Merriam-Webster defines bitch as 1 : the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals;
2 a : a lewd or lascivious woman b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse; 3 : something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant;
4 : complaint.
As the bottom in a D/s-based relationship, I get called a lot of names. Slut, whore, cunt—yes, even that, the dreaded “c-word.” And it’s all good. Hearing those taboo words come out of his mouth turns me on, makes me hot, makes me wet. And that, after all, is why I do what I do.
The word bitch is another thing entirely. Bitch is not one of those “so-wrong-it’s-hot” words for me. I really despise the word; it makes me want to slap (as opposed to fuck) the person saying it to me. I don’t know why that one word inspires such a visceral, negative reaction. That’s the tricky thing about adopting certain slur-words into our vernacular; everyone has a different level of tolerance, and what turns one person on may be waving a red flag at another.
It seems that bitch, more so than slut, or even cunt, has been harder for women to reclaim as an empowering word. It may stem from the fact that although bitch was originally a sexually charged word, first used to compare a woman to a female dog, and further, to a female dog in heat, it has now largely come into use as a general term of abuse, as a means to describe the loss or abuse of power (a man in a submissive role may be referred to as bitch) or to denigrate a woman in a position of authority (especially when that woman uses the same tactics as men to obtain and maintain that power.)
Bitch Media, a non-profit organization that publishes the self-proclaimed “feminist response to pop culture” magazine Bitch, has this to say about the use of the B-word:
“The writer Rebecca West said, ‘People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.’ We’d argue that the word “bitch” is usually deployed for the same purpose. When it’s being used as an insult, “bitch” is an epithet hurled at women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don’t shy away from expressing them, and who don’t sit by and smile uncomfortably if they’re bothered or offended. If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we’ll take that as a compliment.”
On second thought, I can live with that definition. And I do kind of like the original way that it was used, as a comparison to a bitch in heat. Now that’s kinda hot. So maybe I am ready to claim bitch as my own, to learn to love it. Maybe it’s time to own my inner bitch!
On the other hand, it’s probably still a good idea to make sure I am tied up the next time you want to throw the word my way. My inner bitch just might decide not “sit by and smile uncomfortably.”