What's in a name?
We sometimes get a bit of push back on our name, mostly from people who don't really get what we do or why we're doing it.
We know for a fact that our name has played a critical role in the extraordinary growth we’ve seen since the day we first put out a tentative post on Facebook. ‘Marie and Nic’s Baking Circle’ just wasn’t going to cut it.
What is a Good Bitch?
Simply put, a Good Bitch is someone who gets stuff done, who sees a need and responds to it without needing applause or gold stars.
We talk about good buggers and good bastards and even GCs, but somehow some people are still resistant to the idea that calling someone a Good Bitch is really the same thing. If you adhere to the literal or historical meaning of all those words, you can make the argument that they’re all offensive and demeaning, but in the 21st century, the way we use language has changed and it keeps changing. Us calling our network of generous volunteers Good Bitches is just one more example of that.
The term Good Bitch is already widely used in lots of sectors of our community – it’s interesting to look at the demographics of the people who still find it offensive. Change takes time but we’re here to spread kindness for the long haul so we can be patient with this change too.
Why do we have to be so provocative?
Why shouldn’t we be?
Being provocative means people pause to think about what you’re saying, whether defensively or thoughtfully, and what we’re saying is that small acts of kindness go a long way to making our communities a nicer place to be for all kinds of people – anyone can be kind and everyone deserves kindness.
If using a ‘swear word’ in our name helps to get people to think about our message, then that’s a win.
But it muddies that message – people get distracted
People can choose what they get distracted by or what offends them. Our community of volunteers takes pride in being known as Good Bitches and our recipient organisations love what we do so that's what matters most to us.
Changing the way people think about anything takes time – whether it’s how we use a word, or how we think about people having a tough time. We’re here for the long haul so we can take the time it takes to make sure people hear and understand our message: anyone can be kind and everyone deserves kindness.
Extra for experts
A brief history of a word
Did you know one of the most sacred titles of Artemis/Diana, the Greek/Roman goddess of the moon, the hunt and assorted other things was the Great Bitch? In fact, Indo-European cultures all the way back to Vedic mythology and the goddess Sarama had some kind of bitch goddess. Check her out on Wikipedia but warning you may lose several hours.
The Christian-coined pejorative ‘son of a bitch’ originally didn’t refer to the son of a dog but rather to the son of a pagan goddess (which by the time Christianity came along were same same as devils…).
When you look at the history of swearing (a fascinating subject well worth another few hours), you’ll find that most swear words, when used as an insult, were originally used by the powerful as a means of control over the less powerful.
‘Bugger’ for example was first used as an insult during the 13th century crusades against the people of Provence and Northern Italy because they sympathised with the victims and praised them for their moral purity. The Catholic clergy launched a vilifying campaign against them, calling them buggers and associating them with ‘unorthodox’ sexual practices.
The rise in popularity of the insult ‘bitch’ against white women (it has been used as a pejorative against BIPOC women since forever) rose to popularity during the suffrage movement - LOTS of suffragists were called bitches by male politicians and journalists alike. Again, a word that gained popularity thanks to a desire to control these outspoken women.
If you want to take the sting out of a word, you claim it back. You turn the insult on its head and you get the next generation to associate positive things with these words, so they can’t be used in anger. We’ve seen this throughout history and throughout marginalised communities.
You don’t have to be a woman to be a Good Bitch, and you don’t have to apologise for being one, either.