Saturday, 8 July 2017

"Bitch" - An Attack on Womens' Solar Plexus

This is the third installment in a series of posts about insults directed at women are often attempts to control us on different levels. My last two posts were on the words "fat" and "slut" which still hold a lot of power, especially over younger women because they attack us on very basic levels, the right to take up space and the right to feel pleasure. Today I'm going to talk about another word that is thrown at women, that is luckily losing its power - "bitch".

I couldn't think of a photo, so here's one of me with an actual dog.

"Bitch" - Attacking the Solar Plexus
I think every woman has been called this at one time or another. When we've expressed an opinion someone doesn't want to hear, or had the nerve to stand up for our self, or been assertive enough to ask for what we want, there are often those who don't like it and will call us this. Powerful women are threatening to patriarchy, and the same attributes that are praised in men like speaking out, showing courage, or standing up for yourself is denigrated in women. It is an attempt to keep us small and powerless, to keep us passive and take away our agency. The solar plexus rules our will and the right to exert your free will.  When someone calls you a bitch, they are saying "How dare you be assertive!" "How dare you have an opinion that doesn't match mine!"How dare you get angry!" One of the double standards of our society is that women are considered emotional, but are frowned upon for expressing anger. While men are not allowed any emotions other than anger (or horny or hungry). Anger shows us where something needs to be changed, and is an emotion connected with the solar plexus. When we criticize women for getting angry we are saying they have no right to feel anger or to desire change. That being angry somehow makes you unacceptable. But isn't that what the patriarchy wants? For women to just accept a second class status and be passive participants. Angry women are a threat to that.

So how do you combat this?

1. Stand up for yourself and others
The more we do this, the more it becomes normalized. I notice that in the last 10 years more and more women are calling out sexism. We are less likely to accept harassment, or double standards. Of course this meets with resistance from those who want to rewind to the past, but this does not mean we should stop doing this. We need to do this for ourselves and for the next generation of those coming up, so they dont have to deal with some of the things we've had to.

2. Its okay to get angry
Anger is a normal emotion, and lets us know when a boundary has been crossed. It lets us know that something needs to change. We have a choice, we can change a situation or our behavior, or change our attitude and thoughts. How we choose to express anger is important too. If you need to scream into a pillow then do so. As long as we arent hurting others, breaking thingsor screaming at people, do what you need to do. You are not less of a woman because you got angry. Lets face it, women have a lot to be angry about, and holding it in is not going to help you.

3. Set boundaries.
Be clear about what your boundaries are and stick to them. When we are wishy washy, or go back on our word it teaches others that we can be walked on, and confuses them because they dont know where we stand. We are teaching them to treat us like a doormat. And if you've been clear about your boundaries, and the person still doesn't respect them, than thats someone you need to walk away from.

4.   Be assertive
Ask for what you want. You cant get what you want if you don't ask for it. And dont apologize for your wants and needs. You have a right to these things too, you dont have to passively wait and hope for things to come to you.

5. Watch your words
We have been taught to water down our requests by apologizing. How many times have you caught yourself asking for what you want or stating how you feel and then apologizing for it? I know I have.  The other word women use a lot is "just." "I just wanted to ask you...." or "I just need...."This waters down our request. We don"t need to explain or justify. We can be direct and to the point.

What are some of your suggestions?

 
 





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