You know what the “B” word used to be? The worst thing you could call a woman, the put down you would resort to when you wanted to make sure she — and everyone in earshot or reading it in an email, letter or any other format — knew that you were showing her zero respect.
It is an insult that originated in the 14th century that was meant to compare women to female dogs in heat, “bitch” meant something serious.
Know what the word “B” word appears to mean today to the Mayor of Portsmouth Jim Kalb? A noun to describe the former mayor.
Last week, the Daily Times reported that the same member of Portsmouth City Council who once, in his evaluation of Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen, suggested he get a prescription for Viagra, used the “B” word in an email referring to former Portsmouth Mayor Jane Murray.
In an email dated Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, and addressed to all members of Portsmouth City Council, City Clerk Diana Ratliff, City Solicitor John Haas, City Auditor Trent Williams and Wastewater Director Rick Duncan and obtained in a public records request by the Daily Times, current Portsmouth Mayor Jim Kalb writes: “I know that most of you don’t even want to acknowledge her with a reply, but the bitch lies…”
No matter what excuse Kalb has for writing his email to city officials, it is unacceptable and unprofessional.
The mayor should understand as an elected official, if he does use the word, it is a vile, horrible insult. He may be mad, upset and in total disagreement with the former mayor, and may even believe she lies, but it is still unprofessional and is not what should be accepted by an elected official.
Even if he used his private email account to do it, he sent the email to city officials, which makes it public record. The email talked about city business, so the email should have been written in a professional manner.
He used the derogatory word, along with the other lowest way you can insult a woman, by saying she was “ugly (literally).” Kalb may have been furious, but this was not the email rant of the out-of-control, it was a determined way to put down a women who he believed had wronged him in some way and lied.
The mayor, and others using this derogatory word, need to stop pretending it’s a casual term. We need to remember that it is the last thing you’d want someone to call your mother. Or your sister. Or you.
We need to stop accepting sexism and calling it slang. And then, we maybe need to stop using it altogether.
Fred Pace is the editor of the Daily Times in Portsmouth. He can be reached by calling 740-353-3101, ext. 1927, and follow him on Twitter @fcpace62.