Stitch and Bitch
This phrase has always put me off.
It’s the word Bitch.
Not for prudish reasons. For what the word is usually followed by in everyday life.
As in Bitch and Moan.
When I first heard the phrase “Stitch and Bitch”, instantly a vivid picture was brought to mind and I wanted to run in the opposite direction. Years of working in women-dominated professions left me very wary of certain gangs of women who cluster at lunch tables bitterly complaining about everything and everybody. Downers with whom you seriously “edit” everything you say to them because they spread vicious gossip with even less fact-checking than a celebrity rag.
Envisioning a group of knitting harpies I have never grooved to the stitch and bitch. I don’t want to go to a crafting group and complain about my life which, if you are using the word bitch as a verb, that is what it means.
Or is it being used as a noun – making me the bitch? That pleases me even less.
When I was in college, in the late 80’s through early 90’s, there was a halfhearted push to defuse some of the derogatory language directed at women and minorities by those groups being encouraged to actually use such terms in their daily speech. I went to a women’s college and sometimes a woman would address me as “bitch.” That never got the interaction off to the right start. Because the word bitch has moved from meaning a promiscuous woman, which is the traditional meaning that those women’s groups were trying to defuse, to meaning a nasty-tongued malicious woman, which is hardly a complimentary conversational opener.
You can hear something of the same thing in current rap music which is full of racial slurs. Though a gazillion people of all races listen to this kind of music, in real life I don’t know any African-Americans who like being called the names I hear in rap music.
In real life “appropriating the language of the oppressor” is a theory whose application can meet with some snags.
Stitch and Bitch
It’s snarky. It’s funny. It certainly rhymes. And has sold a lot of books if you are familiar with that series of knitting manuals.
I can see that on the surface it appears to be a feminist in-your-face funny thing to say.
But does the phrase really love on women? Does it really lift up women and celebrate their tradition of needlecraft? (Bitching and celebrating have always been polar opposites to me.)
Is it truly feminist to call another woman a demeaning term? Or to intimate that she might be a verbal banshee of negativity? Or is it simply a matter of bad manners?
What is your reaction to the term Stitch and Bitch?