thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Rebound: Shall we receive GCB?

In GCB, gender, Rebound on March 6, 2012 at 7:58 am

Rebound is a new short-form GLG column that seeks to respond to, critique, and ask questions about current media events and affairs. –Phoebe & Sarah T.

Phoebe B.

On Sunday night, GCB premiered on ABC following the network’s self-proclaimed original “it girls,” the desperate housewives. GCB is one of two new shows that invoke, but do not proclaim, the word “bitch” in their title. The other show being, Don’t Trust the B— in apartment 23.

the ladies of GCB

GCB is all about post-high school mean girls in Dallas, TX and the grudges these ladies carry.* GCB seemingly revels in and produces humor via women being cruel to other women and reliving the icky cliques of high school. And, it is all about women competing for, and being paranoid about losing, their men—a narrative that always pits women against each other and blames women for the choices men make. The use of “B” as a stand-in for “bitch” in the title seems to suggest that the show revels in, and glamorizes, this mean behavior. Indeed, behaving like a “bitch” is seemingly the bread and butter of GCB.

However, the title’s juxtaposition of “Good Christian” with “bitches” suggests the underlying, and humorous, tension of the show. Indeed, the pilot pokes fun at the not-so-Christian undercurrents of this church community. For example, one of the most pious characters secretly owns a Hooters style bar, but she chastises one of the other ladies for working there (before her ownership is publicly revealed that is). And in this way, the show is quite funny and aptly timed—given Christian groups self-proclaimed righteousness and current attacks, in the name of Jesus, on women’s health and LGBTQQI teens. So, I see the point of the title and I like the juxtaposition of good and bad within it. But, I worry and I wonder about the invocation and use of the word “bitch.”

Underneath these ladies’ Southern charm and lots of sparkly accessories is a whole lot of mean–a fact indicated by the title of the show. This is not all to say that I didn’t enjoy the GCB pilot (I do love Kristin Chenoweth). In fact, I am oddly intrigued, confused, and little wary of it. What I like is the show seemingly pokes fun at white and wealthy Southern Evangelical culture. What I don’t like, really, is mobilizing “Bitch” in the title, but then again I have never really appreciated the ways in which “bitch” is casually used in conversations between women. And, GCB doesn’t seem to be doing the feminist reclaiming of the word in the way that Bitch Magazine does.

But, what say you GLG readers? Does this bother you too? Why or why not?

*Aside: GCB is pretty much the dramatic version of Big, Rich, Texas and BRT is definitely also a show about mean girls and the ins and outs of wealthy, white, and Christian Texas culture.

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