In 2009 I wrote the following for another blog, and I have reposted it several times as it remains relevant to this day. A kerfluffle erupted this week about the word bitch, thanks to the New York Times. There are those who clutch their pearls when this word is uttered, but many of us now consider it a badge of honor. I have obviously been on that bandwagon for some time.
Now for my bit of history:
Once upon a time, there was a woman who felt that her gender should not be an issue in her career. She wanted to be treated as an equal, she acted like she was equal, and the men called her a bitch.
a female dog.
a female of canines generally.
a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, esp. a woman
a lewd woman.
anything difficult or unpleasant: The test was a bitch.
anything memorable, esp. something exceptionally good: That last big party he threw was a real bitch
Why does this 5 letter word have such power over women? We are raised to be “nice.” Malicious, unpleasant, and selfish are the opposite of this goal; however, this means that demanding equality may appear bitchy! At so many gatherings I have heard women ask how they can get their needs met without being called a bitch (generally these women spell the word rather than say it). The short answer? You cannot! Anytime you assert your needs and put yourself ahead of someone else, others may call you a “female dog.”
When my daughter was starting middle school, I explained the world to her in my own warped way. I give my students the same advice. If you have a voice that gets heard in the world, someone will call you a bitch. If you perform acts of kindness and charity, someone will say that the bitch is showing off! If you show more spine than a jelly fish, someone eventually will brand you a bitch. Accept it. If someone calls you a bitch, you are probably doing something right.
About a year later a classmate turned to her and called her a bitch. She thanked him for noticing, and then related how she had not reached her mother’s level of “bitchdom” yet. He said nothing more, and did not try to insult her the rest of the year. She came home from school empowered rather than insulted.
Now, this advice does not mean you should be a bitch. Do not be mean or evil, and never treat those lower than you on the ladder of life with contempt. Always have a sounding board of friends who can help you determine the line between reasonable and bitchy. Sometimes you will cross the line, but, with their help, you will recognize this behavior and apologize for it. If you find yourself crossing the line too often, you may need to reexamine your attitudes and behavior. Do not be afraid to do this and make necessary adjustments. It is called “growth.”
Someday I hope we get beyond the name-calling, but until then take pride in some bitchiness. It may just mean you are acting like a human being instead of an invertebrate. It may just mean you are living your life.
Of course, I am not alone in claiming bitch as a term of honor. May I present Amy and Tina:
On January 19, 2016, I got a call that my spouse was not doing well at work. Within 48 hours his head was cracked open, and we began a roller coaster of cancer and complications.
Today, almost 6 months later, he officially is back in his office for the first time. He is trying to do administrative work only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He has to deal with some changes in the way his brain works (they did remove a major chunk of his left frontal cortex). Until he starts interacting at a higher level, he won't be able to figure out how to compensate for those missing neurons.
There were many days this year that I wondered if his return to work would be feasible, ever, at any level. Today is a great day indeed!
Yesterday I wore a statement necklace to work. This piece composed of faux turquoise and coral added just the right pop to my plain black dress. As the day went on, I wondered where the line fell between what I wore, which was clearly influenced by Native American culture, and cultural appropriation.
Every creative type has inspiration boards with images influencing their current trends. Sometimes these pictures come from nature, but other times they are human creations. The artwork of every culture seems to have had its moment in high fashion. When I sort my scarves and jewelry, I can see bits and bobs that would fit right into National Geographic.
Of course, I usually limit myself to a single “ethnic” piece. Looking like an extra on a movie lot would generally be in bad taste. But the line falls well before full buckskin, war paint, and feathered headdresses. It’s just hard to know exactly where before you screw up.
If you think my wardrobe item has crossed the line, please let me know why. We need to discuss this stuff in real life, not just ridicule off-duty models and actresses who make their mistakes on a big stage.
This weekend I tried out my new tweexy, a manicure aid. This silicon device holds your nail polish bottle on your hand while you paint its nails.
The device worked as advertised. My only issue involved lighting. I sat on a sofa with a nearby table lamp, and the nails on my left hand got shadowed by the tweexy. Having a more flexible light source would help the situation.
I used my tweexy to apply Afternoon Delight, a subtle lavender from Deborah Lippman Gel Lab Pro Polish. This base, polish, and top coat set provides a long-lasting manicure, even for someone who is hard on their nails. I typically get 5 days of wear with this system (vs 2-3 with regular stuff).
This post is an apology of sorts to new commenters. I have things set so that once you have an approved comment on my site, all future comments will ultimately appear immediately. Even with an effective, aggressive spam filter, two or three inappropriate things try to get through every week or so. To know that there are comments awaiting moderation, I have to sign into my site.
I no longer do this every day because, life.
Anyway, that's why some of you, even though your comment was inoffensive and even welcome, saw a lag before it made its public debut. I am sorry for that, but not sorry enough to change my moderation habits.
In other words, deal with it (although you're likely on the good list now)!
Today I took my husband to Grand Rounds, a Pediatric Educational Lecture (for my non-MD readers). I noticed on the announcement yesterday that a person he knew well from our St. Louis days was giving a named lectureship in honor of the retirement of a colleague here at Oklahoma. I asked if he wanted to go; he said he would.
He arrived bright and early, and quickly impressed people who knew of his illness and issues with his stamina and resilience. He paid enough attention to the lecture to get upset when I scrolled through non-emergent messages on my phone. He chatted with colleagues at the reception afterwards, until I retrieved my bag and took him home.
He slept most of the afternoon (while I went to the dentist for a tooth repair), ate a quick dinner, and then retired again for the night.
During the marriage vows, one typically swears in front of god-and-everybody to stay together through a number of circumstances, including for better or for worse. So far, 2016 has been a butt-load (to use the technical term) of for worse. Today, I finally saw some for better, even if it did wear him out.
Yesterday while picking up some groceries and assorted items, I required a trip to a public restroom that contained 10 stalls. As I took my seat I noticed nice shoes under the partition next door. Now, these shoes looked feminine, but frankly, I have no idea what the chromosomes or genitalia of that person were. I could not tell, even at those close quarters, if this person had a vagina or penis. For all I know, they might have been cursed with two penises or a persistent cloaca! They might have been XX, XY, or some other combination of DNA units. I don't know if this person was doing #1, #2, or something else in there.
All I know is that their outer appearance, based on shoes, was female. AND NONE OF THE REST OF THIS MATTERS ONE BIT WHILE I'M PEEING!
If someone presents themselves to the world as a woman, they get to use the women's restroom. And vice versa.
The main blade is all plastic. While it easily slices the skin and flesh of the fruit, you would be hard pressed to scratch yourself with it. The only metal pieces are within a cupped area. They are not sharp enough to cut skin, yet they grip the pit and easily twist it out. Finally, the plastic blades in the slicer easily cut through ripe fruit, but I cannot imagine anyone hurting themselves with it.
I used to dismiss these things as nonsense; I could use a chef's knife! Then, I cut myself pitting an avocado and ended up in the emergency room. My payment for that visit (not to mention the subsequent infection) would buy more than 45 of these tools. One of my nurses suffered a very similar injury this fall, also while pitting the fearsome green fruit. I gave her one of these devices.