BITCHES, BABES AND BROADS

[This topic was inspired by a discussion with some female friends.  Thanks Linda, Shelly, Mary, Vickie, Jody , Zhak, Barra  et al!]

Some women take offense to these terms, but not me.  In fact, I embrace them willingly.
(Just don’t ever call me “girl”, otherwise you could be subjected to one of my famous diatribes! More about that later.)

This goes back to the 1970s and 1980s, when I was working clawing my way up the corporate ladder.

 ~BITCHES~

Back then, women were still mostly looked down upon as lowly support workers and few held positions of authority.  The ones who did, had to work twice as hard to get half as far as the men in similar positions.  Then, their ultimate reward was to be labelled a BITCH.  This was meant to be derogatory, but in reality, it indicated these women had the balls and forthright attitude to make it in a “man’s world”.  Call me bitch and I say:

“Thank You.  That’s Ms. Bitch, to you!”

B.I.T.C.H.

~BABES~

Many women, especially feminists hate it when men call them babes, foxes, eye candy etc., and get angry over cat calls and wolf whistles.  The reasoning of course, is that this is vacuous and has nothing to do with accomplishments or intelligence.  They find it insulting and/or degrading.  It certainly can be, if the comments are vulgar, but I must confess….

This used to happen to me regularly and it always gave me a little ego boost!  Now that I’m on the downhill slide, nobody looks or comments anymore and I miss it.  A grey-haired, overweight matron isn’t going to attract those guys on the construction crew.  Too many lovely young things walking around!  Sigh…..

[Yes, I know this is a paradox.  Life is full of contradictions.]

~BROADS~

For me, it’s a supreme compliment to be referred to as a “Great Broad” or a “Tough Broad”.  Bawdy, fearless, not easily embarrassed or offended; a woman who can hang out with the guys, cracking dirty jokes, using colourful language, all without losing her femininity.  That’s what I call a strong, sassy woman!

Some great, tough broads of the silver screen: 

Photo credits:  Bette Davis  Lauren Bacall  Marlene Dietrich

♦♦♦♦

So, what’s my beef about being called a girl?  

Picture this:  A female department head is referred to as “the girl” by a male colleague, as in “Talk to the girl over there.  She can help you.”  This completely negates her accomplishments and shows an appalling lack of respect.

Definition of “girl” (from TheFreeDictionary)

girl (gɜrl) 

n.

1. a female child, from birth to full growth
2. a young, immature woman, esp., formerly, an unmarried one.
3. a daughter: My wife and I have two girls.  4. Usu. Offensive. a grown woman.  5. girlfriend; sweetheart  6. Usu. Offensive.  a. a female servant.  b. a female employee.7. a female who is from or native to a given place: She’s a Missouri girl.

   These old feminist tendencies aren’t likely to change.  I’ve never been a “Girly Girl” and some have even called me “Butch”  (the other “B” word), but that doesn’t apply either.  I do wear makeup, the occasional maxi skirt and even sometimes curl my hair.  All those years holding my own in the male dominated manufacturing industry might indicate more masculine than feminine thought processes, in some respects.  

Best of both worlds!

[Vintage commercial, 1980]

scroll

What are your thoughts about these words?

Looking forward to your comments!

Debbie

The “Doglady”. Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada. Writer/blogger, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature & cinema buff. Eternal hippie/rockchick. Bi-national, German/Canadian and multilingual. Loves all things Italian, especially hubby. ♥ Married since 1973!

Debbie

Debbie

Debbie

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37 Comments

Filed under Life, Opinion

37 Responses to BITCHES, BABES AND BROADS

  1. Kunal Khosla
    Twitter:

    This post is unique and I really like it. :)
    Kunal Khosla recently posted…Top Mythology about Getting Flat Tummy: For YouthMy Profile

  2. If I may say so I think you’re a great broad and quite a babe!

  3. I’m sure broad is an American term. Certainly not used much here in Australia.

    Could never work out why women get so upset at catcalls, especially when they dress in a provocative way.

    Bitch is something Aussies use but it’s not big in my vocabulary.

    All in all it’s not the words that matter but how you let them define you.
    Peter recently posted…What Makes A Woman Happy Friday Funnies #114My Profile

    • Welcome to The Den, Peter. :) Yes, “broad” is definitely North American slang. I completely agree with you about the wolf whistles and cat calls, unless something completely vulgar is uttered. Women should be happy for the attention, because let me tell you, when it stops, you do miss it. This from an old broad who knows! ;) Thanks for visiting and come back, anytime. Cheers!
      Debbie recently posted…HAVE YOU EVER FELT THIS WAY?My Profile

  4. I hear the term broad comes from the idea that women have broad hips. Can anyone here confirm that?
    That was that whole silly thing here in America where some female CEO wanted to ban the word ‘bossy’ as it makes women seem like a bitch, which many consider a bad thing.
    Troy S. recently posted…Negative ion power balance bracelet is a scamMy Profile

    • Welcome to The Den, Troy. :) I believe you’re right about the origins of “broad”, but it evolved over the years. Yes, many people do consider the word “bitch” to be bad. To me, it’s a badge of honour and means I won the battle. ;) Thanks for visiting.
      Debbie recently posted…HAVE YOU EVER FELT THIS WAY?My Profile

  5. Oh Debby,

    Boy can I ever relate to all of these terms my friend and trust me when I say I feel the same way. When people use to call me a bitch I use to actually say thank you! I had the nerve to do what they didn’t and I was very proud of that but things got done when I was around.

    The girl part doesn’t bother me so much because you have to remember the source. Oh yeah, they are the immature ones not me. I just laugh it off because they’re a fool.

    I love your definition of them all and now that I’m way over the hill, I yearn for the days they use to call me a babe or a broad. Oh well, it had to come sometime right! LOL!!!

    Enjoy your weekend and loved it “girl”… ;-)

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…Can You Make A Living From Your BlogMy Profile

    • Hi Adrienne; Yes, we bitches accomplish things! :D I love the “tough broad” “great broad” monikers, because they indicate women of substance; women with guts and brains. Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for visiting. Happy Memorial Day to you! :)
      Debbie recently posted…BITCHES, BABES AND BROADSMy Profile

  6. Hey there Debbie,

    I love this post! I think I should apologize if I might have ever called you “girl”. I meant it lovingly if I did ;).

    I consider myself a bitch. Not the dirty kind but the kind you describe in your post. I’ve got balls and not afraid to use them :).

    I loved the cartoon you shared…I remembered that one. I feel very uncomfortable when I see a guy staring at me but I know where you’re coming from about the ego boost thing…sometimes they’re just creepy. LOL

    I love this post…so empowering! Happy Thursday Lady! I think you’re on rockin’ B.I.T.C.H. :)
    Corina Ramos recently posted…Bloggers Wanted: Sign Up For A Visa Gift Card Giveaway!My Profile

    • No worries, Corina. :) It’s not offensive to me when used by women in this context, but I don’t like to hear it from men and especially NOT in the workplace by either gender.
      Oh yeah – it’s GOOD to be a bitch – even better to be Queen Bitch! ;)
      I joke, but it’s really too bad this double standard still exists, isn’t it?
      Yeah; some men do have a certain creepiness when they leer at you, but you’ll miss it when it stops happening. Thanks for dropping by and I’m glad you enjoyed this. From one rockin’ B.I.T.C.H. to another, have a great weekend!
      Debbie recently posted…HAVE YOU EVER FELT THIS WAY?My Profile

  7. G.B. Miller

    To be honest, I’ve always used the “bitch” word to describe either 1) a female animal or 2) insult a guy with. Never would call a woman a “bitch” out loud or even in my stories. Use the word “babe” only in the context of an intimate conversation. And “broad” is so 1940′s, isn’t it?

    • You are a true gentleman, George! :) Thanks for dropping by and offering a male perspective. Sadly, women in positions of authority are often thought of as bitches, so, I decided to turn an insult into a compliment. Oh yes, “broad” is definitely retro, but it’s making a comeback.
      Debbie recently posted…HAVE YOU EVER FELT THIS WAY?My Profile

  8. Kathy
    Twitter:

    Enjoyed this post and agreed wholeheartedly with your views on the words.
    Kathy recently posted…I Will FollowMy Profile

  9. I haven’t been called those names (at least not to my face! ;)), Debbie, but I can totally identify with what you’ve written. And I used to always prefer hanging out with boys, naughty jokes and all! :)
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…The Truth Shall Set You FreeMy Profile

  10. Diana
    Twitter:

    It’s interesting that you just did this. My 21 year old sister told me that at her internship one of the older gentlemen came up to her and said hey babe what are you doing tomorrow afternoon….When she answered working very suspiciously he asked her to deal with one of their clients. My sister was bothered by this because she didn’t feel it was appropriate and after the internship was over she told me and our parents. My step mom and I agree not appropriate my dad thinks the talk was fine. Needless to say there is a big family debate happening right now.

    • I was referring to the use of the word “Babe” in a somewhat different context, not in a boss-employee relationship. That would be inappropriate, in my opinion, right along with calling a female manager “girl”. Thanks for visiting, Diana. :)
      Debbie recently posted…HAVE YOU EVER FELT THIS WAY?My Profile

  11. This post brought back some happy memories, Debbie! I am like, totally a BITCH!

    And by the way, I think you look gorgeous in your profile pic!
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Why I Believe In The Health Benefits of Drinking WaterMy Profile

  12. Cathy
    Twitter:

    Interesting perspective on the three Bs, Debbie. I like the positive spin you brought to usually negative terms for women. Love the Acrostic words for Bitch. Oh yeh! Go, Bitch! Love those broads in movies…er actresses. They were tough in a time where women were even less likely to be respected.

    I like those terms better than other derogatory terms for women like dowager, spinster and old maid.

    Sigh. It’s been a long time since any construction crew whistled at me, too, if ever. Now I’m in my matronly years, too, so the chances grow even slimmer as my waist grows thicker. LOL!

    Thanks for another thought provoking and fun post!
    Cathy recently posted…She wished she knew then what she knew nowMy Profile

    • I think those words you mentioned have fallen out of favour; at least I hope so! No shame in being single these days. Matron – there’s another word that conjures up less than attractive images, LOL Oh well, you can only stave off ageing for so long and I’ll be 60 next birthday. Yikes! Thanks for visiting, Cathy.

  13. Hell yeah. I’ll take being called a broad or a babe anyday :D I loved the perspective and the spin you put on those words, Debbie. Feminism is fine, provided you don’t overdose on it. Lovely!
    Shailaja V recently posted…A ‘trashy’ taleMy Profile

  14. Flirting is fun but I hate wolf whistles… I find it very insulting. The guys in my team often forget that I am girl… and I know it’s nothing to do with my dressing :) I love your post and I admire women who can handle themselves so well.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…WTF Wednesdays – Of Hooters & BridenappingMy Profile

  15. Bhavya
    Twitter:

    Wow! Great post Debbie. Though I do not like to be called by any of those names and that too in a workplace, I totally understand your point of view :)
    Bhavya recently posted…The Agony Aunt’s AgonyMy Profile

    • Hi Bhavya; I think these colloquialisms are more commonplace in North America. To me, “Bitch” is a badge of honour, like someone who has fought a battle and come out victorious. :D Unfortunately the old double standard still survives, even in these modern times. Men who are ambitious and forthright get compliments, and women get insults. Solution? Turn the insult into a compliment! ;) Thanks for dropping by.

  16. Okay, so I guess I have a slightly different outlook on things. I’m more than slightly old school in some things, and I’m not wild about being called a doggy-witch (see, I can’t even write or say the word, unless I’m talking about a dog, and even then I have a hard time spitting it out ;) ) or even a broad, because I think of what the word was when I was still a kid. Babe is good–it’s even my computer’s name. And, despite my xx amount of years, I still get whistled at and called babe :D. And, sorry, I use ‘girls’ all the time. But, it’s all good–you can just call me the babe of the group, if you’d like. heeheehee
    Mary Purpari recently posted…“Y” is for YearningsMy Profile

    • Hot stuff Mary! You go GIRL! :D We obviously have very different life experiences and opinions about this, but isn’t it great we can be friends, regardless? Doggy-witch?? That’s cute, actually. Thanks for dropping by.
      Debbie recently posted…BITCHES, BABES AND BROADSMy Profile

  17. I fall into all three B categories and agree totally with you, including missing the wolf whistles from the construction crews. Makes me realize we have even more in common than just the pups.
    carol graham recently posted…How Do You Ask Your Fiance if He was Unfaithful the Night Before the Wedding?My Profile

  18. I’m totally fine being called all of those for your same exact reasons. And I definitely don’t mind being whistled at. I’m a big flirt anyway so I can play that game too. :-). Great post Debbie. Love the Enjoli commercial. I remember it well…
    Michele Truhlik recently posted…Innocents? I think not!My Profile

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