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TFB

Due to the sensitive nature of this piece, we’ve redacted certain language. This blog post is not suitable for children and probably chauvinists while we’re at it. To read the uncensored piece, click the read more link.

This past Sunday was International Women’s Day, for over 80 years, March 8th has been a day to █████ women, to celebrate how far we’ve come and acknowledge how much farther we ████████. My daughter, who is now 25, had a ██████ with me about the word “███████████,” how when she was younger she felt it was harsh and stigmatized, how she didn’t like to ██████████ herself a feminist until her 20s.

It made me think of college, where we slung the term “feminist” around like people do “dude.” We were all feminists and loudly, proudly so. My daughter’s previous ███████ at “feminist” also reminded me of my college moniker, “█████ ████████ ████████” (TFB). A lot of people may find the name rude or inappropriate, but I find it as apt and accurate in 2015 as it was in 1975. I am French and yes, I am a ███████, well a ███████in the patriarchal interpretation of the word. Understand that the name was given to me at ████████████ and that my friends were well aware of the ironies. They called me TFB because I was an honest friend, open about my opinions (even if they were unpopular) and perhaps a bit ███████████.

As ███████, we fear that which is “harsh” (I think we often conflate strength and resolve for grittiness), the identities or adjectives that separate us from our ██████████. I don’t mind TFB because I am one and proudly so. I am not only unwilling to accept sub par work and I will tell you it is sub par. I will not let my ███████ colleagues talk over me in a meeting. I have little patience for ████████ or laziness. And, as any woman can tell you, these traits in a man would have him lauded for excellent leadership: a clear and honest communicator, a confident ██████████████ and a hard worker with exceptionally high standards.

But I am a █████, and therefore in order to be everything a male counterpart is, I must be a “███████.”

I will not allow the boring (patriarchal) laws of “female decency” to █████ my personality. I am proud of the work I have accomplished, I am proud of the firm I have built and I am proud of the ██████ that I am. And if that makes me a ███████, then so be it.

 The French Bitch

This past Sunday was International Women’s Day, for over 80 years, March 8th has been a day to herald women, to celebrate how far we’ve come and acknowledge how much farther we need to go. My daughter, who is now 25, had a discussion with me about the word “feminist,” how when she was younger she felt it was harsh and stigmatized, how she didn’t like to call herself a feminist until her 20s.

It made me think of college, where we slung the term “feminist” around like people do “dude.” We were all feminists and loudly, proudly so. My daughter’s previous reticence at “feminist” also reminded me of my college moniker, “The French Bitch” (TFB). A lot of people may find the name rude or inappropriate, but I find it as apt and accurate in 2015 as it was in 1975. I am French and yes, I am a bitch, well a bitch in the patriarchal interpretation of the word. Understand that the name was given to me at Wellesley College and that my friends were well aware of the ironies. They called me TFB because I was an honest friend, open about my opinions (even if they were unpopular) and perhaps a bit cantankerous.

As women, we fear that which is “harsh” (I think we often conflate strength and resolve for grittiness), the identities or adjectives that separate us from our femininity. I don’t mind TFB because I am one and proudly so. I am not only unwilling to accept sub par work and I will tell you it is sub par. I will not let my male colleagues talk over me in a meeting. I have little patience for incompetence or laziness. And, as any woman can tell you, these traits in a man would have him lauded for excellent leadership: a clear and honest communicator, a confident professional and a hardworker with exceptionally high standards. But I am a woman, and therefore in order to be everything a male counterpart is, I must be a “bitch.”

I will not allow the boring (patriarchal) laws of “female decency” to quell my personality. I am proud of the work I have accomplished, I am proud of the firm I have built and I am proud of the person that I am. And if that makes me a bitch, then so be it.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Joanna Rice #

    As clever and relevant as ever, Anne!

    March 12, 2015

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