But one thing did stick out in my mind. She mentioned feeling "bitchy" when dealing with her tough MIL.
First, I want to talk a tiny, little bit about that word: bitch.
What a word, huh? Lots of history, lots of cultural meaning, lots of changes and attempts to reclaim it recently. But to being with, I'm going to borrow from an article that Andi Zeisler, co-founder of Bitch magazine, wrote for the Washington Post. She wrote:
So let's not be disingenuous. Is it a bad word? Of course it is. As a culture, we've done everything possible to make sure of that, starting with a constantly perpetuated mindset that deems powerful women to be scary, angry and, of course, unfeminine -- and sees uncompromising speech by women as anathema to a tidy, well-run world.
Sure, sometimes people are actually being bitchy (aka jerks), but I'd say most of the time when I hear that word, it is simply being used on a female who is not playing along with prescribed gender roles that say women should be quiet, soft, gentle, forgiving, please others, passive, or whatever other bullcrap. Women are bitches when they act like men and that is dangerous territory that makes patriarchy very uncomfortable. So how handy to have a nice little word to shut down those types of unruly women!
And how well it has stuck. I know for myself personally that I often feel wary of being bitchy. At work when I need to get something from someone and they aren't getting it done... or while planning a wedding and dealing with demanding family members. I'm always aware that I may be stepping out of the "soft, gentle, passive, feminine" realm and into the "bitchy" realm and I tread lightly. No one wants to be labeled a bitch, but I definitely do not want to live my life in a passive manner either.
I'm still learning how to navigate this issue for all the variety of situations*, but I wanted to share a nice little method I've come up with to avoid feeling bitchy (and hopefully to avoid being labeled bitchy) while wedding planning.
I call it my Bridal Veto. Unsolicited advice that just won't quit? Bridal veto! Way too many varying and stubborn opinions? Bridal veto!
On almost every wedding decision, we've had differing opinions from both our parents. I always try to be gentle first and let them down easy, but often that just isn't enough. They start debating and arguing - and I start trying to debate back, giving them all our justifications, reasoning, or whatever defense I can throw at em. At a certain point, though, debate has to stop and decisions have to be made, and sometimes things just aren't up for debate at all.
That's when we need to be able to say no and stop worrying about being bitchy.** Saying "Bridal veto!" is one way I've found to remind others that hey! I'm the bride! This is our wedding! and we get the final say! Thanks for your ideas, input and suggestions, but you have all been denied by the Bridal Veto.
And so far everyone has responded to Bridal Vetos way better than just me laying down the law. ... What am I going to do after the wedding when my Bridal Veto has run out!? Actually deal with people!? WHA!?
Peace out, holmes.
*It doesn't help that Minnesotans are notoriously passive anyway. We are always saying kinda, sorta, maybe, I think and never giving full, firm statements that may get us in trouble later. Some call it Minnesota Nice, but its I kinda think its maybe, sorta Minnesota Passive.
**Its silly that we should feel bitchy for taking control of our own weddings. That is not fair to put on ourselves.
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