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Friday, August 6, 2010

Good or Bad Biatch

Have you ever wondered what makes a man want to marry a particular woman? Is it about timing? Sex? Money? In her new book, Why Men Marry Bitches: A Woman's Guide to Winning Her Man's Heart, Sherry Argov shows women how to transform a casual relationship into a committed one. On a recent Today Show interview, she explains that being nice to your man won’t make him more devoted. In her interviews with men, Argov found that men want to commit to women who exude confidence and are in control of their lives.("Want a Man to Propose? Be a Bitch,", May 1 2008) So, is Argov contending that men want to commit to bitches?

Bad Bitch, Good Bitch?
According to Kate Figes, author of the Big Fat Bitch Book, (The Guardian, January 26 2007) any girls are still so constrained by conventional stereotypes of how women should be - selfless, kind, enabling of others, calm and supportive - the good girl essentially, that the real girl inside gets denied. Figes says, "We (girls) take insults on the chin and say nothing. We find it hard to compete or ask for that pay rise because we are not sure we deserve it. We are not supposed to shout or get angry about all the inequities we face as women. We become the bitch, the bad girl, when we want more, when we are not prepared to make do with what we have and when being heard is more important than being liked. That is a liberating feeling. If we fear being labelled as a bitch, we still seek validation from men on their terms rather than ours."

Figes sites a huge difference between the "strong" bitch, the woman who happily flouts conventional female stereotypes, and the "weak" bitch whose persona proceeds from vulnerability and who manipulates others to make herself feel stronger.

For example, "weak bitch" practice seems to include teenage girls who bitch to bond when they feel vulnerable, and she believes such bitching to bully is rife in our schools. Rarely detected because it can be very subtle, bitching from a position of sheer envy and vulnerability can have devastating effects. The youth culture is full of this kind of weak bitching, and girls have little guidance as to how to move from that ugly, bad-bitch stereotype to being a strong, good bitch who stands up to the world with courage. Whereas boys may fight to settle arguments, girls have much more subtle and hurtful ways that may continue into adulthood.

Figes believes that girls "still grow up squeezing themselves into stereotypical "good" girl notions of femininity (and their feet into uncomfortably high-heeled shoes)." When they are not aware of how fettered they are by these stereotypes, they veer towards being the kind of weak bitches who put other women down simply to make themselves feel better. But there is a much stronger bitch inside each one of them just bursting to get out. "A strong bitch is not afraid to say what she thinks, rather than what she feels she ought to say to be liked. She is not afraid to stand up for herself and ask for that pay rise because she knows she deserves it, and she is not afraid to stand up to injustice and abuse," states Figes.

An article in Elizabeth-Baruch College's publication College Candy (September 23, 2008) poses questions about the present popularity of girls acting catty and criticizing each other without much apparent loyalty. Some believe most girls have a pageant mentality to life.To such pageant-oriented girls, there can only be a limited amount of slots to things, particularly social influence and men. Also, many girls may become bitches because being judgmental makes them feel better living in a world where women are supposed to be “beautiful,” so it’s always like one big competition. Here are the questions posed:

1. Why do girls call another girl pretty or skinny with a tone of disgust? 

2. Why do girls call other girls "sluts"?   

3. Why are girls so judgmental?  

4. Why do girls assume that every girl their boyfriend and/or aspiring lover is friends with is either having sex with him or wants to have sex with him?

5. Why do girls gossip?

One answer may be exposed in the influences prevalent to forming girls' self image.The fragile self image of a girl seems to be very vulnerable to nasty tactics to undermine its value. Girls are clever and know where to "hit their targets where it hurts." One constant supporting bad bitching is that girls see it celebrated on television by admired celebrities. Also, while growing up they hear their mothers bitching about each other on the phone or at the school gate. Naturally, they emulate both. Few are offered any insights as to why they might do it.

Another consideration is that girls are still expected to be kinder, more supportive and more enabling than boys. Figes says, "Girls grow up with contradictory and confusing messages. They are expected to look good and be good. They want to look sexy and are as interested in, and as in need of, sexual experimentation as much as boys, but their reputation still hangs upon abstinence. 'Good' girls don't." ('Girls Are Under Pressure -- And Bitch Culture Is the Result,' The Independent, January 12 2009)

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