Queers Answering Queer Questions
By Chloë Andrews
“Bitch get your ass over here!”
“What’s the plan bitch?”
“That bitch needs to get her shit together.”
Originally used to refer to a female dog used for breeding, the word bitch now refers to a woman who is aggressive, assertive, and strong. The term became derogatory when it became shorthand for a woman who was sexually unabashed — a dog in heat.
As women’s suffrage swept the United States in the 1920s, bitch became a common way to degrade and humiliate women. Usage of the term skyrocketed in the 1960s when women began entering the workforce, coinciding with the rise of feminist mentality. I’ve heard a lot of queer men use bitch as a term of endearment, and I don’t think they realize the impact it has on me and many other women.
Gay guys think that their lack of sexual desire for women prevents them from being sexist. But when men use the word bitch in any context they reinforce the idea that women should be subservient to men.
I’ve heard some gay men argue that they are reclaiming the word for women. While women and gay men face many of the same struggles, such as rampant discrimination and prejudice, trying to reclaim the word for women is misguided and hurtful. Think about this — if heterosexuals had attempted to reclaim the word queer in allegiance with the LGBTQ community, would they have been very successful?
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