Guest blog by Emily Kennerk of BITCHSTIX 

Whether I am at a networking event, calling for tech support or at the post office, it’s always a double take when they ask the company name. Wait, what did you say? Did I hear you correctly? Let’s just say I have done a lot of explaining over the past few years.

In 2015, BITCHSTIX was named and created from a small idea with a big mission: to support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Bitch is a tough word. The etymology of the word simply began with the designation of a female dog. During the 20th century, the meaning of word evolved having several connotations; a pejorative term for both men and women, one of empowerment and even a term of endearment. We hear the word “bitch” and all of its’ forms in the media, from sitcoms, reality shows and yes, the Westminster Dog Show. So why is it still so shocking, questioned and sometimes offensive?

Over my years of being a human, teaching and a lot of listening, I have begun to understand the immense power of shame and it’s ability to silence and oppress masterfully. As much as the word “bitch” has been neutralized, it is still a popular shame name, and we all know that feeling of shame. Maybe it’s not the word that needs to change, but our personal relationship to shame. What if we change our relationship to navigating shame, rather than letting it silence us?

It is said that the importance of naming something is to make it real and identifiable, as well as having the ability to be something that can be discussed.

BITCHSTIX: the name always starts a conversation. Be Courageous. Speak Up.

To learn more about Emily Kennerk and BITCHSTIX, listen to Episode 91.