How ‘Bitch’ Became A Dirty Word – And Why I’m Reclaiming It

How ‘Bitch’ Became A Dirty Word –

And Why I’m Reclaiming It

This is for all you bitches out there; mothers, daughters, sisters and friends, it’s time to wear the badge of “B” proudly.

I taught my daughter to be strong, speak up and live a life that she desires. From the very beginning, I honored my baby girl, because I wanted to give her everything that I didn’t have growing up. Isn’t that what we do as parents, somehow heal ourselves through our children by giving them the life we would have wanted for us. When my daughter spoke, I listened; when she whined, I encourage her to let it out; when she demanded, I thought, you go girl, apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She was alive and thriving. She was a female after all.

When my daughter was four years old she had a baby brother who was six months, and we were all sitting in the back seat of a van while my father was driving us to the grocery store. It was a winter vacation in Deer Valley Utah, and the whole house we had rented was alive with family. I was one of five children and this was the big annual get-together, but it was just us that decided to go to the market. My daughter was particularly whiney that day, maybe she was cold, maybe she was tired, but she was letting us know that she wasn’t very happy. I sat there and tried to console her as my six month old started to make noise as well. My father, who hated loud noises, reached back in a rage and called my daughter a ‘bitch’. The same name he had used to shame me in my voice my whole life.

When my daughter spoke, I listened; when she whined, I encourage her to let it out; when she demanded, I thought, you go girl, apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She was alive and thriving. She was a female after all.

My father was from Iran, and although he seemed to marry very strong and independent women, he still liked to keep them in their place. I was raised by a man who believed an educated a girl was useless, instead women should be married off to the highest bidder. If I had not been who I am, I wouldn’t be where I am.

Because I am a Bitch.

I know that the “B” word is mostly associated with positive connotations these days; Badass, Bold, and Beautiful. However, in the 70’s and 80’s when I was growing up, any woman who resembled any “masculine” qualities, like confidence, empowerment, or spoke out of turn, was a bitch.

"A bitch is a confident woman who knows what she wants and how to get it" (Photo Courtesy, Diana Stobo)
And I was the biggest bitch of all.

I was confused because I was hard working, dedicated, in charge, caregiving and studious. I kept the house together when my parents were at work, I always went the extra mile, I helped parent my siblings who all seemed to allow me to do all the heavy lifting and I really cared about people. Yet, somehow I adopted this pet name ‘bitch’ and like any epidemic, it spread throughout my entire  family. It wasn’t just my father who called me names, it was my brothers, sisters and even my mother and stepmother. Somehow, I had earned the badge of “B”. 

I can’t remember when it came up that I learned that ‘a bitch’ is also a female dog, so I told myself that my family was confused and I really was being raised by a pack of wolves. They think I’m a female dog. I pretended that was the case and it helped to diffuse the sting of the name calling.

The rage that my father exhibited toward my beautiful four year old daughter that day, triggered me like an atomic bomb. I looked at my sweet baby girl who had never heard that word before and had no association with its negativity, and I lost my mind. I was a 32 year old mother who in a blind rage began to hit my father with my flailing arms from the back seat of the car. I remember screaming, “don’t ever call my daughter a bitch again”, as my martyr stepmother got caught up in the drama of it all, begging us to stop.

It wasn’t pretty, and I’m certainly not proud of this moment. However, it was the first time in three decades that I stood my ground as a woman, protected my own, and damn it, that’s what bitches do.

In the early 80’s in the middle of the yuppie generation, when women had already burned bras, the workplace was seeing its first rising female stars and the age of aquarius had begun to unfold (albeit slowly) to the awakening of the emerging goddess. I had read a comforting article that described in terms I could grasp that the ‘B’ word has many meanings. It said something along the lines of “a bitch is a confident woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.  

That was a definition I could really buy into, I felt it, I embraced it, it was me. I have been waiting to be seen my whole life. I am a Bitch- and I am going to sing it to the world.

BAM! I thought as the light in my eyes got brighter, I heard angels singing, and my world opened up for me like never before. That was a definition I could really buy into, I felt it, I embraced it, it was me. I have been waiting to be seen my whole life. I am a Bitch- and I am going to sing it to the world.

Diana Stobo

Diana Stobo is a re-known expert in health and wellness, having written over 15 books and spoken around the world. Stobo is also the Founder and Chief formulator of Truth Bar and the Founder and CEO of the Retreat Costa Rica and Diana Stobo LLC.

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