Made rebloggable per request.
Anonymous asked: How to play a bitchy character?
This has been sitting in my inbox for a while, and I apologize for that. However, I’m going to try to help you out to the best of my ability, so hopefully you will still have some use for this.
The most difficult thing when it comes to playing characters described as bitchy, is the fact that there isn’t just one correct definition that applies to all characters, seeing as there are different types of bitchy behavior. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, however, the definition of bitchy is characterized by malicious, spiteful, or arrogant behavior, while a bitch is defined as a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman—sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse, as well as a lewd or immoral woman.
The key traits when it comes to bitchy characters thus seem to be malicious, spiteful, arrogant, and overbearing, which all can be used in your portrayal. Try to think of ways in which these traits can surface when your character interacts with others, or to which extent they can be used as a reason or motive for their actions. A bitchy character will most likely appear very self-confident, bordering arrogant. They’re typically not so keen on showing any sign of weakness, and are in denial about the flaws they indeed have. Hurtful, malicious comments directed at others are also part of the bitchy character’s toolkit, and they can be difficult for others to handle; especially those characters who are more gentle and easy to walk all over.
Aside from that, also consider why your character behaves this way, as there always needs to be at least some sort of underlying reason. Is the character using bitchiness as a way of pushing people away or as a shield of sorts, in order not to get hurt? Is your character a bully? Are they simply that mean and horrible a person? Is it a coping method in relation to an even in their past? Is it a manipulation tactic? Or are they perhaps jealous of what other people have, and using bitchiness to mask that? Are they simply outspoken and independent, and that’s the reason why people think they’re bitchy, even though they might not actually be? Your character’s behavior might vary slightly depending on the reasons why they turn to certain patterns, so make sure you’re in the clear when it comes to that. Exploring underlying reasons for certain types of behavior will also help your character become more realistic and less clichéd, the latter always being a risk when you portray potentially stereotypical characters.
The following piece of advice is a standard of mine when I get this type of question, but I think it’s a pretty good way to go about things: draw inspiration from television and films. So-called bitchy characters are abound in popular culture, so when you’re trying to figure out how to portray one of them, why not have a look at how it has been done in the past? You can find a list of the best bitchy characters here on IMDb, for instance, and the following articles on TV Tropes might also be a useful and inspirational read: Bitch Alert, Alpha Bitch, Rich Bitch, Lovable Alpha Bitch, and Bitch in Sheep’s Clothing.
Last but not least, don’t let all of the character’s personality center around just the one trait. He or she is most likely so much more than simply bitchy, and they might not act that way with everyone, or in every situation; just make sure you’re consistent when it comes to how and when the bitchy behavior surfaces, and don’t forget to explore other sides to the character.
Here are some links I think you might find useful:
- How to Create a Bitchy Character
- A Heartless Bitch Testimonial
- Rules for Being a Bitch
- Kill This Character: The Bitchy Cheerleader
- Strong Female Leads
- Bitches and Bastards, Maybe. But No Perfect Characters Wanted
Hopefully this helped!