and most people sprinkle it throughout their conversation with little regard to its high level of emotional potency. The recent backlash against Beyonce for Bow Down proves that not every woman likes the taste of it.
I remember watching Queens of Comedy and trying to distinguish between the negative connotations and the positive connotations, but after a while it all sounded the same. The women the comedians liked were bitches. They called themselves bitches. And the women they didn’t like they called bitches. Try figuring that out!
For the sake of equality, we have even gotten into the habit of calling men bitches when they whine, complain or act too aggressive. These are all negative characteristics we associate with women. As another way of insulting gay men, we call them bitches, too.
Bitch is a derogatory term. It is the lowest form of debasement. Harassed by an obscene phone caller, he terminated every conversation by calling me a bitch of some sort. Failing to respond to a man’s cat call while walking down the street earned me the title of bald-headed dyke bitch. Endearing? No! Empowering? I don’t think so! How can a word that makes a woman feel like the contents of a pooper-scooper be liberating? I cannot get up from the table after having a big bowl of bitch and feel good about myself. I’ve tried to tell myself that words can only have as much power as I give them, but even as I say the word bitch to myself, it looks and feels nasty in my mouth and makes me want to spit it out.
For those that like to chew on it, I hope that it does not cause indigestion, heart burn nausea or the desire to spit it back in the face of the server. As for me, bitch is never pleasing to my palate. So, if you’re serving it up at your table, I hope you don’t mind if I pass on the bitch.