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Reclaiming the Word “Bitch”

In America, there is a fourth wave of feminism happening. With the millions of people rallying in protest of the current political administration, the treatment of women, and the cry for intersectionality, there is a social movement underway in the streets of America. This includes the reclamation of words like slut, hoe, queer, girly, bossy, prude, and the like. But, the word that’s transforming slowly is bitch. But why is that? Be honest. When you first hear the word “bitch”, what do you think? Do you automatically assume someone is trying to insult you? Do you see it as a word to mean you are being dramatic and sensitive? Or maybe you see it as a way for people to tear down femininity. Whatever your answer is to this question, it’s time to start changing the connotation of this word from something negative to something positive.


As a Skidmore College Outdoor Orientation Program Peer Advisor (SCOOP PA), I had to attend a lecture about leadership. In this presentation, the speaker urged us, as leaders, to refrain from using the word bitch. Now listen: I would never call anyone I didn’t know a bitch. As a PA, I wasn’t going to run around to all my scoopies screaming “bitch” because that is just flat-out rude.


Whenever I use this word, it means you are someone I care for and love dearly.


In every high school movie where there is a mean girl or any movie that stars a strong female character, they are automatically called a bitch. Why? Is it because she is so strong and independent? Hell, Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinman, and other influential women have been referred to as bitches. If these glamorous and powerful women are the embodiment of what a bitch is, then why wouldn’t I want to be one? Instead of passively accepting this word as derogatory, we have to reject its negative connotations, and transform it into something positive. But if we decide that this word will be forever be something offensive, then we are giving into a society that will continue to abuse and judge us because we are successful and that words will hurt us.


To every woman, in all your brilliance and beauty, just remember to hold your head up high, walk a little taller, and just keep doing you, because you are one badass bitch!

Ashley Ramsay

Skidmore '21

Ashley is currently a sophomore at Skidmore College, majoring in sociology, with a minor in political science. When she’s not writing posts for Her Campus, she can be found swimming for Skidmore, running, reading (her favorite genre is Dystopian YA novels), and writing short essays.