I have a bumper sticker on my car that says, “You say I’m a bitch, like it’s a bad thing.”
It’s been on my car for around 15 years now and as you can imagine, it provokes many, many conversations. I have discovered that the people who don’t like it don’t really comment on it; they’re probably too scared to do so. However, the people who do like the bumper sticker always seem to comment. Some do it in person when I run into them in parking lots, gas stations; even at stoplights. People will even ask me to roll down my window so they can tell me they like it.
My mom never liked it and thought it was a terrible thing to have on my car but as it was a gift from Kevin, I didn’t care. When I first put the bumper sticker on my car I was hyper aware of what people thought and what their reactions were to the sticker but now I no longer notice. After all, it’s been 15 years and that’s a long time. At this point, although I live in a fairly large city of over 300,000 people, my car is pretty well known and I’ve long since made my peace with the reaction. Of course I’ve gotten new cars in the ensuing period so you might ask what I did with the sticker. Well, I went out and had it reproduced so I would never go without it. It’s my calling card at this point.
When I first got it, my kids were young and they were in a private school and I spent countless hours dropping and picking them up in the carpool line. One day the Director of the lower school came out to talk to me about said bumper sticker. She said there had been some “complaints” from parents about the word “bitch” and that while she couldn’t tell me to take it off (first amendment and all), she just wanted to give me a heads up and let me know. I said her concern was “duly noted” and continued on with my life.
One day, I had the following conversation with a mom in the carpool line:
Random Lady: “I don’t like your bumper sticker and I think you should take it off your car”
Me: “What’s the problem?”
R.L: “Every time my kids see it, they start saying bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch”
Me: “Tell them to stop”
Me: “TELL THEM TO STOP!”
Me: “Look, my kids can read too and they know they’re not allowed to use that word. Why don’t you try doing a little parenting and explain to them that there are words adults can use but KIDS CAN’T. Okay?”
R.L: Long silence. Horrified look. Walks away.
Does she thank me for the great parenting advice I give her? No, she walks away horrified never to interact with me again. Yeah, that was the last time anybody bugged me about it in the carpool line.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve wondered if perhaps I’m too old for that bumper sticker. Is there an age where a smart ass bumper sticker is inappropriate? Can you grow out of it? I have found another one that I like but at this point, I don’t know who I am without being a “bitch”.
Which leads me to the next part of the conversation: what is a bitch and am I actually one? I always thought a bitch was someone who was mean and yelled at people. I never yell at people and am only mean in a sarcastic way and usually only when seriously provoked. I feel that perhaps I’m simply arrogant and dismissive, so are those qualities of a bitch? I really don’t know. After discussing it with my friend Robin, who felt confident that I most certainly DID qualify as a bitch, I looked up the definition in The Bitch Manifesto and this is what I found:
“A Bitch takes shit from no one. You may not like her, but you cannot ignore her....[Bitches] have loud voices and often use them. Bitches are not pretty....Bitches seek their identity strictly thru themselves and what they do. They are subjects, not objects...Often they do dominate other people when roles are not available to them which more creatively sublimate their energies and utilize their capabilities. More often they are accused of domineering when doing what would be considered natural by a man.”
So, according to the above definition I am INDEED A BITCH. I will discuss this further at a later point but right now I can proudly say, “You say I’m a bitch, like it’s a bad thing!!”