We get it. Our name ain’t the usual run-of-the-mill moniker you’d expect for a charitable organisation. We did that on purpose – we’re not run-of-the-mill people. And neither is what we’ve set out to achieve: making the world a little less shitty for people having a tough time.
So we called our little social enterprise Good Bitches Baking. Most people love it, but we understand it strikes a nerve for others, and we want to explain why we’re not backing down from it.
To us, calling someone a good bitch is high praise. It packs a whole lot more punch than "you’re a nice person" and it implies action, hard work and even humility. Put simply, a good bitch is someone who just goes about getting stuff done, no mucking around.
We know for a fact that our name has played a critical role in the extraordinary growth we’ve seen since the day we first put out a tentative post on Facebook. "Marie and Nic’s Baking Circle" just wasn’t gonna cut it.
Despite our best explanation, it continues to offend some people. We’ve no plans to change our name or our brand, but we do want people to examine why they’re so offended, and to perhaps reconsider their thinking.
Us Kiwis are quite fond of calling men "good bastards" or "good buggers" when they’ve done something kind or generous. Ask your grandma, these used to be equally impactful swears.
So why not "good bitch"?
When you take a look at the history of swearing (a fascinating subject and well worth a few hours on google), you’ll discover that most swear words (when used as an insult) were originally used by the powerful as a means of control over people.
Take "bugger" for example. Did you know that it was first used as an insult during the 13th century crusades against the people of Provence and Northern Italy because they sympathised with the victims and praised them for their moral purity? The Catholic clergy launched a vilifying campaign against them, calling them buggers and associating them with unorthodox sexual practices.
It was about control.
Same goes for "bitch". You can find an interesting (if American-centric) history of the word here: http://clarebayley.com/2011/06/bitch-a-history/.
Long story short, the rise in popularity of the insult against women rose to popularity during the 20s, right around the time the American suffrage movement were making serious inroads into equality.
LOTS of suffragettes were called bitches by male politicians and journalists alike. Again, it was a word that gained popularity thanks to a desire to control these outspoken women.
If you want to take the sting out of these words, it’s easy – you claim them back. You turn the insult on its head and you get the next generation to associate positive things with these words, so they can’t be used in anger.
You don’t have to be a woman to be good bitch, and you don’t have to apologise for being one, either.
So being a good bitch isn’t a bad thing. To paraphrase both Tina Fey and Madonna, "Bitches get stuff done".
Good Bitches Baking’s mission is to make like a little bit nicer for the sad, the vulnerable, the ill, the homeless and countless others having a tough time. A growing army of good bitches are working with us to achieve that that goal.
And isn’t that bloody marvellous?