I spent yesterday downtown with a couple cool people. The following are pictures in the streets of Chicago (specifically Wacker) and in the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Once upon a time there lived a young maiden in the outskirts of the Lands of Chicago. This young maiden was surrounded by brutes of different types. Some were large and dangerous and others were small and benign, and of course, there were many other types in between. Among these fellows was a faction of the inscrutable persuasion. These lads lived lives of adventure and adrenaline. Their daring deeds proved them powerful and earned them respect among their fellow companions. The important thing here, however, is their tongue.
One day, as our young maiden sat in the market with some boys of this particular sort, she overheard a conversation she would not soon forget. One of the esteemed gentlemen bespoke of his frolickings in another part of town; he described in great detail the copious numbers of “bad bitches” and how “cute as hell [they were].”
And in that moment, I swear she was confused.
Here is what I was always thought:
bad+bad=bad therefore bad+bitch=bad bitch = some abstract bad thing/idea
But oh my friends! How wrong I was! This is the point in the story where I change register and point of view because this is no longer a fairy tale… this is ReAl LiFe
In a world that reduces men and women to synecdoches, we find ourselves constantly creating new terms for each other.
Bitch, as the OED has it, is historically the female dog (later fox, wolf, and others). I sat on the train today and worked this all out in my head. I have absolutely no foundation for any of the following, and I will warn you all who continue past this point (much to my confusion) that I am a moron:
Originally a wild female animal, it became the derogatory term for a woman who, too, was wild in that she did not adhere to the prescribed procedure of men who had so gracefully bestowed this nomenclature. This is where I begin to question the validity of the insult. Humans are animals. Of course, this is coming from the more scientific side of your dedicated Mexican Princess.
A (derogatory) Bitch is one who does as she pleases and loses the “””””respect””””” of men. A Bitch is an animal, yes, but so is a man! (Shout out to dat young institution called SCIENCE.) Why then is the term bitch so frowned upon? I understand that is it meant to devaluate a woman, but why does a woman care when stupid people call her out for not being sedate and docile? Furthermore, Bitch is used to emasculate a man. It should make him feel as a woman… but why is being a woman such a bad thing? Ah yes, I forgot– we continue to live in the era of prevalent misogyny.
//// LONG LIVE THE PATRIARCHY ////
So back to our young maiden’s dilemma…
She realized then that Bitch is not such a bad thing. Better still, a “bad bitch” (or “baddest bitch” á la Nicki Minaj) is Bitch to a higher degree. A bad bitch is one who takes feminism to the next level. She is the misogynist’s worst nightmare. The seemingly fatuous fellow perhaps was not so fatuous after all; perhaps he was extolling the bad bitches from the market for being the fighters for feminism. Also they were probably really cute. Feminists are appealing in many, many ways.
I had always been uncomfortable with “The B Word” because 1. it’s a “””bad””” word and 2. it is used as a tool against women. It was created for men and by men to brand animals and later woman– later to dehumanize these woman.
I realized, however, that tools only work if their canvas is malleable enough, vulnerable enough. As far as this particular word is concerned, it no longer offends me to the degree it once did (not that I am often referred to as a bitch, but that’s not important). Though its traces have still somewhat raw wounds on my skin, damage it can do no more. What I’m saying is that this word is as empty as the person from whose lips it emanates. One cannot take away the humanity of a woman only to equate her to an animal, because they, like men, are the same thing: animals. What does it mean to be human? That is a post for another time. In about five million years. If someone is going to attack me, I thank him or her for doing it in the innocuous verbal way. What’s the point of scribbling inanities with washable markers?