Recently, I was sitting on the roof of my building chatting with a neighbor about her new job. She’s been having a bit of a rough go, because she and another co-worker collaborate on a number of creative projects and rarely see eye-to-eye. Earlier this week, she was horrified when, following a tense discussion about the direction of an ad campaign, he told another co-worker that she was a bitch.
I absolutely believe that his behavior was unprofessional. However, my neighbor (who gave me permission to post this) was more concerned that he thought she was “the B-word.” She couldn’t even say it aloud.
While I’m sorry that she was genuinely hurt by what he said, and sorry that she’s having such a tough time working with him, I was kind of surprised that there are still women who are sensitive to the word bitch. Don’t get me wrong, we shouldn’t be walking around calling each other names in the workplace, but I’ve always seen being called a bitch as something of a badge of honor.
But maybe that’s just because I’m called a bitch so frequently, I had to develop some kind of coping mechanism. *wink*
All kidding aside, women have spent centuries pushing for gender equality. We fight for equal pay, equal treatment and equal expectations, and we don’t always get them. And as a result of societal norms, behavior that would be perfectly acceptable for a man can label a woman as a bitch in no time flat.
As Tina Fey said, “Bitch is the new black,” and I completely agree. Usually, when someone calls me “the B-word” it’s because I’ve stood up for myself or refused to defer to someone else’s opinion when I didn’t agree. The word bitch no longer holds any sting for me. In fact, if all you can do is call me names, then I’ve already won. And when someone uses this word in reference to me, I just shrug my shoulders and move on with my day. I don’t dwell on it, and I don’t let it get me down.
My neighbor felt differently. She “doesn’t think name calling should be a source of personal pride” and refuses to accept that “the word should ever be used except in reference to a female dog.”
So what do you think? Should she be offended by “the B-word” or is being called a bitch nothing to fret about?