Chances are, if you’ve been inspired to read this article based on its title alone, you’re already highly familiar with the content of the trendy blog “Betches Love This Site.” Even if you haven’t yet discovered the guilty pleasure (or outrage) of reading it, just keep an eye on Facebook or Twitter. Sooner or later, a posted link or retweet in relation to it is bound to crop up on your News Feed or Timeline. Because, like it or not, “betchhood” is quickly becoming a fact of life of American collegiate culture.
Even if you’re a self-proclaimed “Betches Love This” addict who knows every post on “The Betch List” by heart, a brief tour of the site may prove to be beneficial in deciphering what precisely it wishes to accomplish, and what type of young woman it aspires to represent. Under a banner displaying the watchful gaze of several female celebrities who are presumably betch idols, the blog’s authors (Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and the like), styling themselves as “Head Betches,” proudly assert their motto: “taking a break from thinking about ourselves to write it down.” Betch neophytes and experienced users alike can then navigate between various pages that offer insight into the cult of betchhood. Highlights include “Betch of the Week,” “The Betch Guide to Life,” a “World” section where cities are ranked by Betch Factor, and, perhaps the site’s most popular feature, “The Betch List.”
“The Betch List” appears to have lifted its numbered entries’ structure and tone of enlightened sarcasm from “Stuff White People Like,” a blog dedicated to enumerating the interests of the modestly liberal urban white population. It is unclear whether the encyclopedia format of “Stuff White People Like” makes it the first blog of its kind, but it is certainly one of the most popular, receiving 40 million hits in the first eight months of its existence. With posts dating only back to June 2011, “The Betch List” is still perhaps too young to compare with “Stuff White People Like,” but what it lacks in age, it makes up for in acerbic wit. “This website isn’t self-help,” our writers remind us bluntly: “Self-help is for fat people and divorcees.” Addressing topics encompassing partying, fashion, nutrition, partying, relationships, The iPhone switch (#68), and more partying, the Head Betches dive into the various manifestations of betch culture with delicious satire and an average of about 20 derivations of the word “betch” per post.
Now that we’ve attained a slightly clearer idea of what this site is (and what it’s not), we can start to examine just who exactly constitutes this eponymous “betch.” The masterminds behind “Betches Love This” help us out here. A betch, according to the blog’s section “About a Betch,” is someone “who has everything figured out,” who “always gets what she wants,” who “owns whatever situation she’s in.” She is fluent in abbrevs, knows the proper etiquette of planning and proposing group dinners (read: group din!) and has devised a handy point system for evaluating the prospects of her potential “bro.” Her drink of choice is Vodka soda with a splash of cran, and her diet of choice is the one-meal-a-day diet.
The key to being a betch, it seems, is maintaining an aura of effortlessness. Whether loudly boasting her obligation to Not Keeping Up with the News (#2), or Not Doing Work (#36), at no point does a betch want to appear as though she is Trying Too Hard (TTH) (#123). Ironic, perhaps, that this aloof sense of detachment that a betch seeks is sustained in part by a website whose mission is “to let other betches know they’re not alone.” But the chances a betch would care that her entire life philosophy is a contradiction are less than the the 1% (#111) with which betches proudly align themselves.
Reading between the lines suggests that the betch is, above all, a college woman, and more specifically, a college woman in a sorority. But, though it is directed towards a targeted subpopulation of American females, much of the material propagated on “Betches Love This” is fair game for recruiting a contingent of male followers. Boys who cannot understand why they have been relegated to Hated Nice Guy (#33) status, for instance, would do well to study how some of their peers have matured into the older, more sophisticated, and more desirable, Pro (#62). Inspiration can be drawn from the Head Betches’ assertion that the Ugly Hot charm can make a pretty betch fall for even the most slovenly of Neanderthals (for those who were just as confused as I was when I read the title of this post, “Ugly Hot is Jamie Lynn Siegler dating Turtle from Entourage”). And for young lotharios who wish to impress their love interests, sharing a link from “The Betch List” can serve as a vindication of their acquaintance with the esoteric world of betchdom.
Fun and games aside, though, and there’s no escaping the reality that the betch can be quite the polarizing figure in society. Self-absorption, superficiality and standoffishness do not exactly comprise a praiseworthy values system. The Head Betches also possess a knack for turning even the most harmlessly titled posts on “The Betch List” into scathing odes to a lifestyle of heedless debauchery, disdain towards non-betches, and rampant consumerism. Bottled Water (#74) might sound as innocent of a blog post as they come, but closer examination will reveal that it’s saturated with lines like “We introduce to you the only pure thing [besides our incessant drinking and partying] we have any sort of affinity towards: bottled water,” “water fountains are for the homeless” and “expensive bottled water is a status symbol.”
Intriguing, as well, is the attitude of the Head Betches toward their readers. As the Head Betches point out, “if you can relate to our wisdom, then you’re probably a betch, and if you don’t we don’t care.” Throughout their posts, their language is unflinchingly self-degrading, obnoxious and condescending. By employing such a vicious attitude toward its subjects, are the Head Betches lampooning the fact that the very girls the blog degrades are its primary followers? Or are the blog’s writers celebrating their own embodiment of betchood, and identifying themselves as one with their readers?
What it comes down to, I suppose, is that there’s a window of opportunity here for some somber generational self-reflection, and I’m well aware of that I haven’t really taken it. All I’ve done in this article is do what betches do best: talk about matters related to themselves without making any definitive claims. Even if the betch as she appears on Betches Love This is an exaggeration, we have to remember that there’s more to life than being a really, ridiculously good betch. Right?
Perhaps. But I for one do not feel qualified to undertake any high-minded endeavors to answer this question. Maybe it’s because I see too much of myself in some of those posts, even the ones I would like to consider innocuous. And maybe it’s not just me. Anyone who chuckles to himself or herself while reading the latest entry on “The Betch List” is treading a impossible-to-discern line between reading for entertainment and reading for self-indulgence.
Or maybe it’s just because the thought of turning into a Betch Arch Nemesis (#74) and facing the wrath of an angry betch is enough to scare me away for life from penning such a diatribe. That and getting accidentally-on-purpose stabbed through the metatarsals with high heels (#90).