Mean Spirited is not the Same as Bitchy


Lately, I feel like people have thought of me as bitchier than they used to think me. I’m not proud of this. It is what it is.  It just doesn’t bug me that people might not like me, like it has in the past.

Okay, it didn’t bug me that much when I was younger either. For instance, when people made fun of my lousy fashion sense and body as a kid, I was known to say, “At least I’m not dumb. Appearances are easy to change, dumb is forever. I’m sorry you’re ignorant, but if you’re not dumb, you can work to change that.” Some people thought I was bitchy when I said stuff like that. I think it’s an asshole move to comment on people’s appearances, so I didn’t mind too much about how I was perceived by people who were mean-spirited towards me.

Bitchy is not the same as mean-spirited, though. I don’t like confrontation. I find it necessary sometimes. Mean-spirited people do like it. Bitchy is a term mostly men (sometimes women reclaiming it or women who buy into the patriarchy) use to demean a person who is acting in a way they do not find societally acceptable.

I used to be more worried about being societally acceptable, however, so I used to be more bothered by people perceiving me as bitchy because I thought that meant others would see me as mean. I’m not anymore. I don’t always like how society things we should buy, vote, behave. I’m a bitch about it.

I’m not mean on purpose, though. I’m empathetic, caring, kind to most, and very giving of my time. I care about how others are feeling, whether their day is going well. If people need assistance, I try my best to offer it. I pray for people when I see they are struggling, even if they are not people who are nice to me. Mean-spirited people will call themselves bitches. I disagree. I am a bitch who generally cares about others.

If you constantly talk down to others, gossip about others, say things that are underhandedly negative to others, make abusive comments meant to sting, you’re not a bitch. You’re mean-spirited and ugly. Don’t be trying to claim my bitchiness. You’re a troll.

If you push someone’s kid because that kid was being mean to yours, for instance, that’s not bitchiness. That’s abuse. Same goes if you  call a child as asshole and tell him to get hit by a car. Abuse. You can’t and shouldn’t do that. You’re meaning to wound, where you could teach. If you tell that kid’s mother, “You need to talk to your child, now, or I will call security to deal with it” or take a nuanced approach and tell the child, “I don’t like how you’re playing. You’re being abusive, so we are going to go where people are playing nicely.” These might be construed as direct, even bitchy, but it’s acceptable behavior meant to warn or teach rather than wound.

In my class, when adults are not doing what they can to finish their assignments, when they make excuses where they should just own their mistakes, I often say, “I can see if I can help you with that issue you’re having, but you should have said something before class. Communication is important, and you didn’t communicate the problem, so you’ll have to take this not great grade and we’ll try again with the next assignment, okay?” I don’t want people to fail, but I also don’t want my students seeing my time as expendable. My students sometimes think I’m a bitch.

I think our internet culture defines selfish and assholish behavior as bitchiness wrongly. I am a bitch sometimes. I stick up for my loved ones, for my own rights, for those I don’t know, even. I do so passionately and with logic. I do not allow myself or those I know to be pushed around. I do not care if I am liked. I want to be respected, so I respect others, but I don’t mind if people decide I’m not their cup of tea. People sometimes think I am a bitch. Well, those who don’t respect me and treat me badly do. I don’t care about that. I am a bitch if it means that I don’t accept abuse.

But if I, in turn, say or do abusive or mean-spirited things I am not a bitch. I am a troll. Trolls are the parents who public shame their children to get “likes” on Facebook. That’s mean. Deal with your children privately and don’t look for accolades. When you post annoying videos of yourself berating other parents, your children or your spouse, you’re mean, not bitchy. Please stop calling yourself bitchy. When you use the expression, “I just tell it like it is” to say mean things about people who didn’t ask for your opinion or even did but are fragile and need reassurances, you’re not bitchy. You’re an asshole.

So, let’s stop using the phrase “bitch” to mean, “I can say/do whatever I want and people will just have to deal with me being ‘real.'” Bitch is a term many women are trying to reclaim. I am not always nice when injustice is occurring. I will use logic, passion and compassion to engage in a topic that is important to me. If people don’t like that I stand up for those things, I’m okay with them calling me a bitch. Being vocal about important things will not always make me popular. I am taking “bitch” back. It means I stand up for what I perceive is right.

You can have troll if you just want to be a jerk to people, but just stop calling yourself a bitch.