Taco Bitch

Ottawa XPress, January 20, 2005

For a woman to tout the achievements of her gender with praise and admiration does not mean automatically she’s a feminist. And, far from being a judgmental anti-feminist, when one female points out another female’s shortcomings – such as cheating on a boyfriend or maybe dressing inappropriately for winter – she’s not suppressing women’s freedom to choose how they want to live their lives.

But are women really doing each other a disservice when they call each other “bitches” or “tarts”? After all, men don’t seem to get reprimanded when they “discredit” their gender by labelling an unfaithful guy a “prick” or calling a stylie dude a dim-witted metrosexual.

When it comes to voicing an opinion against a member of your gender, however unpolished, you may be doing them a favour.

Come with me to a women’s studies class. It’s 1993 and we’re at the University of Ottawa where I decided to try out the program. The course: psychology of women.

The topic: differences between men and women’s attitudes to domestic duties. The piss off: a barrage of wives bitching about their husbands’ lack of initiative with chores.

The outcome: me storming out of the class to bitch them out over the telephone to my boyfriend, who does his chores.

Consider how you would feel being 19 years old with a superb male partner, listening to all this professor-endorsed blather from older women about how shitty guys are. What a letdown. Even if it was the truth in some cases, I thought a psychology of women course would enlighten as to the fundamental differences between the sexes instead of reinforce a negative stereotype that bonds some ladies together with comedic anecdotal glue. Count me out.

“I leave a Dorito next to the toilet bowl, on the floor,” said one woman proudly, as others supported with fits of laughter this woman’s fascinating explanation of how she lures her husband into the bathroom to alert him that it needs some Lysol action.

I couldn’t figure out what was more idiotic, her, her husband, or the class. Can you imagine a psychology of men class promoting a similar vibe: “I leave a Toblerone and an Oprah magazine next to the telephone, far away from my super-deluxe gas BBQ.” Presumably to shut her up, keep her busy and out of his hair for a change.

I’ll never tolerate women who pick on men or, women who pick on the women who refuse to go along. For some, there is much comfort in sisterhood. For others, it’s about the peoplehood.

Class dismissed.


Cheers to on-line readers’ responses to last week’s “Bravetarts” column, responses which filled some holes that Shotgun left behind in targeting inappropriate dressers in arctic Ottawa. D’Janau Morales recollected famously the entertainment value of the one-piece snowsuit days: “If it was too damn hot for the snow pants, you’d just kind of wear the jacket part and the legs would flop around dragging on the snow. And did anyone say anything? Nope, but that’s only because you were five years old and everyone was much too entertained by that kid who ate glue.”

Valerie Augier reminded us about the magic of winter activities in Gatineau Park while Ger Madden considered the ramifications to the health care system when someone skips dressing responsibly for winter: “Think through your stupidity that when you do freeze something off, you will have to go to the hospital and receive treatment paid by mine and everyone else’s tax dollars.” Mr. Madden also smartly pointed out that improper dress is a genes, not gender, issue as did Kelly Martel and then James Harbinson, who ordered me out of my women’s studies class, off my high horse, and to realize men are just as vain and insecure as women when it comes to dressing for winter.

On that note then, sorry I didn’t mention the $800 leather coat-wearing non-winter ready Mr. Cool contingent. I was likely too busy checking out the thin-soled Converse, tuqued garage rocker boys in the tight $15 leather jackets, and scowling at their good-looking girlfriends as they tripped over potholes in their heels.


Did you hear the one about the doctor refusing to care for a sick woman as she began to undress at a Hull hospital? The doctor asked Cynthia Cousens to leave while she was still plugged up to an EKG monitor, wearing a full IV and heavily sedated on morphine for undiagnosed pain. In the background, nurses and orderlies giggled that Ms. Cousens, an active member of the Canadian Forces Reserves and retired police officer, is really a Mister (Capital Xtra, December 2, 2004).

Become a Trans Ally. Learn more about transphobia and violence against the trans community at the Trans Ally Workshop at Carleton University on Tuesday January 25. Join Queer activists Sarah Lamble and Jonah Marcovitz for an interactive introductory discussion on trans issues from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Room 132, Azrieli Pavilion. The event is presented by the Carleton lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer caucus.


The submissive waitress, the lone diner, or the disengaged couple-check out Are You Being Served?, an art exhibit by Karen Bailey, at Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue, until January 28.

– Sylvie Hill