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How a "Feminist" Grows Up to be a "Heartless Bitch"


About a year or so ago I was in the midst of surfing about online when I came across an unusually named website. "Heartless Bitches International?" I questioned, ever so intrigued by the site's name. "Who would proclaim themselves to be a 'bitch'?" I looked around a bit, suspending disbelief at first, but later realizing that the site's brand of bitchdom has been a long familiar presence to me.

Ever since I was little I'd known the strength of women. My mom was the one who was in charge of the family (and still is to this day), and I don't remember a time in which Mom didn't work outside the home, teaching me about independence while in the midst of a longtime marital relationship. One of the first non-fiction books I read was a story on Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the women's suffrage movement was one of the first events in American history I remember learning about. And ever since early adolescence my idols have been those two great giants in modern feminism, Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.

I have always proudly proclaimed myself to be a feminist, but I didn't make the connection between my "feminism" and HBI's "Heartless Bitchery" at first. I saw eventually, though, that the line between feminism and Heartless Bitchery is a very thin one, one that was crossed through everyday contact with the outside world. I began seeing what HBI railed on against -- hypocrisy, the ever-present glass ceiling, sexism, racism, stereotypes, and the like -- and awoke myself to the fact that my feminist self had crossed over to HBI's Heartless Bitchery.

I too had crossed over to becoming a Heartless Bitch, even being the 19-year-old that I was. I too had seen first-hand the barriers built up against me purely because of my gender and race. I had become indignant with the portrayal of women in the media, especially television shows where women are so crippled they seem to need a man to hold them up (paging "Ally McBeal") and movies where women are merely victimized, never gaining a backbone to stop the victimization (paging Lifetime network and Valerie Bertinelli). I had fought against the naysayers to hold down my status as computer science major, all the while becoming incensed that the CS undergrad advisor preferred males, especially his male golfing buddies. I was sick of the constant pressures to look a certain way, act a certain way, dress a certain way, be a certain way. And all that time, with all that fighting I did, I thought I was doing it "as a feminist". But now I see that I was crossing the bridge toward being a Heartless Bitch, the next and ultimate level of existence for independent-minded females.

Now, I'm still the same person I was at 19. I still fight off the "good old boys" network at school. I still get disgusted at most anything considered "feminine" by the media. I still refuse to spend a huge chunk of my paycheck on makeup when I know I'd get more pleasure and use out of a CD or a piece of software. I don't consider my actions "ladylike" and I'll be damned if they are. But now I realize that the actions are based upon my feminism and acted on out of Heartless Bitchery. And that is more than empowering. It's downright addictive.

So, thank you to Natalie and all of HBI for making me realize my full potential. Thank you for the many essays and pearls of wisdom that have enabled me to use what I'd had in me to the fullest. Thank you for making me proud to be a female again. And thank you for giving me the courage to say, "Yes, I'm a Heartless Bitch...whose side are you on?"

-- Diane (Lady Interference)

Copyright© Diane Aguilar, 2000, Reprinted with permission from the author
Copying or reproduction (in whole or in part) on any medium (such as in print or on the web) is expressly forbidden without written permission from HBI

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