“Catty.” “Cat fight.” “Claws out.” “Fur flying.”
These are all terms used by our society to describe behavior and minimize the disputes between women. They belittle.
I can’t stand them.
You see, I’m a strong believer in equality. It doesn’t seem fair to me that “catty,” a word defined as either spiteful or cat-like, is only ever actually used when talking about women. On those rare occasions when it is applied to a man, what is usually meant is “you’re acting like a woman.” That bothers me even more because while I think being a woman is pretty great, they didn’t mean it that way.
So when the opportunity arose to join the Catty team, I must admit I hesitated. I care about how women are perceived in this world, so did I really want to be a part of something that furthers the labeling of women’s behavior using terms I abhor? Then I realized something — by joining in, I would have a hand in shaping the direction of the site.
It may sound daft, but I have a hard time identifying “cattiness.” The truth is, I never think in terms of “catty.” It’s not really a part of my vocabulary. To me, that person likes to gossip, is nosy, will do anything to get ahead, is an inconsiderate ass…those kinds of things. What on earth would be my contribution to a site like this? Do I WANT to contribute to a site like this? When I expressed my concerns to the Team they said, “there’s your first article.”
So here I am, writing a blog post (my first one ever!) on a site that uses feline imagery to describe women and their behavior and I’m pretty sure I just saw a pig fly past my window! The twist, I think, is that this site will “take back” the word and help people see women’s behavior for what it is — normal.
It’s normal in that every single human, regardless of sex or gender identity, makes decisions based on his or her life experiences, ambitions, emotions, health, competitiveness, jealousy, political leanings, etc. We all like to believe that we can make judgments separate from these things, and we can at times. However, being born one sex rather than another neither endows nor withholds the ability to act rationally or out of an emotional response. Both women and men act on our emotions. Both women and men can react physically or through gossip and backstabbing (politics anyone?) — the difference is how they are viewed by society. The Team, along with our readers, will attempt to examine the situations that come our way in an unbiased way. We may possibly agree that a strong reaction was completely justified or perhaps say that the reaction wasn’t strong enough! Then again, maybe you were just being a raging bitch. 😉 (A term I have reclaimed, by the way.)
Now wait a minute, I’m not letting you off the hook *that* easy. Just because a behavior is normal doesn’t necessarily make it right. We’re all going to act our emotions sometimes — it’s only human — but being nasty to someone out of petty jealousy or your own insecurity just isn’t cool folks! Take an honest look at how you treat people — are you helping to perpetuate the word “catty”? On the other hand, maybe you need help sticking up for yourself or handing someone their ass on a platter when they’ve really earned it — in a way that won’t get you imprisoned, fired, divorced, or de-friended, of course. Stick with us, maybe we can help.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “What does it matter? They’re just words.” To which I would respond, “If words didn’t matter, none of us would have heard of Shakespeare.”
Will I reclaim “catty?” Should all women reclaim it? Can we facilitate an expansion of the term to include men as well? I’ll be thinking about these questions as I take the journey that is this website. I hope you’ll join me.
Lead Feminist of the AIBC Team
PS: Not what you were expecting from this site? Well, I *did* say in my bio that I think like Julia Sugarbaker (“Designing Women”). Haha!