Can We Just Stop Saying Bitch on Stage Already?
I am legit over men using the word bitch to women on stage. Hell, even to each other. Those who watch me play know I have no problem getting raunchy, dirty, and have few if any personal boundaries on stage. Even so, I'm over hearing men call women bitches.
It's a charged word. It has a lot of history and there is no equivlant for a man. Especially a white CIS man. I've gone through a lot of words and I can't come up with one that steals power and belittles a man in the way that being called a bitch does. Especially on stage.
Improv has problems and one of them is representation. Slowly, very slowly, it is changing. This is one of those changes. We need to speak up when it happens. Performers, indie troupes, theater cast teams, classrooms, and institutions need to do their part to make this happen. Have conversations about why it's not acceptable. Teachers don't allow it in the classroom. Artistic Directors make it a point to figure it out so it's not going on in shows.
I stop scenes in class. I tell people when they use it why it's not okay. I've also reached the point that when on stage, I'll leave a scene. Everyone has the power and should know they have the power to leave a scene. Who cares if it messes your flow or format? Instead, be more concerned that you aren't playing with people who understand their privilege and power and want to use it for change versus an easy laugh at the expense of someone else.
If we are to treat our partners like rock stars, then it should be obvious that calling a woman a bitch is the opposite of rock star.
It can be hard to speak up, especially if you are not a gatekeeper. It's important and better to lose stage time in the short term then continue a cycle of disproportionate power in the long run.
Let's make a pact. Let's work together. Together we are stronger!