Bitter and male privilege

The word “Bitter” as used to dismiss women and advantage alpha males.

I highly admire Dee and Deb over at The Wartburg Watch and they generally allow a free flow of thought on their blog but they make a couple of rules to govern the general feel of the blog. As far as I know there is one word that is outright banned and it is, you guessed it, “Bitter.”

An excerpt of their rules

 “We believe certain words and phrases are overused and are intended to intimidate, dismiss, or diminish.(For example, “bitter”). They show a lack of original thinking and may be manifestations of brainwashing by certain abusive groups. In other words, they are BORING. There is a thesaurus function on your computer. Use it!”

Going to the thesaurus…..Skipping the words related to tasting…..Resentful (adj.) resentful embittered sulky cheated angry cynical indignant resigned (antonym) Moving to Unpleasant (adj.) Unpleasant acrimonious, nasty, vicious, hostile cordial (antonym) Very Cold (adj.) Skipping because this is an adj. for a brutally cold day such as we’re experiencing in the US Mid-Atlantic states as I type this post.

The following is an example of alpha males using the word dismissively (taken from TWW)

“Those most upset displayed to us anger or bitterness or hatred toward SGM and their former church leaders for events that took place ten to fifteen years ago. Some were so hurt or angry that they displayed tears, raised voices, clenched fists, and other physical demonstrations of anger. As we talked about bitterness or anger, several responded with raised or strained voices to our team members insisting that they were not angry or bitter.”

Ambassadors of Reconciliation Report (page 18)

Remember, these bitter people include people that were sexually abused or had children that were sexually abused whose cases were so poorly handled that there is a lawsuit against the people that *paid* the ambassadors of reconciliation to investigate the matter. (I would laugh if this wasn’t tragic.)

I generally love my husband but he has found his privileged male ass in hot water thrice over the use of the word Bitter as it relates to women who are aware of their mistreatment at the hands of the patriarchy.  The three times he stepped into the bitter quicksand are good illustrations of the nature of the way bitter is used by alpha males to dismiss a dissenting female voice and, therefore, I will relate his three bitter missteps.

The first incident relates to his grandmother who he regards (correctly so) as a “bitter old woman.” Did he ever wonder *why* Grandma Baker was a bitter old woman? Because her family paid for her sister’s college education and didn’t give her a penny toward anything and the sisters were both good students and both were worthy of extended education. Grandma Baker toiled away her entire life and worked her fingers to the bone to pave her three sons’ way to college. My father in law was Valedictorian of his graduating class and has his Masters degree.  Lets look at the thesaurus and behold, resentful (yes!) Embittered (shouldn’t be on the list) sulky (a tad), cheated (damn right), Angry (with good reason), cynical (perhaps) indignant (yup) and as for the antonym resigned (like a good submissive woman?) Hell no! She took all that pent up crap that was dumped on her and used the energy to help her boys get what was denied her! Viva la bitter!

The second incident was when I first told him of the lawsuit brought against various SGM leaders for their part (or neglect of) child molestation and child abuse cases.

His knee-jerk response was, “They’re (plaintiffs) being bitter, aren’t they.” Citing a Bible verse against lawsuits.

I was furious and didn’t hide it from him. I said, “Damn right they’re bitter over child MOLESTATIONS why should anyone not be bitter against people that had anything to do with the abuse of children.” He backed away and said, “I guess I don’t know enough about it to judge.” Spot on, but your knee jerk reaction was to suggest the people bringing about the lawsuit were bitter. THAT, my friends, is the privileged response of an alpha male that benefits from the patriarchy/complementarian paradigm.  (You don’t know how delighted I am that my spell check does not recognize the word, complementarian.) Note: He is disgusted by the abuse but some residual conditioning from that time period are still lurking in the marrow of his soul, I pray that it goes away completely.

The third incident was recent where he accused me of being bitter over a similar injustice. This was last week right after Dee and Deb banned the word from TWW. I told him that the word Bitter was a foul word that the alpha males of a fake Christian mindset use against those strong minded women that will not go down to subjugation without a fight (a fight to the bitter end, ha!) and that since it was a word used to demean others, is on top of my worst words list just like he hates the word, Fuck,  and forbids it from the household, Bitter (used in this context) is offensive to me so if he insists on calling me anything with bitter in it, I have some colorful adjectives that include the word, fuck.

I made my point and am not particularly worried about continued use of the word Bitter which is a much more satisfying and effective approach than being resigned to my fate.


14 responses to “Bitter and male privilege

  1. I am still getting to know the way wordpress works.

    I welcome responses! Even if you disagree, just be polite and nice.

  2. Ok, I think I love you. Great post!

  3. I can’t stop laughing. You have put in a nutshell the absolute misuse and disdainfulness of this word. And you point out so well how men of all stripes just resort to it without thinking. A dear friend of mine used it recently in response to some spiritual abuse at his mega church toward the victims. He did not even think before he spoke. It just rolled off his tongue and he is one of the most irenic guys I know.

    He won’t be using it again anytime soon, I can assure you.

  4. Haha! I described someone as “bitter” the day after TWW banned its use, and I reacted with total embarassment, like I had said a foul word. I aplogized to the person with shame, and they were totally confused. lol.

  5. So …

    Those bad boyz “love bomb” the peeps that they want to become friends of the church.

    They “bitter bomb” the peeps that they think are enemies of the church.

    You “F bombed’ the “b-bomber” for a bombastic reactic.

    Ms Opinemine, U R “da Bomb”!



  6. The bad boyz are big dogs, indeed.
    They can love bomb all day but people know when they’re deceived.
    With all their sin-sniffing, I picture them as dogs sniffing ass.
    such easy pickings, I couldn’t pass.
    The bitter bomb is a silent killer
    I dropped the f-bomb as a certain thriller
    It will only be used to bitter a reply
    So I expect nothing more from my normally great guy.

  7. Keith

    “Going to the thesaurus…..Skipping the words related to tasting…..Resentful (adj.) resentful embittered sulky cheated angry cynical indignant resigned (antonym) Moving to Unpleasant (adj.) Unpleasant acrimonious, nasty, vicious, hostile cordial (antonym) Very Cold (adj.) Skipping because this is an adj. for a brutally cold day such as we’re experiencing in the US Mid-Atlantic states as I type this post.”

    You have to be kidding me… Bitter is meant to dismiss women? How is bitter used exclusively toward women, do you have any statistics to back this up? Personally, I hear women using it much more than men, and it’s a way for anyone to politely describe someone as the above. Would you rather your husband call you “fucking bitch”? Would that be less offensive than “bitter” to you? What’s the real deal here? You are looking for things to complain about, and this is a stretch to be anything of real substance considering there is no real merit or base in anything you’re saying here. The MOLESTATION issue seems to be a misunderstanding, because no one with a soul would defend anyone in that situation, and he said that he didn’t know enough to speak to it. His grandmother plainly was bitter, and if you put context to the use there then there shouldn’t be any way that it should be construed as offensive.

    In the modern world we are in a vast matriarchal society. Even that dickhead Obama probably has his balls in Michelle’s vicegrip. Not to mention, sex equality initiatives have driven women into many of the most powerful positions in America today both in the business world, and in politics… btw, I don’t have a problem with this. The problem with any church is its almost always going to be male dominated given the inherent hierarchy, but to throw all of society into that same basket and generalize the term “bitter” as a term used by men to dismiss women is nothing short of idiotic and narrow minded. You are obviously of the mindset that the men are always going to be out to get you, but you’re wrong. Maybe instead of finding a topic to be “bitter” about, you should sit back and appreciate everything that your husband does to you, because he probably appreciates you much more than you appreciate him.

    The problem with today’s society is that EVERYTHING is offensive, and you’re a perpetrator of progressing that mindset. You would trade “Fuck” for “Bitter” being offensive when you really shouldn’t be offended by any sort of generalized terminology. People should be offended by actions rather than words. Its Christian to be forgiving, and to not be easily offended, and to make an effort not to offend anyone. Why should you feel the need to offend those close minded individuals, and on top of that why would you feel the need to create a new stigma that offends you? If everyone just had some situational awareness and made an effort to be considerate, the world would be a lot better off.

  8. Keith, your post is supporting my hypothesis.

  9. Omg, you just explained to me why I hate this word! I knew I did and wasn’t sure why. I’ve had it directed at me a few times and found it confusing. How would I be seen as bitter if I’ve done a lot of forgiving and just want to stop what happened to me from happening to others? Is bitter a code word for “shut up and stop talking about the issue and/or demanding any changes?”

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