Opinion editor Rachel Dry... says she commissioned the piece because she wanted someone to wrestle with how this particular profanity is being used against Clinton. “Certainly the word focuses one’s attention,” Dry said to my questions about its use in the headline and so frequently in the story. “But that’s what the essay is about.”...Well, that's just very conservative. I think the word "bitch" got reclaimed by feminists decades ago, but the NYT has made a thing of its old-fashioned approach to rough language. But Spayd isn't talking about completely censoring "bitch," the way the Times censors "fuck."* Spayd's point is only that "bitch" works as an insult until you get into the context of the essay, so it's wrong to put it in the headline.
It’s one thing for an author, under her own byline and in the context of her ideas, to write the type of opinion piece [Andi] Zeisler did.... Dry says that when opinion editors write the headlines, they are distilling the author’s perspective, not the view or the voice of The Times.
That may be, but referring to the first female presidential nominee as the right bitch for the job brings an air of legitimacy to the word that seems beyond where we are at this moment in history. The mainstream may someday apply this term to women who stand up for themselves and bust through feminine stereotypes. Until then, it remains an insult, degrading and misogynistic.
She doesn't mention the function of clickbait in the NYT. Obviously, the headline "The Bitch America Needs" is very clickbait-y. Taking something out of its real context is a clickbait technique. You need to click through to find out why this could be the headline. Personally, I avoided clicking on that headline precisely because I've trained myself not to take the bait. I still haven't read Zeisler's essay, and I remain content with my assumption that it put a good meaning on "bitch" and used that to say Hillary — who's been called or characterized as a bitch — is, in fact, a bitch but in the good way.
I'll await the NYT op-ed making the case for Trump under the headline "The Fucking Asshole America Needs" that could be retitled "The Feisty Fighter America Needs."
* For an example of the NYT's censorship of "fuck," see "Odell Beckham Jr. Responds to the Lena Dunham Dust-Up: ‘I Have to Learn More About the Situation’":
“I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards,” Ms. Dunham said in the interview, which was posted last Friday. “He was like: ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.’ It wasn’t mean. He just seemed confused.”That second paragraph summarizes this part of the original interview:
In Ms. Dunham’s imagination, the grid star’s “vibe” seemed to suggest he was thinking, “Do I want to have sex with it?” (she used an earthier term for “sex,” and yes, she said “it”).
The vibe was very much like, "Do I want to fuck it? Is it wearing a … yep, it's wearing a tuxedo. I'm going to go back to my cell phone." It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, "This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes."