is an organization which does not yet exist. The name is not an
acronym. It stands for exactly what it sounds like.
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.
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."
have some or all of the following characteristics.
Personality. Bitches are aggressive, assertive, domineering, overbearing,
strong-minded, spiteful, hostile, direct, blunt, candid, obnoxious,
thick-skinned, hard-headed, vicious, dogmatic, competent, competitive,
pushy, loud-mouthed, independent, stubborn, demanding, manipulative,
egoistic, driven, achieving, overwhelming, threatening, scary, 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.
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.
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.
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 "nigger," "bitch" serves
the social function of isolating and discrediting a class of people
who do not conform to the socially accepted patterns of behavior.
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.
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.
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
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 guidance
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.
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
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 cajolery 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.
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.
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 dislike. 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.
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 rigidity 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.
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 is not pleasing to the men she works
for, which is not her primary goal.
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 auxiliary. 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
adults, Bitches may have learned the feminine 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.
trial by fire which most Bitches go thru while growing up either
makes them or breaks them. They are strung tautly 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.
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.
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 someone 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 their strength constructively.
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 everyone's
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.
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 have 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.
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
masticating 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.
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 to break.
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.
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.
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.
manifesto was written and revised with the help of several of my
sisters, to whom it is dedicated.
(c) Copyright 1969