“I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint,” sounds like a confused adolescent, or maybe just like a forty year old Merideth Brooks’ singing “Bitch.” At this point SFcritic may be as meaningless as Merideth Brooks’ career, but still for bitching sake–a worthy topic of discussion. When I was in high school, along with issues of puberty I also dealt with a new challenge of maturation: how do I deal with my female peers who were infatuated with female pop groups like the Spice Girls and Meredith Brooks? No big deal right?–Wrong. Sure, as a guy, I worried about the occasional and unavoidable public hard-on, but scarier than that was the potential “bitch session” I might receive from annoying a female student who was immersed in her bitch pop phase. Whoa, I know–I’m throwing around the “b-word” like Bush used the term “secret weapons,” but the “b-word” has been redefined by contemporary feminists and then packaged by the media and solicited as trash. What the media created has been coined as “bitch pop.”
Let me take a step back and explain bitch pop. Bitch pop was the genre of popular music, which was sung typically by a female singer who’d gripe about something, and often refer to herself as a bitch. Merideth Brooks, “Bitch,” with its witty title, and catchy lyrics, exemplifies the typical bitch pop song:
Brooks’ first line “I hate the world today,” is just a little melodramatic. I mean really, thanks to marketers targeting helpless pubescent girls who couldn’t quite explain what was happening to their bodies, ultimately young, handsome, and nice guys like myself were doomed to piss off a girl and receive a royal bitching. It was no longer safe to pull on the girls pigtails in front of you and expect a playful “tsk tsk.” Shit got out of hand, just look at this kid below.
Girls and the bitch movement escalated to proportions unknown. This helpless girl above is completely unaware of the message she is sending about her mother! Suddently, to “express yourself” as a woman it meant throwing around the word bitch, and using it as an excuse to vent whenever and wherever. Not cool.
In the late 90s, the Spice Girls claimed their message of “Girl Power” was a more contemporary form of feminism. Their hit single, “Wannabe” was all about doing what you want, and when you want it. Sounds a lot like a spoiled brat. Couple girl power, with bitch power and now you have teenage girl on a potential rampage–lookout dads everywhere.
Granted the “b” word has been taken on by feminists in the same manner as “n” word for African Americans. Bitch magazine states that their title is a form of self-empowerment by redefining women as public activists:
The writer Rebecca West, back in the day, said, “People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” We’d argue that the word “bitch” is usually deployed for the same purpose. When it’s being used as an insult, “bitch” is an epithet hurled at women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don’t shy away from expressing them, and who don’t sit by and smile uncomfortably if they’re bothered or offended. If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we’ll take that as a compliment, thanks.
I doubt most bitch pop enthusiasts have this same interpretation, mind you any real good defense for the music. In truth the bitch pop movement seems to have been merely a marketing strategy, no different than the gangsta movement in hip hop. Find something that’s easily marketable, exploit it, and sell it until consumers finally refuse it. Thankfully at least bitch pop is just that, pop music, heard today, gone tomorrow.