So, I’ve been at this blogging gig for a few months now, and Twitter for even less time. I have to say that for the most part it has been really fun. A few times a week I drop my little guy off at preschool, put my Starbucks ordering phobia to the test and, fueled by caffeine
and anxiety, do my best to express myself.
I will be the first to admit that I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing. I love to write. I love to connect with people. And, yeah, I really love to make saucy jokes. And I’m the first to admit that I am naive about plenty of things. But Twitter? Whoa, it’s a whole new world. (And Aladdin is not there singing I can show you the world / Shining, shimmering, splendid.)
After basking in the Hallmarkish glow of Facebook love and friendship for several years, I was unprepared for what I’d find on Twitter. It sort of feels like going from a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin to being dropped in the middle of New York City. So far I’ve discovered an amazing contingent of knock-your-socks off bloggers who write with humor, pathos and honesty. I’ve connected with several unbelievably funny comics. There are a lot of people joking about dicks, tits and (to be polite) vaginas. And then, there are the Self Proclaimed Bitches.
Now, I must admit that I’m guilty of using the word bitch pretty loosely. One of my best friends and I lovingly call each other “biatchita” and “beeyotch.” And I’ll jokingly say to a friend, “Bitch, what are you talkin’ ’bout?” But I try to save my bitchiness for times of extreme hormonal duress or when cut off in traffic.
Of all the people I’ve encountered on Twitter (and I know I’m only scratching the surface), the Self Proclaimed Bitches have been the biggest surprise. I understand sarcasm and snarkiness and even bitchy joking around, but I don’t get the women who are on Twitter who define themselves as bitches. I mean, I know there are bitches immemorial in history. Hell, even Downton Abbey has its bitches. But in the context of social media, what purpose does acting like a bitch serve?
A couple of weeks ago I made a faux pas on Twitter. Being new to this whole thing, I stepped in my own shit. As I have been described
lovingly by my exasperated husband as an experiential learner, I’m sure I will step in my own steaming pile again in the future. I’m cool with that. The way I learned I had misstepped? Via a tweet. Not just a tweet, but an unkind tweet. Which was then starred by another person. Both women, both bloggers I’d been in a Triberr tribe with.
When I saw this tweet I first felt like an ass for screwing up. No one tells you the rules about what is okay and what is not okay to tweet about regarding your blog, so I felt kind of idiotic. I was also glad to know that I’d made a mistake so I could delete the tweet. Then I thought This is weird, why wouldn’t she just send me a direct message and talk privately to me about my tweet? And, Why did she assume I had bad intentions?
Truth be told, I felt like I’d been publicly scolded. And then I felt ganged up on. It stung. And (most annoying to me), my feelings were hurt because I’d mistakenly thought tribe members were supposed to be supportive. (As it turned out, the guys were wonderfully supportive.) It felt like I was in high school again. Yuck.
After this incident I realized that I have a lot to learn about blogging, tweeting, and the way women behave on Twitter. There is a huge group of women who are incredibly supportive. They want to help, they are kind, they share ideas and tips. But there are also quite a few women who actually describe themselves as bitches on their profile page. I now know that some of these women take their description literally and are using this title as a free pass to be mean or demeaning to other people on Twitter.
What I’m trying to figure out is why? What does acting like a bitch achieve for these women? Does it make them feel powerful? Is it a way to provide themselves protection or is it self-defensiveness? Is it meant to be a joke? Is it a self-esteem thing? I can’t help but wonder what feminists make of this subculture of bitches.
Many of the quotes I’ve read about feminism (and I haven’t done much reading about feminism in years, so I know I have a lot of research to do) have to do with women in relation to men. But what about how women treat other women?
While I appreciate ballsy women, and there is a part of me that can see how powerful a woman might feel by publicly shaking her finger at another woman, I have to ask: What do we have as women if we don’t support each other? (And if we want to be powerful, what message does it send to men that we are willing to throw each other under the bus?) What do we gain by being a bitch?
Addendum: A few people asked what I tweeted that got a negative response. What I did was tweet a link to my blog post about the tattoo incident with a comment that said I don’t understand why women turn on each other (see comments). The person who reprimanded me said that I was shamelessly driving traffic to my blog and throwing fuel on the fire. I think she said that as a woman that tweet disgusted her. When I tweeted that out I didn’t consider it a ploy to get more readers or page views. I thought I was updating my friends on the blog. In any case I considered her point and deleted the tweet.