How to be a bitch

Chris Clarke has posted a fabulous thing: How To Not Be an Asshole – A Guide For Men

A long way into the very long thread which ensued, a regular antifeminist commenter, Infidel Sage, wrote:

We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.

Betty responded:

That doesn’t sound like a very useful guide to me, Infidel. Let me instead present a more useful guide:
How to be a bitch

  • Have opinions of your own.
  • Bonus points for disagreeing with a man.
  • Consider your comfort before your attractiveness to the hypothetical heterosexual male when getting dressed.
  • Be sexy when you want to; not because it’s obligatory.
  • Consider your words as of equivalent value to those of a man.
  • Insist they be treated as such.
  • Notice sexism. Say something about it.
  • Require more from men than that they not rape you in order to consider them “nice guys.”
  • Don’t give out cookies for minimum standards of decency: expect more.
  • Expect an orgasm for yourself from sexual encounters as the default.
  • Be willing to take matters into your own hands.
  • Don’t feel guilty or sorry for failing to conform to someone else’s idea of how you should perform gender.
  • Don’t apologize.
  • When it’s appropriate for someone to shut the fuck up, do let them know.

I hope this has been a helpful guide for those pursuing bitchiness.

That last line of Betty’s list of how-tos needs some explication: Chris’ guide pointed out that when women are relating their own experiences and perceptions about threats and sexual violence, men who interrupt to ever so helpfully point out ways in which women could make themselves safer (such ways almost always being rooted in misconceptions about rape patterns) and even more helpfully pointing out that women who feel the need for hypervigilance are obviously paranoid and delusional because they as men have never noticed such threats and dangers to women, well Chris pointed out that these particularly helpful men should just shut the fuck up and listen to what the women are saying. This brought out a whole heap of pearl-clutchers about language and rudeness both at Pandagon and at the crosspost at DailyKos, nearly all of whom overlooked the idea that STFU was not meant to be in itself a persuasive argument, it was meant to be a wakeup call to certain men who were already acting condescendingly and dismissively about women’s experiences.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, relationships

Tags: , , ,

9 replies

  1. I’d love to know what his response was to Betty’s comment, but it’s too early in the morning to be filling my day with that sort of anti-woman rubbish. I might look later when I’m feeling a little more jaded.

  2. He didn’t say much more, but as you saw he did come over here to diss our bingo card.
    The main rsponse to him from others was how it was stupid and disrespectful to equate women’s fear of physical harm with men’s fear of being verbally belittled. Physical attack and bitchy abuse/manipulation are both bad things, but (cue Sesame Street singalong for instilling basic concepts) one of these things is worse than the other.

  3. He didn’t say much more, but as you saw he did come over here to diss our bingo card.

    And what a special snowflake he is. He’s been assiduously drawing my attention to Baruch Spinoza’s work, which proves conclusively that women really aren’t by nature people, because if they were, men wouldn’t oppress them.
    Nothing like the 17th century as a source for Words To Live By.

  4. Just realised I got a bit appropriative about your bingo card there, Lauredhel. No brilliance of mine involved in that production at all (curses!).
    As for IS and Spinoza, guh. Spinoza was v. clever and v. insightful, but the information from which he drew his premises on which he built his theses was kinda incomplete. Times do move on.

  5. Evidence-based misogyny is definitely situational. I was just reading this comment at IBTP:

    I’ve struggled with depression for awhile, as have many of the women I am close to. I think most of it is due to the constant degradations and devaluations we get from the patriarchy. What pisses me off is that I think that, in a lot of people’s minds, the fact that so many women deal with depression signifies that women are weaker and more emotional, and can’t handle competition in schools or the job market – nevermind that this “competition’ often takes the form of humiliation and/or harassment. Obviously things would be better if we were just housewives and didn’t have to deal with the big bad world! Again, the popular idea, unfortunately echoed in these comments, that if women are upset by something, they should be the ones to change.

    In the medical world, the higher incidence of depression, anxiety and social phobia diagnoses in women is often take as a priori evidence that women are, by their very nature, more susceptible to these things. Infrequently, attention is drawn to individual issues of domestic abuse or post-rape trauma, but pretty much never is there a mention of the wider structures of abuse, humiliation and fear, let alone the assumptions the medical profession makes about the genesis of women’s symptoms.

  6. Lauredhel

    Infrequently, attention is drawn to individual issues of domestic abuse or post-rape trauma, but pretty much never is there a mention of the wider structures of abuse, humiliation and fear, let alone the assumptions the medical profession makes about the genesis of women’s symptoms.

    Seems like yet another example of how treating general problems with individualised solutions will never eradicate the general problems.
    Back to Chris’ post, a tangential comment on another Pandagon thread (the post is highly recommended, BTW) was an interesting flip of male paradigms about the threat posed by rationalising male sexuality as uncontrollably predatory and aggressive.

    Had an interesting conversation yesterday that made me think of you. I’m a member of a pretty wild-and-woolly motorcycle club, one of a handful of gay bike clubs in California, and we have a habit of picking out-of-the-way places to meet for runs, like small town bars. It’s always interesting to notice the moment when the local heterosexual men realize that the rough-looking bikers that have filled their bar are ALL FAGS, and that we’ve got them completely outnumbered. It’s usually early in the day, before the homophobes are liquored up enough to start a fight, but there’s usually a particular moment when they all clench their sphincters at once and hurry out the door. It’s not as if we’re being loud or menacing, or paying attention to them at all – our mere presence makes it happen. The staff usually loves it, because we’re generally polite, well behaved, and good tippers to boot.
    We were kind of laughing about that, and one of my buds said “You know what it is, it’s fear of rape.” That hadn’t occurred to me before, but there may be something to that. I bet a lot of guys never feel that frisson of fear their entire lives.
    Having read your recent articles about how women feel about rape, I found myself wishing you could see how men behave when the tables are turned, even just a little bit.

  7. I’m not really that bad you know. Though I find it interesting that I’m controversial enough to warrant my own topic posts Pandagon and now here. Betty’s response really wasn’t worth responding too, but what a sad and bitter person she must be. And if you missed it, the Pandagonians won’t let me play in their playground anymore.
    Carry on ladies. Fight the Patriarchy!
    … and have a great day.

  8. That should read “at Pandagon”…

  9. Nice of you to ego-google on by, IS. (we all do it)
    I think perhaps you misread the post though – it was about Betty’s list, which applies to every single time the Bitch stereotype is trotted out. Just because you happened to be the one to utter a tired old meme that triggered a terrific comment from Betty doesn’t mean that you personally are all that controversial.
    Sorry if that bums you out, mate.

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