Phase Two of our harassment research
studied (1) the general
use of "bitch" (and "bastard") since
"classic bitch" was
allegedly used to describe the female
reporter, and (2) the
image of the NFL player. Our intent
was not to exonerate an
individual or team, but to understand
the general reactions,
which were mixed on (1) and mostly
negative on (2).
Words are symbols which can lose
their meaning through common
use. This is the greatest threat
to comedian George Carlin's
skit, "Seven Words That You Can't
Say On TV". But, if Frank
Perdue is correct in claiming that
we are what we consume,
then we must be becoming "bitches"
and "bastards," for we are
consuming more of these words lately.
On cable TV these
words are so common as to be unremarkable;
on the networks,
their use is growing. So, calls were
placed into NBC, ABC,
CBS and FCC to understand their "appropriate"
use of "bitch"
At ABC TV, the use of "bitch" and
"bastard" are handled on a
case by case basis which depends
upon the character,
situation, audience expectation (which
is determined through
a pilot) and show. Not every show
is reviewed. "Bitch" and
"bastard" are seldom, if ever, used
between 8-9 pm; rarely
used between 9-10 pm; and used on
a case by case situation
between 10-11 pm. At NBC, the matter
seems more fluid; there
are no hard and fast rules. The use
of the words is based
on audience expectation with the
time slot and the longevity
of the show being considered. CBS
did not return our call.
With two thirds of the major networks
situational propriety, the viewing
public can expect
increased situations as one network
competes with the
others... all of which compete with
Americans are capricious in their
assessments of an
individual. Still, we establish them
as other symbols.
Lyndon Johnson, honcho of the 1964
Civil Rights legislation
which made this article probable,
pulled the ears of his pet
dog and the country called him "abusive."
"womanized" in the White House (built
and maintained by
taxpayers) and we confer "great leader"
upon him by naming
public and private facilities after
What people think or eventually will
think of Victor Kiam
will start to become known this holiday
season. Whether they
boycott his company because he allegedly
used "classic bitch"
to describe a woman reporter is a
personal issue and not the
point of this research. The questions
to which our research
lead are, "If these people feel so
strongly about the word,
should they not feel as strongly
toward the other sponsors of
networks shows which support their
use. And secondly, "If it
is inappropriate for a corporate
leader or any other person
to use such words today, will it
be any different 10 to 15
years from now when the teenagers
who are watching TV now are
in ownership/managerial positions?"
And since the Virginia Slims slogan
has been used as a
section title elsewhere, might we
also question the use of
the word "baby" in their slogan,
"You've come a long way,
Baby." How different is this "baby"
from the "Hey Baby,"
reportedly heard in locker rooms.
If it is, how much so to
the ears of young people not aware
of gender sensitivities.
Finally, is the advocacy of smoking
a cigarette as "coming a
long way" the correct message that
women wish to have in the
sponsorship of a women's professional
There is more to boycott than just
the current affronts.
"We but teach bloody instructions,
taught, return to plague their inventor."