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Kimberly Blessing

Unspoken expectations don’t work

1 min read

Unspoken expectations don’t work. Then again, some expectations, when communicated, may just go a bit too far.

If you don’t care about the French toast, then perhaps you don’t care about anything is my train of thought on the matter, and if you don’t care about anything, then working for me doesn’t seem feasible, as I have an insatiable desire to be surrounded by people who care as much as I do.

Stanley Kubrick, Some Instructions to the New Guy Concerning the Preparation and Presentation of My French Toast

Kimberly Blessing

The B-Word

2 min read

Ah, the b-word: bitch.

It's a word I don't use much, if at all. I gave up the noun form completely a few years ago, and the verb form only comes out every once in a while, mostly in reference to myself.

I refuse to use the b-word to describe another person, especially another woman and especially in a leadership context. And I object to hearing others -- male or female -- use the word, since it's so often dispensed with the very same properties that the speaker is attributing to the person being described: malice and spite. The b-word is a hateful, hurtful word, and I wish it could be cleansed from our vocabularies.

But since it's clearly going to stick around, it might as well be redefined. I recently read Andi Zeisler's definition of the b-word, and if everyone understood it to mean thus, I might just use it:

Bitch is a word we use culturally to describe any woman who is strong, angry, uncompromising and, often, uninterested in pleasing men. We use the term for a woman on the street who doesn't respond to men's catcalls or smile when they say, "Cheer up, baby, it can't be that bad." We use it for the woman who has a better job than a man and doesn't apologize for it. We use it for the woman who doesn't back down from a confrontation.

I know a number of women that fit the above far better than they could ever fit the dictionary definition of the b-word. Still, I'll refrain from using it since I'm bound to be misunderstood. However, if I catch someone else using it, I've now got some great material to quote to help them understand what I hear them saying.