This blog has been in the offing for a while I think. I am always looking for someone to talk to about what I see, watch, and read. More and more in the last few years the things I want to talk about are the -isms. Was that play/news article/tv show/movie sexist, racist, ableist? Does it handle LGBTQ issues well, or poorly? Were there even diverse characters at all? Does it set an incredible example with its female characters?
Finally this all boiled over recently in a conversation with Kate after watching the new Star Trek movie (about which we have FEELINGS, which I’m sure are forthcoming) and we said, OK, lets write about this.
When I was batting around names for this blog with Kate and company, I kept coming back to things involving the word bitch. We didn’t really think that we could use the word bitch in the name but I kept coming back to it like it was something hot I wanted to touch.
Personally, I think bitch is a loaded word and I go back and forth about how I feel about using it myself. People make the argument that women have reclaimed the word bitch, like other shaming words before it and that we now have the power over it.
However, I think people are still using the word bitch as a weapon against women. And it seems that for whatever reason, women especially use it against other women. All of the things that society sees as being negative about women are dragged up with this one little word and hurled back at us. Women are bitches when they are confident in their opinions, when they are assertive and speak their minds, when they refuse to roll over and be a doormat. We are bitches when we speak too much in the classroom or meeting, when we don’t want to be hit on, when we want to have power over our own bodies and lives. Men and boys instead get praise for all of these things.
I do understand the impulse of women wanting to claim the word. Being a bitch can mean that you are strong and independent. People call Hillary Clinton a bitch. Battlestar Galatica’s Kara Thrace is a bitch. I’d be proud to be put in the same category as these ladies. But I think as women that we need to be careful of the repercussions of throwing this word around freely. If you want, go ahead and be a bitch and feel free to call yourself a bitch. But think before using it as a weapon.
It can be easy to forget that words have such power. Knowing your audience is important and it seems to me that writing things on the internet is the ultimate test of not being able to know if your audience is in on the joke. And that is why this blog is not called “Super-Fun Bitch Time,” sadly.
Our society is constantly reinforcing this idea that women are inherently lesser. Being a woman in this world is already a battle field; we shouldn’t make it a mine field too. I like the word bitch and I’m not necessarily saying I’m going to stop using it. What I am saying is that words have power and that we need to be mindful of that.
We bounced around many a name idea and finally decided on “Sassafrakas.” Sassafras + fracas (with a good old “Frak” thrown in for good measure). We aim to be a little serious, quite thoughtful, fairly silly, and start a few fisticuffs. Just a few, though.
So, anyway, welcome to Sassafrakas, and buckle in for the ride, bitches.
-Charlotte would like to apologize to her mother for using the word bitch a bunch of times on the internet.