Valentine’s weekend, I got bitch-slapped by Facebook – a digital smack across
my female indie filmmaker face – and all because of one word: “bitch.”
A few weeks
ago, I released my second film, the horror comedy “Crazy Bitches,” which tells of a
weekend getaway with friends that turns bloody when, one by one, they are killed
by their own vanity. On the surface it is a fast, fun ride with interesting women
characters, but underneath it is an examination of friendship and insecurity.
The title resulted from a conversation in which I said “bitch” with fondness
and irony. It was funny, and “Crazy Bitches” stuck.
But many people
have viewed it differently.
I’ve battled Facebook, or at least its software algorithms, while trying to
promote my movie because the social-media network and/or its computers deem “bitches”
derogatory or profane. Until January, I was often unable to boost my posts or
promote my page if I used “bitch” or “Crazy Bitches” anywhere in the promotion.
Last month, I finally found a person at Facebook who would help me. Problem solved!
Friday the 13th (perfect, right?), and the blocks came up again. My
“likes,” which had been rising by more than 100 a day, plummeted to just a few. A
holiday worker saw my pleas for help and, by late Saturday, we were in recovery.
But my problem points to a far bigger issue that I hope people will understand
some people use the b-word in a derogatory way. I’ve been called “bitch” more
than once that way. I also understand Facebook’s problem as a mass advertising
vehicle that’s trying to limit derogatory language. However, in this new
world of digital releases where social media is the promotional highway, its unspecific
policy put the brakes on my marketing.
issue here is the negative perception of the word. But language changes. “Bitch” has
taken on new and empowered meanings for sizable groups of women like me who use
it in a positive way that we believe will diminish, bit by bit, the word’s
ability to bully and abuse. I made a video about it.
Bitches” plays with the b-word and the stereotypes it conjures in a way that could
amplify a constructive discussion about the word and its power. So it’s
difficult getting slapped down over and over, especially when those criticizing
the movie’s title haven’t even seen the movie.
I first ran
into issues when I started looking for money. Several women told me the title
was insulting. One female producer told me I was setting back feminism 50
years. I stuck with the title, though, because I disagreed. I believe the title
best represents my film’s characters – women who are lovely, strong,
independent, flawed, powerful, poignant, and human. So many times a woman is
called a “bitch” in a negative way because the name-caller is threatened by a
woman with those qualities – intelligence, outspokenness, an aggressive
business manner, ownership of her sexuality. Well, if those things make me
a bitch, bring it on. I consider them some of my best attributes, and I encourage everyone to
think the same. Including Facebook.
in this new indie world of VOD releasing, “box office” is counted in weeks, not
days. So, I’ll keep asking people to invite my wonderfully crazy bitches into
their homes, bringing laughter, screams, passion, empathy, and yes, maybe even a
discussion about the title, with them. Why? Because that’s what bitches do.
“Crazy Bitches” was released on VOD on February 13.