On Bitches

6 09 2008

Bitch. I hate that shit. The word, that is. I don’t like the way it sounds, and I don’t like the prevalence with which it’s tossed around. I respect those feminists who choose to reclaim it and employ it as a self-referential title, eschewing the idea that women must be polite and quiet, but it still doesn’t sit well with me. That, however, is the only use I’ve encountered that I’m comfortable with, and I’d like to take a minute to explain why. Let me be clear though, in explaining all of my issues with the word and why I don’t use it, I’m problematizing and taking issue with its use as a derogatory or dismissive word, not as a reclaimatory label of power and a fuck-you-for-telling-me-how-to-behave attitude. But first, let’s talk about solidarity.

On Solidarity

Solidarity, sisterhood, and togetherness have contentious histories within feminism(s). Too often, calls for solidarity have been used to silence and oppress women of color, poor women, differently abled women, immigrant women, and the list goes on. The body conceptualized by 2nd wave calls for sisterhood was a very particular body, and it was a body that DID NOT represent countless women in the United States or around the world. With good reason, many women have rejected those cries for sisterhood. We are not all the same, we don’t fight the same struggles, and the issues that matter to some of us are deemed irrelevant or overlooked by others. The silencing nature of sisterhood is, in my mind, one of the greatest missteps and problems within feminist circles and movements.

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