By definition, a Southern Belle (derived from the French word belle, “beautiful”) is an archetype for a young woman of the American Old South’s upper class. Everyone knows that a Southern Belle is charming and sweet. In fact, she knows how to be polite and minds her manners by always remembering to say “Please and Thank you” or “No sir and Yes ma’am.” She also knows everyone by their first names: “Honey,” Sugah,” or “Dahlin.”
Having spent my life’s entirety in the South, there is one thing I know for certain: there are many women that fit the description of a Southern Bitch. According to the Urban Dictionary a Southern Bitch is defined as a Southern Belle that has a bitchy attitude to all; an overall bitch. A Southern Bitch knows how to be offensive and deliver an insult on the sly. Since her upbringing has always taught her to “be polite” this makes for some interesting perspective on insults. What I mean is that a Southern Bitch knows just how to deliver that kick to the crotch that leaves everyone within an earshot believing it to be of good intention or at least just veiled enough to not be immediately clear. This also makes it nearly impossible to tarnish one’s good name or compromise her integrity on the technicality of being a bit bitchy.
An example of Southern Bitchiness (on the sly) would be:
“Poor Susan, those new pants she is wearing are just not becoming, bless her heart.”
To the untrained ear, one could believe this was said out of genuine concern by an honest to goodness Southern Belle, but to a true born and raised Southerner, the Southern Bitch shines through. This is what she really said:
1) Susan’s pants are hideous.
2) Susan should rethink her wardrobe before coming out in public.
3) Susan is a terrible dresser and should be embarrassed for even thinking that was a sound choice.
Some would say that by adding “Bless her heart” to a sentence, a Southern Woman can get away with saying just about anything.
“Bless your heart, you’re as dumb as a bag of hammers.”
“She’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine, bless her heart.”
“Mary Ellen’s new haircut resembles a football helmet, bless her heart.
I will say this though….calling out a Southern Belle, ah-hem I mean Bitch, takes many years of training and a certain amount of finesse. Confronting said Bitch is even harder to accomplish when those snide comments are perceived to be dripping in honey.
For instance, if the resident Southern Bitch attacks poor Susan’s fashion choices, a well-trained comeback artist could reply “Now, now, not all of us have your sense of…..um, style, Sue Ellen.”
If she is inferring that Susan is as useless as a screen door on a submarine, the response could be, “OOOH , still sore about the mix up over who was going to bring the potato salad for the annual company picnic? There’s always next year, honey!”
But keep in mind, as silly and childish as these Southern Belle/Bitch comments may seem, they are still much friendlier and gentler on the ears than the response you would receive from that one Yankee Cousin-in-Law that seems to be eager to share just what she thinks. Her response would sound very similar to this, “Did you just say I was as dumb as a bag of hammers? I’m not sure what that even means, Hill-Billy. Go f–k yourself and your potato salad.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ll settle for a little less humping over the potato salad!
What are some of your favorite Southern Belle or Southern Bitch comments?
Member of the AIBC Team
- HAPPY HOUR: Southern Belle Cocktail (loveletterstohome.com)
- City Girl vs. Southern Belle (everythinggirlslove.com)