Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik certainly has a lot of titles under her belt. In addition to being an actress on one of the most successful sitcoms to date, Bialik is also a blogger, neuroscientist (yes, seriously!) and self-proclaimed feminist. She’s also an awesomely opinionated woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind about the unfair ways women are treated in our society. So it’s no surprise that Bialik has something to say about one very loaded word people tend to throw around while describing some women.
Bialik sat down for a Q&A during the BlogHer conference (where she discussed her blog Grok Nation) and was asked what was the one thing she wished men would stop saying to women. It turns out that the word she detests the most is one many people see as harmless — the word “bitch.”
“[T]he word ‘bitch’ still bothers me. I know there’s been a certain sense of empowerment and taking that word back, and that some women do engage in [as well as] men,” says Bialik of the thing that men say to women that bothers her the most. “For the most part, when I hear it, it usually means ‘a woman has just said something I don’t agree with, and I’d like her to shut her face.’ That’s usually when I hear that word, and I don’t like it one bit.”
I tend to agree with Bialik about the word, because unlike many other slurs, “bitch” is one that is inherently insulting to females. It’s one word that is often used to cut down both men and women, but the intention behind it is so different. Think about it: Calling a woman a “bitch” usually means that a woman is being rude, aggressive or bossy. But if someone were to call a man a “bitch,” it means almost the opposite: It means that man is being weak, afraid or annoying. It’s basically saying that men are allowed to be aggressive and hold authority, but a woman who tries to do so is out of line.
I’m all for taking back words that insult us, but that doesn’t mean people don’t use it in ways meant to cut strong women down or to “emasculate” men for acting too feminine. I get why Bialik wants this word to cease to be in existence — it’s a pretty loaded term for women, no matter the gender of the person the insult is being spewed at.