Why the bitches always win

The bitches always win in real life, Jane Austen knew it, Charlotte Bronte and Daphne Du Maurier knew it, in fact it’s usually the sensitive female author who recognises what is really going on. In real life it is the Blanche Ingrams, the Mrs Van Hoppers, the Miss Bingleys and the Lucy Steeles who win in the end. There are exceptions but in real life most men seem to love bitches. In my experience the majority seem to mistake their bitchy humour for wit and intellect – yet the humour invariably relies a very different energy centre.

In real life the Mrs Van Hoppers usually win the day

“I noticed one way they worked to rise above others was by shattering the self-confidence of the other people around them. Making them believe their ideas were stupid, or they could never do anything right.” (Examiner website) Photo is of Mrs Van Hopper in Hitchcock’s adaptation of Rebecca.

I Googled “The Bitches Always Win” and immediately came across an article on the Examiner website http://www.examiner.com/article/the-bitch-always-wins

“I noticed one way they worked to rise above others was by shattering the self-confidence of the other people around them. Making them believe their ideas were stupid, or they could never do anything right.”

I’ve come across a woman like this in recent situation. She ridicules what I say and do, makes snide remarks about my makeup and clothes, ridicules my very presence; makes me feel stupid for volunteering for jobs she had originally suggested etc. Yet she herself rises to the highest in power and glory, knocking others from their places as she does so.

In Rebecca, Jane Eyre and most of Jane Austen’s books we see the gentle honourable and intelligent heroine win. These are literally novels for this reason, they are extraordinary “novel” situations, and my argument for their success would be that the bitch situation is one that is universally recognised but never fully acknowledged (by men).  As the article says, women frequently discuss such characters behind their backs, but fear often prevents direct confrontation. Are men scared too?

Until women have a substantial canon of literary / cultural history (there are numerous films which touch upon the subject, but words eviscerate like no other medium!) to develop the themes of “the bitch” those two faced, lying, unscrupulous women, who repeatedly push the so called “weaker” women aside, will men fully understand the shadow side behind these women and the devastation they leave behind them, or the inner strength of the so called “weak” women they dismiss.  We might take Chaucer as one of the earliest literary caricaturists of English men and women; he wrote in the 1300s and a male literary tradition of “character” study has evolved since. Jane Austen started something equally perceptive from a female point of view at the end of the 1700s, so perhaps we might have a sufficient canon of female literature in four hundred years on which to draw upon.

Interestingly Jane Austen’s most successful male/female couplings are based upon relationships of mutual respect, of a romantic friendship which echoes Mary Wollstonecraft’s idea that the basis for a happy marriage was one based upon friendship rather than any particular sexual etc power struggle. These days sex frequently precedes the getting to know you bit, and so those bonds are formed before a relationship has properly developed, so relationships are based upon instinctual animal tendencies (there is a reason the dominatrix figures so strongly in our culture). When I was at Glasgow in the 1990s the poet Philip Hobsbaum said in one of his lectures that the genitals have more nerve endings than any other part of the body apart from the brain – so when you have sexual intercourse you lock into one another’s central nervous systems and thousands of infinitesimal unconscious bonds, neural electrical connections are made between you both, in brain and body. So it is little wonder that there are so many failed marriages as so many are bonded through sexual intercourse in instinctual ways they cannot possibly understand, without the basis of mutual respect and friendship at the foundation of their relationship.  The bitches will inevitably win in this instinctual power / possession game. At the moment we seem to regard selfishness, the assertion of power and self propulsion as “strength”, (see my blog post on Ethical Egoism) but personally I still believe in truth and integrity – the inner strength not necessarily defined by success – as well as Chaucer’s much lauded gentilesse, and pray for a revolution for the kinder sorts and many honourable happy endings worthy of Jane Austen.

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