The BITCH Manifesto
...man is defined as a human being and woman is defined as a female. Whenever she tries to behave as a human being she
is accused of trying to emulate the male...
Simone de Beauvoir
BITCH is an organization which does not yet exist. The name is not an acronym. It stands for exactly what it sounds like
BITCH is composed of Bitches. There are many definitions of a bitch. The most complimentary definition is a female dog.
Those definitions of bitches who are also homo sapiens are rarely as objective. They vary from person to person and
depend strongly on how much of a bitch the definer considers herself. However, everyone agrees that a bitch is always a female,
dog, or otherwise.
It is also generally agreed that a Bitch is aggressive, and therefore unfeminine (ahem). She may be sexy, in which case
she becomes a Bitch Goddess, a special case which will not concern us here. But she is never a "true woman."
Bitches have some or all of the following characteristics.
1) Personality. Bitches are aggressive, assertive, domineering, overbearing, strong-minded, spiteful, hostile, direct,
blunt, candid, obnoxious, thick-skinned, hard-headed, vicious, dogmatic, competent, competitive, pushey, loud-mouthed, independent,
stubborn, demanding, manipulative, egoistic, driven, achieving, overwhelming, threatning, scarey, ambitious, tough, brassy,
masculine, boisterous, and turbulent. Among other things . A Bitch occupies a lot of psychological space. You always know
she is around. A Bitch takes shit from no one. You may not like her, but you cannot ignore her.
2) Physical. Bitches are big, tall, strong, large, loud, brash, harsh, awkward, clumsy, sprawling, strident, ugly.
Bitches move their bodies freely rather than restrain, refine and confine their motions in the proper feminine manner. They
clomp up stairs, stride when they walk and don't worry about where they put their legs when they sit. They have loud voices
and often use them. Bitches are not pretty.
3) Orientation. Bitches seek their identity strictly thru themselves and what they do. They are subjects, not objects.
They may have a relationship with a person or organization, but they never marry anyone or anything; man, mansion,
or movement. Thus Bitches prefer to plan their own lives rather than live from day to day, action to action, or person to
person. They are independent cusses and believe they are capable of doing anything they damn well want to. If something gets
in their way; well, that's why they become Bitches. If they are professionally inclined, they will seek careers and have no
fear of competing with anyone. If not professionally inclined, they still seek self-expression and self-actualization. Whatever
they do, they want an active role and are frequently perceived as domineering. 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.
A true Bitch is self-determined, but the term "bitch" is usually applied with less discrimination. It is a popular derogation
to put down uppity women that was created by man and adopted by women. Like the term "rigger," "bitch" serves the social function
of isolating and discrediting a class of people who do not conform to the socially accepted patterns of behavior.
BITCH does not use this word in the negative sense. A woman should be proud to declare she is a Bitch, because Bitch is
Beautiful. It should be an act of affirmation by self and not negation by others. Not everyone can qualify as a Bitch. One
does not have to have all of the above three qualities, but should be well possessed of at least two of them to be
considered a Bitch. If a woman qualifies in all three, at least partially, she is a Bitch's Bitch. Only Superbitches qualify
totally in all three categories and there are very few of those. Most don't last long in this society.
The most prominent characteristic of all Bitches is that they rudely violate conceptions of proper sex role behavior. They
violate them in different ways, but they all violate them. Their attitudes towards themselves and other people, their goal
orientations, their personal style, their appearance and way of handling their bodies, all jar people and make them feel uneasy.
Sometimes it's conscious and sometimes it's not but people generally feel uncomfortable around Bitches. They consider them
aberrations. They find their style disturbing. So they create a dumping ground for all who they deplore as bitchy and call
them frustrated women. Frustrated they may be, but the cause is social not sexual.
What is disturbing about a Bitch is that she is androgynous. She incorporates within herself qualities traditionally defined
as "masculine" as well as "feminine". A Bitch is blunt, direct, arrogant, at times egoistic. She has no liking for the indirect,
subtle, mysterious ways of the "eternal feminine." She disdains the vicarious life deemed natural to women because she wants
to live a life of her own.
Our society has defined humanity as male, and female as something other than male. In this way, females could be human
only by living vicariously thru a male. To be able to live, a woman has to agree to serve, honor, and obey a man and what
she gets in exchange is at best a shadow life. Bitches refuse To serve, honor or obey anyone. They demand to be fully functioning
human beings, not just shadows. They want to be both female and human. this makes them social contradictions. The mere existence
of Bitches negates the idea that a woman's reality must come thru her relationship to a man and defies the belief that women
are perpetual children who must always be under the guidence of another.
Therefore, if taken seriously, a Bitch is a threat to the social structures which enslave women and the social values which
justify keeping them in their place. She is living testimony that woman's oppression does not have to be, and as such raises
doubts about the validity of the whole social system. Because she is a threat she is not taken seriously. Instead, she is
dismissed as a deviant. Men create a special category for her in which she is accounted at least partially human, but not
really a woman. To the extent to which they relate to her a a human being, they refuse to relate to her as a sexual being.
Women are even more threatened because they cannot forget she is a woman. They are afraid they will identify with her too
closely. She has a freedom and an independence which they envy and challenges them to forsake the security of their chains.
Neither men nor women can face the reality of a Bitch because to do so would force them to face the corrupt reality of themselves.
She is dangerous. So they dismiss her as a freak.
This is the root of her own oppression as a woman. Bitches are not only oppressed as women, they are oppressed for not
being like women. Because she has insisted on being human before being feminine, on being true to herself before kowtowing
to social pressures, a Bitch grows up an outsider. Even as girls, Bitches violated the limits of accepted sex role behavior.
They did not identify with other women and few were lucky enough to have an adult Bitch serve as a role model. They had to
make their own way and the pitfalls this uncharted course posed contributed to both their uncertainty and their independence.
Bitches are good examples of how women can be strong enough to survive even the rigid, punitive socialization of our society.
As young girls it never quite penetrated their consciousness that women were supposed to be inferior to men in any but the
mother/helpmate role. They asserted themselves as children and never really internalized the slave style of wheedling and
cajolry which is called feminine. Some Bitches were oblivious to the usual social pressures and some stubbornly resisted them.
Some developed a superficial feminine style and some remained tomboys long past the time when such behavior is tolerated.
All Bitches refused, in mind and spirit, to conform to the idea that there were limits on what they could be and do. They
placed no bounds on their aspirations or their conduct.
For this resistance they were roundly condemned. They were put down, snubbed, sneered at, talked about, laughed at and
ostracized. Our society made women into slaves and then condemned them for acting like slaves. It was all done very subtly.
Few people were so direct as to say that they did not like Bitches because they did not play the sex role game.
In fact, few were sure why they did not like Bitches. They did not realize that their violation of the reality structure
endangered the structure. Somehow, from early childhood on, some girls didn't fit in and were good objects to make fun of.
But few people consciously recognized the root of their diskike. The issue was never confronted. If it was talked about at
all, it was done with snide remarks behind the young girl's back. Bitches were made to feel that there was something wrong
with them; something personally wrong.
Teenage girls are particularly vicious in the scapegoat game. This is the time of life when women are told they must compete
the hardest for the spoils (i.e. men) which society allows. They must assert their femininity or see it denied. They are very
unsure of themselves and adopt the ridigity that goes with uncertainty. They are hard on their competitors and even harder
on those who decline to compete. Those of their peers who do not share their concerns and practice the arts of charming men
are excluded from most social groupings. If she didn't know it before, a Bitch learns during these years that she is different.
As she gets older she learns more about why she is different. As Bitches begin to take jobs, or participate in organizations,
they are rarely content to sit quietly and do what they are told. A Bitch has a mind of her own and wants to use it.
She wants to rise high, be creative, assume responsibility. She knows she is capable and wants to use her capabilities. This.
not pleasing the men she works for, is her primary goal.
When she meets the hard brick wall of sex prejudice she is not compliant. She will knock herself out batting her head against
the wall because she will not accept her defined role as an auxilliary. Occasionally she crashes her way thru. Or she uses
her ingenuity to find a loophole, or creates one. Or she is ten times better than anyone else competing with her. She also
accepts less than her due. Like other women her ambitions have often been dulled for she has not totally escaped the badge
of inferiority placed upon the "weaker sex." She will often espouse contentment with being the power behind the throne -provided
that she does have real power -while rationalizing that she really does not want the recognition that comes with also having
the throne. Because she has been put down most of her life, both for being a woman and for not being a true woman, a Bitch
will not always recognize that what she has achieved is not attainable by the typical woman. A highly competent Bitch often
deprecates herself by refusing to recognize her own superiority. She is wont to say that she is average or less so; if she
can do it, anyone can.
As adults, Bitches may have learned the femine role, at least the outward style' but they are rarely comfortable in it.
This is particularly true of those women who are physical Bitches. They want to free their bodies as well as their minds and
deplore the effort they must waste confining their physical motions or dressing the role in order not to turn people off.
Too, because they violate sex role expectations physically, they are not as free to violate them psychologically or intellectually.
A few deviations from the norm can be tolerated but too many are too threatening. It's bad enough not to think like a woman,
sound like a woman or do the kinds of things women are supposed to do. To also not look like a woman, move like a woman or
act like a woman is to go way beyond the pale. Ours is a rigid society with narrow limits placed on the extent of human diversity.
Women in particular are defined by their physical characteristics. Bitches who do not violate these limits are freer to violate
others. Bitches who do violate them in style or size can be somewhat envious of those who do not have to so severely restrain
the expansiveness of their personalities and behavior. Often these Bitches are tortured more because their deviancy is always
evident .But they do have a compensation in that large Bitches have a good deal less difficulty being taken seriously than
small women. One of the sources of their suffering as women is also a source of their strength.
The trial by fire which most Bitches go thru while growing up either makes them or breaks them .They are strung taughtly
between the two poles of being true to their own nature or being accepted as a social being. This makes them very sensitive
people, but it is a sensitivity the rest of the world is unaware of. For on the outside they have frequently grown a thick
defensive callous which can make them seem hard and bitter at times. This is particularly true of those Bitches who have been
forced to become isolates in order to avoid being remade and destroyed by their peers. Those who are fortunate enough to have
grown up with some similar companions, understanding parents, a good role model or two and a very strong will, can avoid some
of the worse aspects of being a Bitch. Having endured less psychological punishment for being what they were they can accept
their differentness with the ease that comes from self-confidence.
Those who had to make their way entirely on their own have an uncertain path. Some finally realize that their pain comes
not just because they do not conform but because they do not want to conform. With this comes the recognition that there is
nothing particularly wrong with them they just don't fit into this kind of society. Many eventually learn to insulate
themselves from the harsh social environment. However, this too has its price. Unless they are cautious and conscious, the
confidence gained in this painful manner - with no support from their sisters -is more often a kind of arrogance. Bitches
can become so hard and calloused that the last vestiges of humanity become buried deep within and almost destroyed.
Not all Bitches make it. Instead of callouses, they develop open sores. Instead of confidence they develop an unhealthy
sensitivity to rejection. Seemingly tough on the outside, on the inside they are a bloody pulp, raw from the lifelong verbal
whipping they have had to endure. These are Bitches who have gone Bad. They often go around with a chip on their shoulders
and use their strength for unproductive retaliation when some-some accepts their dare to knock it off . These Bitches can
be very obnoxious because they never really trust people. They have not learned to use theirs strength constructively .
Bitches who have been mutilated as human beings often turn their fury on other people -particularly other women. This is
one example of how women are trained to keep themselves and other women in their place. Bitches are no less guilty than non-Bitches
of self-hatred and group-hatred and those who have gone Bad suffer the worse of both these afflictions. All Bitches are scapegoats
and those who have not survived the psychological gauntlet are the butt of everyones disdain. As a group, Bitches are treated
by other women much as women in general are treated by society - all right in their place, good to exploit and gossip about,
but otherwise to be ignored or put down. They are threats to the traditional woman's position and they are also an outgroup
to which she can feel superior. Most women feel both better than and jealous of Bitches. While comforting themselves that
they are not like these aggressive, masculine freaks, they have a sneaking suspicion that perhaps men, the most important
thing in their lives, do find the freer, more assertive. independent, Bitch preferable as a woman.
Bitches, likewise, don't care too much for other women. They grow up disliking other women. They can't relate to them,
they don't identify with them, they have nothing in common with them. Other women have been the norm into which they have
not fit. They reject those who have rejected them. This is one of the reasons Bitches who are successful in hurdling the obstacles
society places before women scorn these women who are not. They tend to feel those who can take it will make it. Most women
have been the direct agents of much of the shit Bitches have had to endure and few of either group has had the political consciousness
to realize why this is. Bitches have been oppressed by other women as much if not more than by men and their hatred for them
is usually greater.
Bitches are also uncomfortable around other women because frequently women are less their psychological peers than are
men. Bitches don't particularly like passive people. They are always slightly afraid they will crush the fragile things. Women
are trained to be passive and have learned to act that way even when they are not. A Bitch is not very passive and is not
comfortable acting that role. But she usually does not like to be domineering either - whether this is from natural distaste
at dominating others or fear of seeming too masculine. Thus a Bitch can relax and be her natural non-passive self without
worrying about mascerating someone only in the company of those who are as strong as she. This is more frequently in the company
of men than of women but those Bitches who have not succumbed totally to self-hatred are most comfortable of all only in the
company of fellow Bitches. These are her true peers and the only ones with whom she does not have to play some sort of role.
Only with other Bitches can a Bitch be truly free.
These moments come rarely. Most of the time Bitches must remain psychologically isolated. Women and men are so threatened
by them and react so adversely that Bitches guard their true selves carefully. They are suspicious of those few whom they
think they might be able to trust because so often it turns out to be a sham. But in this loneliness there is a strength and
from their isolation and their bitterness come contributions that other women do not make. Bitches are among the most unsung
of the unsung heroes of this society. They are the pioneers, the vanguard, the spearhead. Whether they want to be or not this
is the role they serve just by their very being. Many would not choose to be the groundbreakers for the mass of women for
whom they have no sisterly feelings but they cannot avoid it. Those who violate the limits, extend them; or cause the system
Bitches were the first women to go to college, the first to break thru the Invisible Bar of the professions, the first
social revolutionaries, the first labor leaders, the first to organize other women. Because they were not passive beings and
acted on their resentment at being kept down, they dared to do what other women would not. They took the flak and the shit
that society dishes out to those who would change it and opened up portions of the world to women that they would otherwise
not have known. They have lived on the fringes. And alone or with the support of their sisters they have changed the world
we live in.
By definition Bitches are marginal beings in this society. They have no proper place and wouldn't stay in it if they did.
They are women but not true women. They are human but they are not male. Some don't even know they are women because they
cannot relate to other women. They may play the feminine game at times, but they know is is a game they are playing. Their
major psychological oppression is not a belief that they are inferior but a belief that they are not. Thus, all their lives
they have been told they were freaks. More polite terms were used of course, but the message got thru. Like most women they
were taught to hate themselves as well as all women. In different ways and for different reasons perhaps, but the effect was
similar. Internalization of a derogatory self-concept always results in a good deal of bitterness and resentment. This anger
is usually either turned in on the self--making one an unpleasant person or on other women - reinforcing the social cliches
about them. Only with political consciousness is it directed at the source - the social system.
The bulk of this Manifesto has been about Bitches. The remainder will be about BITCH. The organization does not yet exist
and perhaps it never can. Bitches are so damned independent and they have learned so well not to trust other women that it
will be difficult for them to learn to even trust each other. This is what BITCH must teach them to do. Bitches have to learn
to accept themselves as Bitches and to give their sisters the support they need to be creative Bitches. Bitches must learn
to be proud of their strength and proud of themselves. They must move away from the isolation which has been their protection
and help their younger sisters avoid its perils. They must recognize that women are often less tolerant of other women than
are men because they have been taught to view all women as their enemies. And Bitches must form together in a movement to
deal with their problems in a political manner. They must organize for their own liberation as all women must organize for
theirs. We must be strong, we must be militant, we must be dangerous. We must realize that Bitch is Beautiful and that we
have nothing to lose. Nothing whatsoever.