My best friend always tells her parents how important it is to raise your daughter to think and fight like a guy. “Femininity might get you a guy”, she always says, “but strength will ensure you don’t need one”. In this crazy world we live in, women fight constantly – to be recognized as equals, to have access to the same jobs and resources, to prove tenacity and to rewarded for being excellent leaders. Dare we say it? It’s a man’s world, and a woman should be ready to fight in it.
I think that’s why part of my identity comes from recognizing that I am a fighter; I have been, my whole life: its something I’m proud of, and its something I hope others to recognize in me. I’ll confess I wear my heart on my sleeve; I can be a little insecure, I’m loyal to the point of annoying and I’m meticulous to the brink of insanity.
But with all my flaws, I am a fighter – and I fight when its personal but also when it’s based on principle, even though that can be so much more work. It’s the reason I say I can sometimes be a bitch and, more importantly, it’s the reason I say I am often proud to be one.
Whenever I describe myself in such a way, my friends looks at me, rather shocked, and say “come on, you’re not a bitch!” While I appreciate the sentiment, I think they don’t understand what I mean – I’m taking the word bitch out of its societal derogatory concept, and I am redefining it – because there is more than one way of defining it. I want to introduce a new philosophy to you – know as Bitchology – which I am proud to subscribe to:
Empowerment for women is so important – and that women need to be empowered doesn’t make you a feminist (although being a feminist can be a wonderful thing); it’s about recognizing that strength doesn’t need to be considered an unattractive quality and choosing to cast of the societal perceptions of “femininity”. I think women should rejoice in their own flame of courage, and be proud that others recognize that you are someone who can speak their mind, thoughts and ideas without being afraid that it will be “un-lady like”. If that makes you a bitch, then so be it!
Sometimes, I think, women forget how far we have come in the last few decades, and how it is the responsibility of new generations of womankind to forge ahead what those so valiantly in the past of done. It reminds me of that song from Mary Poppins “Sister Suffragettes” – based on a term coined to derogatorily label the UK women’s movement that wanted equal voting rights for women, and the women reclaimed it as something worth being proud of (kind of like the way I am trying to reclaim the word bitch as being something worth embracing). While the video was made in 1964, it denotes struggles from the early 20th century. Look at how hard we have progressed, and how hard women worked long ago so we could have the rights we have now – like voting; the rights we now take for granted.
Haha, I love when she says “Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stupid…” HAHA! (Not that I necessarily agree, but it makes me laugh!). When I watch the video, I remember how hard someone worked for me to get the chance to vote; how someone was a “soldier in a petticoat” for me so that today I can wear pants to work; how someone decided that being a woman can embrace more than being in the home; how someone fought so I can now choose to be a doctor, or lawyer, or firefighter or anything else I want to be; how someone decided that women were just as good as men, and “cast off the shackles” of yesterday’s thinking to forge a new tomorrow.
Today,women have the responsibility to maintain that progression – to be bigger and better than societal perceptions and to not let that momentum of a century become stagnant.
If that means you are a bitch, so what? 🙂 Fight the power, ladies.
– The Wonders of Womanhood