Being A Bad Bitch Isn't A Bad Thing

Every girl in the world has been called a bitch at one time or another. A bitch for being difficult. A bitch for being crazy. A bitch for being unreasonable. A bitch for being mean. Sensitive. Dramatic. Demanding. Annoying. Attention-seeking. Outspoken. The list goes on and on and on. But the thing is, being a bitch, I mean if you really think about it, isn’t a bad thing. Men and society have tricked us into believing it's bad. And if you don’t believe me, allow me to prove it to you. 

Being called a bitch is SO different when a woman says it versus a man. When a woman says it, more often than not, it's meant in a sense of camaraderie or encouragement. The “Bad Bitch” mentality. (Of course, women still use the negative connotation, but more often in this modern 21st century, post-#MeToo world, I hear it with the positive connotation rather than the negative. And if they use the negative, they correct themselves). While when a man calls a woman a bitch, it’s insulting, belittling and degrading. 

Clueless gif Giphy

Being a “Bad Bitch” isn’t intimidating to women. It’s something women encourage other women to be. But it is threatening to men. But why? Because being a bad bitch means a girl is being masculine, and to a man in our society, that is the most terrifying thing.

Now, I’m not talking about dressing like Katherine Hepburn in menswear or pulling a Taylor Swift circa 'Lover' era and dressing up like a man. I am talking about the way badass girls behave and present themselves. More than ever before, women today have embraced their sexuality, their bodies, being outspoken, taking control, and having a voice. Doing these things makes women strong, dominant, empowered, unapologetic, ambitious, loud, assertive, bold and confident. Things that are stereotypically masculine qualities. However, in society, women are expected to be nice, nurturing, sensitive, quiet, submissive, and apologetic, but bad bitches punch that sexist, decades-old mentality in the face and instead act the exact opposite, by acting in ways that throughout history caused women to be punished and ostracized in society.

Daphne drinking Netflix / Giphy.com

But why? What has caused this sudden rise of the “Bad Bitch” mentality? Just look at our television screens. The most iconic, fan favorite characters on female-targeted shows feature Bad Bitches. Starting in the 1980s with Alexis Carrington on 'Dynasty' (and now Fallon Carrington in the CW reboot) and in the 1990s with Kelly Taylor on 'Beverly Hills', 90210. The “bad bitch” archetype reigned supreme in the Early 2000s with characters like Summer Roberts in 'The O.C.', Santana Lopez in 'Glee', Brooke Davis in 'One Tree Hill', Katherine Pierce in 'The Vampire Diaries', and most iconically and impactfully (in my personal opinion) with Blair Waldorf in 'Gossip Girl'. It also has continued well into the 2010s and 2020s with characters like Chanel Oberlin in 'Scream Queens', Alison Dilaurentis in 'Pretty Little Liars', Lizzie Saltzman in 'Legacies', Cheryl Blossom in 'Riverdale', Madison Montgomery in 'American Horror Story: Coven', and Maddie Perez in 'Euphoria'. There are also great movie examples like Kathryn Merteuil in 'Cruel Intentions' (like in her iconic “I’m the Marcia fucking Brady of the Upper East Side” monologue). 

What do all of these shows have in common besides a huge female audience? It also has a huge young adult audience. Women anywhere from 13-26 years old watch these shows and see these bad bitches with their inspiring confidence and unapologetic attitude. And yes, most of these characters are considered the “mean girl,” and yes that is stereotypically a “bitchy” quality and definitely not something to aspire to. Also, these characters are obviously dramatized because let’s face it, TV is meant to entertain us and not be taken literally. But they are also outspoken, complex, strong, and empowering feminist role models, and that is something that’s aspirational.

The Lala

After rewatching my all-time favorite TV show 'Gossip Girl' over winter break for like the 20th time, I noticed some of Blair Waldorf’s most feminist moments are hardly ever talked about. For example, at her 20th birthday party in the episode “War At The Roses” she talks about how important a women’s right to choose (in matters of abortion) is. And in the episode titled “The Witches of Bushwick”, Blair talks to Serena about how sexist marriage laws are in Utah (just for reference, they are talking about the show “Big Love”). While on paper, Blair (my favorite TV character of all time, so yes I might be biased) may be the “mean girl”, she is also the show's guiding feminist figure. What other character on 'Gossip Girl' would be able to show Chuck Bass the error of his toxic and misogynistic ways (but that’s another article)? This is also the same for Santana Lopez, Brooke Davis, and any other cinematic bad bitch you can think of.

Society has told women for too long that being a bitch is a bad thing, but in reality it’s really one of the best compliments a woman can get (as long as we normalize the true meaning ASAP). It means oppressing the stereotypical social pressures of being a woman by speaking our minds, asking for what we want and deserve, and seeking our own power and freedom. So, being a bitch doesn’t mean you are a bitch. Being a bitch actually means that you're an empowered badass. 

XOXO

Jess Bhamra Bend It Gif 20th Century Fox via Giphy

***The article is inspired by a Glamour magazine article called “The Enduring Allure of the Rich Bitch” by Christopher Rosas. I have used it for multiple college assignments and think it’s a MUST READ. It has impacted me, empowered me, and changed my viewpoint on so many things. I highly recommend checking it out.**

Here’s the link to the original article: https://www.glamour.com/story/the-enduring-allure-of-the-rich-bitch