The interactional structure of bitching is characterized by bids for and responses of affiliation.
Affiliation, Gender, and the Political Significance of Bitching
But there is more to the affiliative feature of bitching that some of the issues developed in discussions of troubles talk can help to illuminate.
Applied to bitching, these gendered distinctions imply that women use b itching to cope with troubles by reaffirming rapport; men address troubles as problems of status asymmetry and respond with solutions.
In this sense, it is important to distinguish between bitching as a gendering mode of interaction and as an attribute of women's communicative patterns and feminized workplace identities.
But this common view of bitching obscures the way gender differentiations are
The pettiness and emotionality of bitching are not characteristic of women per se but instead provide resources for enacting gendered identities in specific contexts, in this case, masculine and professional or feminine and unprofessional.
This way of thinking about bitching highlights its political significance.
The problem with claiming that bitching is an agency of resistance is that such a claim doesn't fit our common sense perceptions.
For example, secretaries re-affirm their gendered subordination through bitching as this excerpt from Pringle's (1988: 234) interview with an Australian secretary illustrates: "I resigned last August because they gave me another boss.
insight into the contradictions that created a situation she deemed unfair, her bitching reproduced rather than resisted secretarial subordination and competition within bureaucratic and masculine orders of privilege.
In this sense, women's workplace bitching can be viewed as a resistive performance within and against relations of domination.