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)