Bitchy girls and fairy tales
If Cinderella were alive today, she wouldn’t be sitting around the cellar under the tyranny of her evil stepmother.
And she wouldn’t be waiting for her Prince Charming to come and rescue her from her sooty fate either.
To hell with the Fairy Godmother.
Today’s Cinderella would burn her step sisters’ ball gowns while pressing their clothes, steal their carriage and kiss Prince Charming on the dance floor.
No midnight curfew for her, she parties till dawn.
Bitchy women and the changing times
According to Merriam Webster, a bitch \bich\ is ‘the female of the dog or some other carnivorous animal’.
Something that doesn’t even seem to occur to us today as we continue to use it as a noun (‘a lewd immoral woman, a malicious, spiteful or overbearing woman’) and as a verb (‘complaint’), as well as an adjective (‘something extremely difficult, objectionable and unpleasant’).
Contrary to popular belief that the present usage is a new occurrence, it has been around since the 1400’s.
It has also ceased to be thought of as a swear word in recent times, proof of which is the fact that since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, it is no longer censored or bleeped out on television or any other medium.
The complimentary side of bitchy girls
This word, which previously, was one of the most offensive appellations that could be hurled at a woman, is now a part of everyday speech. Not just is it a part of everyday speech, it has now become a subculture, an art form of sorts. From the previously glorified demure, ladylike woman, the new woman to worship is the bitch.
The woman of today is strong, independent and assertive. She is not afraid to voice her views and to go through any means to achieve her wants. Today, to be called a bitchy woman is more of a compliment! [Read: Body language at work]
Take pop culture, the bitchy girl is now almost an essential of every telly show or movie. She gets the best lines, the best clothes and even if she doesn’t get the guy at the end, she has fun trying to hitch him. One of the most iconic bitchy women of all times is Meryl Streep as the cold, ruthless Miranda Priestly in the ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Not only did this performance win Streep an Oscar nomination but also stirred a legion of Priestly wannabes.
On television too, we have lots of cool bitchy women in leading roles with exceptionally interesting characters. Not only is the character of the bitchy girl more popular with the people, but more and more stars are willing to take on the role. The role of the vamp or the bitchy girl was a career killer for a young starlet of yesteryears, now it is the launch pad of a long and promising career.
Success and bitchy women
The real life inspiration of Priestly, U.S. Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, is the perfect example of the bitchy woman. Wintour, who shares many habits and characteristics with her fictional alter ego, Miranda Priestly, is one of the most celebrated fashionistas of recent times, being credited with reviving Vogue after its post ’80s slump.
Both have trouble remembering names, both are well known for the casual disregard for their subordinates that borders on psychological abuse, and both have iconic looks. Priestley’s white Hermes scarf. And Wintour’s sunglasses and trademark haircut.
But as much as we’d love to hate them, we can’t help but admire them. The bitchy woman gets what she wants and has earned what she has. Wintour, from a less wealthy part of England dropped out of school at 16, and doesn’t have a college degree. Everything she has achieved so far is through her toil and sweat. So if she wants to be a bitch, she has every right to be one. Little girls today are raised to be achievers, go-getters who won’t let anything get in their way and if they have to be a bitchy girl, then they’ll be one. [Read: Girls wearing revealing clothes]
The powerful bitchy woman
What’s interesting these days is that everyone can be a bitchy woman, there are no stereotypes. They might begin that way, but sure as hell, do not continue like that. Take the vamps and villains of yesterday. Cruella DeVille, of the ‘101 Dalmatians’, we need to stifle that snicker, but we can all safely admit that we’ve watched it and cried at the end.
But back to the point, DeVille with her rather suggestive name (Devil, get it!) and her crazy hair was one dimensional, she was the dastardly villain and stayed that way. Now contrast her with a Miranda Priestly, a Blair from Gossip Girl or a Sue Sylvester from Glee. [Read: Having an affair with a married man]
Today’s heroine is well rounded, personality wise. She is bitchy with reason, maybe without too, but always with a motive. The vamp has a softer side and the goody two shoes can be a bitchy girl, if Glee has taught us anything.
The point being that, we as a generation, are more accepting of individual and motivational differences. This is not to say that those before us weren’t. How else can you explain the sympathy all of us felt for Lago in Shakespeare’s Othello. In short, Lago feels threatened and he reacts, to disastrous consequences, and it’s still something that we can all relate to.
According to Kate Figes, author of the book, ‘The Big Fat Bitch Guide’, it is not only fun to bitch but it is also therapeutical. Bitching is a means of feeling accepted, as well as assessing one’s surroundings and one’s place in it. According to Figes, this starts in the playground as a means of establishing hierarchy, and continues as we grow older, only to be used as a means of bonding and letting out steam.
Bitchiness and getting even
Which one of us can admit to not enjoying sipping a (insert the poison of choice) and stage whispering a juicy bit of gossip over our glass. Bitchiness can also be acceptable when in self defense, to level the playing field, and also when undermined. [Read: Monologues of a 30 year old virgin]
There is bitching. And then there’s BITCHING. All in capitals when it takes a malicious turn. Bitching is fine when it’s between friends or as a minor joke but when it is used against someone, that’s when things get ugly. The occasional barbed comment used to deflate swollen egos or to keep the yawns in check are fine unless continued over long periods of time against the same person, then this would be called harassment.
The bitchiest of statements can come from the closest of friends or from family members, where the familial bond or the “through thick and thin” nature of friendship softens the blow. Those among us who claim to never have bitched in their life are only fooling themselves. Praised your best friend’s terrible spaghetti bolognaise only to feed it to the dog under the table and snigger about it behind her back? [Read: What’s the worst gossip you’ve heard?]
There’s a bitchy girl in all of us. And whether we despise bitchy women or not, we can’t help but aspire to be one. Enough said. In the words of Miranda Priestly. “That’s all”.
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