B is for

April 2, 2014

B is for…

bitch.  That’s right, I said it.  I have an irreverent little sign up in my classroom—don’t be scandalized; it’s mostly hidden from the general view—that says, “You say I’m a bitch like it’s a bad thing,” complete with a rough drawing of a girl sporting a sweet, innocent, smarmy little smile.

Bitch is a funny word to me.  Whenever anyone else wields it against me, it is an affront, an offense.  But I can wield it against myself with aplomb, owning it vigorously, laughing in the face of commonly held connotations.  Bitch is both negative and positive space. 

To reinforce the positive, however, I will sling a few more excellent b-words into the mix.

Brave, for one—anyone undertaking this A to Z challenge is brave, IMpltHO (in my probably-less-than-humble opinion).

Believe the best—whenever we talk about creating norms for our professional learning communities at school, the one I always mention and seek to embody is the notion of “presuming positive intentions” on the parts of all participants.  Amy Grant has a song on her most recent album that vows, “I won’t believe the worst is true, and do the best that I can do.”

Perhaps a better substitute for bitch as wielded defiantly on one’s own behalf is badassBadassery…(yep, it’s a word! See?)



North American • informal

  • Behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as formidably impressive: few of us can attain her level of badassery

(Source:  Oxford Dictionaries)

badassery brings with it connotations that bitch seems to lack—namely, the overwhelming sense of confidence, of swagger, but genuinely motivated.  Bitch has notes of meanness, hints of pettiness, a potentially bitter bouquet.  The Oxford Dictionary defines badass (noun) as “a tough, uncompromising, or intimidating person.”  That works for me.

10 thoughts on “B is for

  1. In England the word bitch is used quite often in a fun way and certainly always used to describe a female dog. It wasn’t til I came to the Americas I discovered it was regarded as such a bad word.

    Dropping in from A to Z

    • Jo, thanks for reading and commenting! That’s the original meaning of the word, of course, so to call someone a “son of a bitch” is actually more offensive to his mother than to him. It’s always funny for an American who has grown with the negative connotation of the word to hang around dog enthusiasts and breeders. It’s moderately shocking until it wears off. Haha!

  2. I grew up in a straight laced family and even now using bitch, as a negative, is frowned at. I like getting it out in the open like this. It’s a breath of fresh air. I also like the definition of a badass. I wonder what I am?

    • Karen, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I always think about Dumbledore telling Harry Potter that refusal to speak a word gives it that much more power. That said, I understand that using such words against someone is not really a nice thing. 🙂 But I agree with you–there’s something refreshing about putting a little air around it. I haven’t met you or read your writing yet (the latter will change soon), but to respond to your question, I think you are whatever you decide to be. You can choose to be a badass. 🙂

Overheard at a kiln: "The main teaching of all religions is, don't be a dick." You heard the man--comment away, but...you know...

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