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Why is the word bitch misogynistic?

(10 Posts)
pregnantpause Mon 16-Sep-13 09:53:02

I work with men. Lots of them. Recently I challenged them on referring to women as bitches as it's derogatory and misogynistic. They argued that as they aren't referring to all women as bitches- just the ones who are bitches, then yes it's derogatory but not misogynist. They stated that as they also use the word against men, my argument that it's a word only applied women, to put down women, and supposed feminine characteristics it is wrong.
I know that it is misogynistic, has anyone here got anymore concrete an argument for me. I'm useless as holding up this feminist banner- I always lose when I challenge any misogynysad

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 16-Sep-13 10:08:17

Because it's not just used to mean "mean person", it's specifically applied to women, it would be rare to use it to describe a man (especially a straight man) and if it is used then it tends to be derogatory in a "he's acting like a woman" way which is offensive. (e.g. Don't be a whiny bitch about it)

I would say the main offensive use of it though is the more general use, "bitches love that" "She's my bitch" etc. It has an implication of property, it is othering, is implies that women are almost a different species. It is VERY objectifying and doesn't acknowledge that women are people, they are just "bitches"

If your colleagues are using it in the sense of "mean-spirited woman" then they probably won't link it to the second meaning but it could be worth pointing out that it is only ever used about women and if it is used about a man then it is implying that they are lesser because they are behaving like a woman.

IME though this isn't the best kind of thing to challenge as people see it as splitting hairs or being "professionally offended" about a term they probably haven't thought much about the implications of. I had more success with challenging rape jokes/rape myths/victim blaming/general blatant objectification.

BitBewildered Mon 16-Sep-13 10:14:00

One of the definitions of the word bitch is 'a person who undertakes demeaning tasks for another', as well as the idea of someone being 'bitchy' meaning catty, spiteful, or malicious, which are all characteristics ascribed to women - although clearly all people are capable of behaving like that.

I suppose calling a man a bitch is to suggest that he is an inferior man by suggesting he is in some way female - so less of a real man, what with being a real man the greatest thing anyone could hope to achieve hmm.

PeterParkerSays Mon 16-Sep-13 10:18:05

I would say because it reduces a woman, and the term is only applied to women, to the level of a dog, which have always been subservient to men.

pregnantpause Mon 16-Sep-13 10:24:17

It was used in the term 'bitches be bitches'. As a joke, yes, but still hugely misogynist. I don't risk seeming professionally offended with them, I am very much part of the group, I suppose this is partly why I lose the arguments- it's all very friendly and jokey.

CHJR Sat 05-Oct-13 16:21:40

And we call men "bastards" ie illegitimate. So insult a man by insulting his mother (in an assumption, of course, that having a child out of wedlock is immoral which just doubles the insult for... the woman, as usual)

KaseyM Sat 05-Oct-13 21:02:20

The word "bitch" is misogynistic in the same way that the word "nigger" is racist.. If someone said it only applied to certain black people would that mean they werent racist?

I think you should challenge them on that. Would they think it ok to use the N word without repercussion? Of course not.

gloucestergirl Sat 05-Oct-13 21:23:49

The word bitch seems to have become a edgy cool synom for chick/girl/woman etc. As used by the likes of true feminist icons such as Rhianna. But opposite to "nigger", where the group being denegrated have reclaimed the word, men seem to think that it is okay to refer to women as "bitches". Some don't appreciate or care that it has a nasty hate-filled undertone, or maybe it is a perfect way to express their nasty hate-filled view of women.

When I was younger and worked in a very male environment I used to met men who spoke regulary about women like this, although the word bitch was still a proper insult then. I'm glad that I am out of that world now being a teacher and living in a different country.

YoniTime Sat 05-Oct-13 22:13:45

It confuses me that it means both mean-spirited woman and someone subordinate. Like in "making someone your bitch." I guess it implies that being like a bitch is being like a woman and that means you're subordinate which is of course miogynistic.

The word feels really hateful anyhow.

ayahushca Sun 06-Oct-13 00:05:01

When you call a man a bastard you're not really insulting his mother. You're insulting him. Or more specifically you're insulting his failure (to a patriarchal brain) to defend his mother. But you're primarily insulting him (so therefore to "be a man") and calling him worthless in just the same way bitch is used.

When someone calls a man "a son of a bitch" In 95% of cases they don't know the mother, and aren't thinking of them when they make the insult. It's intended purely to wound the protective male identity. and therefore their sense of wellbeing as a man. In the abuser's mind, the mother doesn't come into it.

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