Bitchy, catty, conniving, jealous, emotional, crazy.
Words that are used to describe women in every industry they populate.
Don’t like the girl who just joined the team that fake laughs and flutters her eyelashes at your boss?
Speak up about an injustice happening at your work place?
Call people out on their bullshit?
In fact, the term ‘catty’ would otherwise be called, ‘competitive’ if a man expressed the same behaviour. Because even in 2018, a woman expressing competitiveness, or directness or outspokenness is still seen as ‘unnattractive’ or ‘unbecoming’.
The notion that women, at all times, should be positive, kind, friendly and nurturing as opposed to strong, fearless and outspoken is as outdated as Chris and Liv’s Love Island relationship. And just like the ‘love’ between them, we’re leaving the ‘women are light and fluffy’ narrative behind us, back in 2017.
Where Did It Start?
I am really not sure. But I’m pretty convinced that Boudicca, Cleopatra and Joan of Arc weren’t ever bestowed the moniker of ‘lovely’ or on the other hand, ‘catty’.
Maybe it started with advertisement in the fifties. Women were splashed across these ads, showing off a variety of homeware items with slogans that stated things like, ‘Be As Easy As Pie’ or ‘Be Happy Go Lucky.’ It all reinforced the notion that women should be seen and not heard, humble and not fierce, quiet and meek – not have a ballsy streak. Heck even the term ‘ballsy’ means to have testicles when it’s used in our vocabularies to mean, ‘direct’ and ‘confident’.
Women were always advertised as, ‘the weaker sex’ and the ways we used to have to get our opinions heard or our work seen HAD to be more underhanded and covert because being loud and direct was not a woman’s way.
Where Is It Still Perpetuated?
In short, EVERYWHERE.
We perpetuate it ourselves by still quietening ourselves. By talking behind backs instead of to people’s faces. By sub-tweeting and expressing criticism in Whatsapp groups rather than to the person’s face – in fear of being labelled ‘negative’.
Trash-ional newspapers lambast any woman that shows an ounce of gumption by reducing them to words such as ‘crazy’, ‘hormonal’ and sometimes even ‘hysterical’ across their headlines.
Social media trolls hunt down any woman who writes an article with a strong opinion and tell her to kill herself.
Celebrities who speak out against abuse, ill-treatment or social issues are labelled as past-it, jealous or attention-seekers.
Women who use their platforms to discuss injustices are ‘causing a fuss’ or being ‘wild’.
It’s a modern day witch hunt. Or as anyone who has ever publicly expressed a less than flowery view can attest – a bitch hunt.
If you speak out, stand up, call out, question a dangerous opinion – you’re a fuss-causing bitch.
Why It Needs To Stop
Being assertive does not make you a bitch. Speaking out for what’s right does not make you callous. Not taking crap from people doesn’t make you stand-offish. And giving out a negative opinion, speaking out on issues that are by nature – negative or calling someone out for their negative behaviour is actually perfectly OK.
Do you ever stop to think that when men do the exact same things – speak out, stand up, call out or express an opinion that isn’t all hearts and flowers – that they don’t get called a bitch or a FUCKING Negative Nellie (WHAT EVEN IS THAT TERM THAT HAS SPAWNED?)
There’s a reason
Quieting the voices of women has been a tool in many’s arsenals over the decades.
The qualities that a ‘Negative Nellie’ or a woman seen as a ‘bitch’ often possesses are; a no nonsense attitude, directness, assertive and being strong-willed. All qualities that would be deemed as a ‘success’ if a man possessed them.
Why is that?
So, in 2018, it stops.
You are not causing trouble. You are not a Negative Nellie. You are not a callous bitch if you use your voice or platform to discuss injustices, evil, poor behaviour, abuse, maltreatment at work or mistreatment in a relationship – because sorry Fiona Flowery Hearts, life isn’t all marshmallows, Jo Malone candles and Lush baths.
In 2018, women are not silenced, shushed or shamed into only sharing and spreading positivity. Because life isn’t always positive. People aren’t always kind and situations aren’t always as nice as pie.
We will not be quietened to flatter egos, or to keep the peace.
Yes, we want peace and harmony but it is not solely on us to always maintain. It is not down to every woman to love every woman in the name of faux feminism. It is not just our responsibility to keep things light and airy if there’s a storm brewing. Every so often a woman needs to roar.