I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “bitches” in the world of roller derby. I often hear (not so much in my league, but online and generally by a younger crowd) phrases like “I’m going to push some bitches down at practice tonight” or “that bitch blocked Demanda Riot so hard in the last bout
”. I’m all for reclaiming words, we are an empowered community of athletes who don’t take shit from anyone and if we want to turn a word that normally belittles our population* (and that of half the worlds population) around and use it for our positive expression I’m all for that, I just don’t think “bitch” is that word…at all.
We are tough women*, we push our physical and mental limits often and grow together doing something we love. We are a family, we are sisters.
It’s taken a lot of work to get the sport to where it is now, respected as a feat of athleticism, an unstaged event, something that is worthy of supporting. Despite how positive derby has become in the eyes of society it’s still sexualized like none other (the ripped fishnet image, you know what I’m referring to). I feel like our use of the word “bitches” puts down our peers who we are trying to lift up (and do lift up in every other way).
Derby is one of the few places I can consider myself a feminist just by doing. In other areas (specifically surrounding academia at college) feminism is something you talk about. Discourse is passed off as action. When I am skating I feel that my relationship with my teammates perpetuates feminism more than any conversation I could be having. Putting that relationship on display is providing a positive role modeling of how I think women should be with one another: compassionate, tough, empowering. Why then, do we bring ourselves down by throwing around the word “bitch”?.
I would love to spark a conversation with this post. Please respond (even if you think I’m just arguing semantics I would love to hear your opinion).
*trans inclusive, of course.