The British Film Institute (BFI) is facing accusations of misogyny over the title of a forthcoming season dedicated to “fierce females”.
The programme includes films featuring “some of the most wickedly compelling female characters on screen”.
But a letter signed by more than 300 academics and critics argued that the title “uncritically parrots” misogyny.
The Playing the Bitch season was programmed by Anna Bogutskaya, who said she hoped to “start a conversation”.
In a blog explaining the project, Ms Bogutskaya said she realised the word had “powerful connotations” that made it “offensive to many”.