Yesha Callahan

Who You Callin’ A Bitter Woman?

I find it interesting when the minute a woman complains about past or current relationships in a manner that another person doesn’t deem positive, they’re automatically labeled “bitter”.  It’s actually similar to someone who expresses their dislike of an entertainer and they’re automatically called a “hater”.  Not every woman has the same experiences with relationships, and if every relationship was a positive one, there would be no need for these so-called relationship experts.

In a recent women’s group I participate in, two women got into a heated discussion about misogyny and relationships. Eventually one woman called another woman bitter. The Women’s Study professor that was leading the group, immediately addressed the name calling. She first stated that she was  shocked that an  adult would resort to name calling. Once she finished that rant,  she basically told her to refer to another woman as being bitter because of her past relationship challenges, was looming close to being misogynistic. The room came to a complete silence.  I’ve always said some women can be more misogynistic than men, at least I wasn’t the only one to think that.

Although, I didn’t necessarily agree on the point of misogyny in this instance, I understood what the professor was trying to say. No one’s life experiences are ever going to be the same. Not only does this include women, but men as well. To point the finger at someone and say they’re bitter, not only devalues a person’s experiences, but it makes the finger pointer look a little childish. Everyone has a story to tell, especially when it comes to relationships. Just because that story may not be paved with gold, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bitter.

  1. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    1)Proceeding from or exhibiting strong animosity: a bitter struggle; bitter foes.

    2)Resulting from or expressive of severe grief, anguish, or disappointment: cried bitter tea

    I don’t think the actual word is the problem. It’s the way we use the word to pigeon hole people( especailly women) when it comes to expressing their truths and experiences. I think lately with the whole ” relationship expert craze” the word is thrown around like chicken poxs in a kindergarten classroom. It’s a ” cash ” word .

    Instead of just using it as a descriptive word , we try to guilt women with it , try to make them feel like their wrong for feeling that way, when in fact they have the right to feel how ever they want to, and that doesn’t make them wrong ( and no not every woman’s negative feelings towards a relationship experience falls under this category, but if it does , so be it , that’s her feelings and she has a right to that.)

  2. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    My grandmother went through hell with my grandfather, yet she can tell the stories with grace and forgiveness….My aunt on the other hand has also been through her share of hell and sees everyone through the lens of her experiences..this is bitterness to me, seeing everyone through the lens of your hurt and pain and developing a harshness and cynical view towards people….people who had nothing to do with your experience or past.

  3. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    I like that the Prof called out the other woman for calling her classmate bitter! I think when you call someone bitter you are like Smilez_920 said putting them in a ” pigeon hole people( especially women)”. It is unfair and messed up that I or any other woman can not seem to express anger at a former situation without being deemed bitter. I say the only time you can call me bitter is if I actual acknowledge and say ” I feel bitter about X Y Z”. Other than that don’t! I might just be letting out steam about a situation but I will be getting over it. Or I understand if someone is taking unhealthy actions and you may want to say something to them like this is starting to make you unhealthy..but don’t say bitter…its like calling someone a B***h. The reaction will be strong and not necessarily what you intended.

  4. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    I too hate how that word is thrown around so quickly.
    Don’t forget “crazy”..LOL bout to go read the snob’s post.

  5. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    Great article. Real Talk (as I heard my 5 yr old nephew say) this is how black women look @ me everyday.

  6. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    That is ‘Black Twitter’ at work.

  7. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    I will admit it. I have called women bitter in the past and then I felt guilty about it. I felt guilty because I have experienced pain and I could relate. Often times; when we see anger in action, it is coming from a place of hurt and frustration. We refer to these ladies as being bitter. This could be a misinterpreted.

    On the other hand, I do have a former friend (now associate), who I cannot help but describe as bitter. Her comments toward others are very harsh and her facial expressions convey jealousy. She may say one thing, but you could tell she was thinking something different. Events had become too draining so I had to eventually change the course of our relationship. I do believe some women as well as men can come off as bitter.

  8. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    @ Lady P there are those who have allowed bitter roots to sprout but mostly that word is misused and abused

  9. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    Stop acting like black women are the only ones having relationship problems. YES YOU ARE BITTER ENOUGH

    • October 26, 2012 - Reply


      Hi. Have we met?

      A) The professor leading the discussion was a white woman
      B) 85% of the ppl in the discussion were white women
      C) I never mentioned black women.

  10. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    Like Dave Chapelle once said, and I paraphrase: Don’t call people crazy, it’s dismissive…Just like calling them bitter, or a hater. People call each other these names when they don’t understand them or their experience. If you don’t agree, just say so. If you don’t understand, just say so. But to call someone bitter, or any other term meant to judge or belittle a person or their experience, is dismissive and childish.

    • October 26, 2012 - Reply


      Best comment that sums everything up! Personally, I come to hate the word “bitter” because of its clear misuse especially towards women because it negates an experience/viewpoint and stops a discussion. Every time you state something these days that goes against the grain or has affected you deeply and you talk about it to get it off your chest then it is “stop being bitter, you sound bitter, etc.” True there are folks out there who ARE truly bitter but that’s not everyone. People have the right to speak their piece; whether you understand it or agree with it or not is another story.

  11. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    It’s only “bitterness” if it’s constant complaining without working towards resolving the issue OR blaming current situations due to the past, holding on to the past. Gotta know the difference.

    But I wouldn’t call them bitter….they just won’t hear from me for awhile, LOL

  12. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    Calling another woman, or person “bitter” is NOT name calling, let’s get it together ma pippoz! That’s just RIDONC!

    • October 26, 2012 - Reply

      @African Mami

      Thank you!!! Letting someone know that their behavior is unacceptable is not name calling…no one wants to be around a bitter person…it is draining…if one of my friends is bitter, I am going to let her know so that she can recognize the behavior and try to change accordingly…I would expect and have received the same from my friends….the bitterness that exudes from people is unacceptable at some point.

      • October 26, 2012 - Reply

        @Ms. Information

        Hey girl!!

        Our pippoz are dramatic. Damn!

      • October 29, 2012 - Reply

        @Ms. Information

        Bitterness is subjective though. Some people are called this by others who have wronged them and the offendoing party just does not want to face up to what they did.

    • October 26, 2012 - Reply

      @African Mami

      Thank you AM, for speaking the truth.

  13. October 26, 2012 - Reply

    I thought the teacher over reacted too because some ppl are bitter . Just like some ppl are happy, sad , mad etc …

  14. October 28, 2012 - Reply

    Really, See black women want to be untouchable when it comes to criticism and it is troubling to know that not only do black women refuse to listen to constructive criticism and are uncompromising because they think compromising is a female trait, but to try and always want to be immune to a problem that needs to be addressed is ridiculous!

    If you are bitter then, yes, you have a bad attitude and if you are overweight then you need to exercise!

    Soon, it will be offensive to call black women, “women”!

  15. October 28, 2012 - Reply

    Black women call any black man who complains about anything concerning women bitter, without any consideration of the merit of the complaint

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