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'Friendly' banter

(41 Posts)
Rustypaperclip Thu 08-Jun-17 22:37:55

I debated posting this in AIBU as I'm really not sure. I couple of time recently I have been joking around with two different male friends over text. All quite innocent and nothing offensive from me. It has all been very lighthearted but they have both at times replied 'bitch'. I'm not at all against swearing, in fact I'm a fan of it quite often but being called a bitch, even in a jokey way, doesn't seem right to me. I politely challenged one friend and he apologised profusely but now a second friend has said it and I do feel that it is slightly derogatory.

I can accept being told that I am overreacting, and I'm not sure why it makes me so uncomfortable. Any opinions before I mention that I don't appreciate being called a bitch, even as a joke? I wonder if it bothers me that it may be seen as commonly acceptable to refer to a female friend as a bitch in jest, whereas I wouldn't call them a bastard or a wanker

NoLoveofMine Thu 08-Jun-17 22:43:48

I don't think you're overreacting in the slightest. I hate the word "bitch" when used about a woman or girl and think it's incredibly misogynistic. I would be pretty angry if anyone used that term to refer to me no matter the manner it's said. Even if they don't mean it to be, it's misogynist and demeaning. Like you, I don't like it when used in jest by women to other women or about themselves either, though wouldn't police that. In this case I concur entirely with you.

Rustypaperclip Thu 08-Jun-17 22:48:10

Thank you, my gut feeling was to feel annoyed that they think it is friendly and acceptable to call anyone a bitch, let alone a friend. I just want to be sure that I am not being too sensitive

NoLoveofMine Thu 08-Jun-17 22:53:14

It definitely isn't and you're not being too sensitive. I'm sure many people would say you, I and all others who object to being referred to as such are being too sensitive but we're not - why should we accept such misogynist language? It's not at all friendly.

Rustypaperclip Thu 08-Jun-17 23:03:20

I sent my friend a polite message to say it upset me and he completely dismissed it! That feels more insulting than an argument from him as to why I am overreacting sad

RedLemonade Thu 08-Jun-17 23:13:17

I agree. It feels wrong; probably because, as with pretty much every "female" swear word, it is laced with genuine nastiness- whether intentional or not.

An ex jokingly called me a cow once and I was really hurt. If he had called me a bastard or a fucker I would have laughed and slung something right back, but somehow the insults "reserved" for women just feel so wrong, even in banter.

Rustypaperclip Thu 08-Jun-17 23:18:45

I think that is it RedLemonade, the fact that 'bitch' is a purely feminine insult. It saddens me that I have 'good' friends that see it as acceptable. The first friend I confronted has a young daughter and he was horrified when I told him it offended me and admitted that he would hate anyone to call her a bitch

NoLoveofMine Thu 08-Jun-17 23:21:00

Sorry to hear that Rustypaperclip. I'd feel exactly the same and it's very unpleasant a friend would dismiss you like that, favouring not being challenged on misogynistic language.

I concur RedLemonade, laced with aggression and misogyny however it's used in my opinion.

MaisyPops Thu 08-Jun-17 23:25:42

It depends on how it's used.
A lot of my male friends use bitch to refer to anyone who has a bit of a gossip or make a quick comment. Male or female. So it doesn't bother me.

But it would bother me if it was an insult saved exclusively for women.

Rustypaperclip Thu 08-Jun-17 23:32:02

Maisy I can understand that, and I don't think that would bother me as much, it's more the fact it is aimed directly at me and supposedly seen as funny. As if I'm 'being a bitch' for not laughing along (although that hasn't been said to be fair)

MaisyPops Thu 08-Jun-17 23:33:07

Ah right I see your view.

When we say it it's very "ooh you bitch!" With a laugh.

NoLoveofMine Thu 08-Jun-17 23:34:06

A lot of my male friends use bitch to refer to anyone who has a bit of a gossip or make a quick comment. Male or female.

In my opinion the use of the word in these terms is also grounded in misogyny and misogynist views of women, even if someone using it doesn't think it is.

Datun Thu 08-Jun-17 23:43:17

I agree it's misogynistic. I've come to see it as more and more unpleasant, to be honest. As I keep seeing it being deployed by men who really hate women.

'Biatch' is a slightly diluted version which I may not get quite as annoyed about. But only slightly.

NoLoveofMine Thu 08-Jun-17 23:48:14

I definitely agree Datun. I think the men who use it no matter the context or if they're purporting to do it in a light hearted manner are often using to to express their disdain for women.

Datun Fri 09-Jun-17 12:21:29

I'm fairly confident that I can predict someone's attitude to women based on a few Facebook, or Internet comments. The language always, always has a 'tell'.

NoLoveofMine Fri 09-Jun-17 15:20:35

I feel the same and have been right so far with the ones I've judged who I actually know of - sometimes they make it obvious with misogynist jokes or comments but sometimes the language and obvious tone towards/about women and girls is extremely telling.

powershowerforanhour Fri 09-Jun-17 17:06:51

Yep, misogynist. I try to stop using it myself as I believe internalised sexism is a real thing and a significant barrier to an equal society.

Rustypaperclip Fri 09-Jun-17 19:09:20

I told him that I was being serious when I said that I found being called a bitch offensive. He said that it is 'mentally noted' hmm

OwlsinTowls Sun 11-Jun-17 20:22:31

It's up to you how you want to be referred to.

I personally wouldn't care. We all call each other sluts/bitches as jokes, even directed at the men.

OwlsinTowls Sun 11-Jun-17 20:23:38

So, as banter it wouldn't phase me... as long as it was with a friend.

I don't like the phrases when intended to be viscious.

Thephoneywar Mon 12-Jun-17 09:04:14

It's understandable that you feel upset but I do think you are being a tad oversensitive. Have you never jokingly called a friend a dick or a knob or a dick head or any other penis related insult? I know I have.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 12-Jun-17 09:24:48

Thephoneywar, you're ignoring a whole heap of issues around the use of gendered insults and specifically the word "bitch". It's not the same as using the examples you gave.

Thephoneywar Mon 12-Jun-17 11:44:08


I disagree. Either all gendered insults are inherently wrong, including the ones I mentioned and others such as cock, bellend etc, or non are.

I don't think you can have it both ways. That's just being a hypocrite.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 12-Jun-17 11:52:53

Nope, disagree with that. To say so is to ignore the background to these insults and the fact that "bitch" has been used by misogynistic men as a particular put down towards women, from a position of power.

Datun Mon 12-Jun-17 12:59:51

The insult bitch is one of those insults that does bear closer scrutiny. It largely depends on where, when and how often you hear it, as to whether you deem it as more loaded than words like cock or bellend.

It's definitely gendered, in the same way as cock is. Even if it is applied to a man, where it describes a gendered activity.

Unfortunately, it is absolutely the go to insult for a misogynistic attitude. Whereas 'cock' isn't usually representative of entire attitude.

I see a man, or a woman, calling someone a cock or a bellend. The inference is usually that I understand they are only referring to that person. If I see a man (particularly), calling a woman a bitch, it is generally the result of an underlying attitude to women generally. Not always, not every time, but enough times for me to see it in an entirely different light to words like cock, bellend, dick, etc.

The insult cunt, funnily enough, I see as being far more arbitrarily applied, to both sexes, despite it being a highly gender-specific word.

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