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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Is Bitch Always Bitchy?


For those who don’t follow the US presidential campaign or watch The View, Hillary Clinton is the new (and, evidently, the only) “bitch” to beat come 2008: At a campaign event this past Monday, republican candidate Senator John McCain was put to task when a female audience member asked the Senator, “How do we beat the bitch?” Since then, everyone from the media to the general blogging public (present company included) has been debating the term, as well as McCain’s response to the not so subtle remark. To his credit, McCain did his best to brush off the remark and proceeded as eloquently as possible, a slight nervous chuckle notwithstanding. Nonetheless, people are divided on whether or not McCain did all that he could, and many are calling the presidential hopeful sexist for not doing more to defend Hillary’s “bitch” status. Personally, I don’t believe the senator is to blame for the comments of another. What I do find interesting, though, is the seeming public consensus surrounding the word’s merits, with most people agreeing that the term, when used to describe a woman – particularly by a man (or in McCain’s case, a man merely listening to another woman calling a woman a bitch) – is akin to denying a woman’s right to vote, (never mind run for President.) While I do agree with this newfound definition and societal self-reflection of sorts, I can’t help but feel slightly on edge regarding my rights to the word. Does the ban on bitch extend to “bisnatch,” and all the other pet names my girlfriends and I use with such affection? Is “Yo bitch, waddup?” no longer an acceptable greeting or voicemail message? Have we gone too far? Or more to the point, is “bitch” necessarily bitchy?

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