When I was growing up, I was called bossy.
I was called bossy a lot.
Did it damage my self-esteem and make me less interested in a leadership role?
Well, according to feminists, it sure did!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and can I please join you under there?), you’ve probably heard of the Ban Bossy campaign started by feminists, oh, over a year and a half ago. In case you’ve never seen it, here’s the video:
Now, uh, it’s safe to say that I disagree with many things in this video. In case you haven’t figured it out, I do not call myself a feminist, and unless I was somehow transported back to the 1800s where women didn’t have the right to vote or go to most schools, I wouldn’t dream of ever calling myself one. If that offends you, kindly leave. I don’t need an argument over how I’m stupid and sexist (newsflash: I’m a girl!) and all that junk. I get that many people out there disagree over this, and I just wanted to state my thoughts. If what I say offends you, that’s not my problem, and I’m sure you’re mature enough to hit that back button.
Now. Where were we?
Like I said at the beginning, I was called bossy growing up. My parents called me bossy. My brothers called me bossy. Other adult leaders/teachers called me bossy. My friends called me bossy. Little kids that I took care of called me bossy. You want to know why?
Because I was bossy!
Seriously, I was a jerk.
Hold up, jerk? Yes, jerk. Because, feminists, bossy is synonymous with being a total and complete jerk to those around you. It’s not about leadership. It’s about being cruel, domineering, and not caring one ounce about other peoples’ feelings. That’s what being bossy is.
By the time I got to middle school, I realized that. And I worked to change it. Still haven’t perfected it, and I’m sorry to say that I can still be bossy to this day. It’s one of those nasty character traits that you know are there but you so wish you didn’t have.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I go to church, and if you’ve ever been to church (particularly a youth group), you know how much emphasis is put on being a leader. I have been told before that I could be a great leader. To be fair, I’m more of the silent type of leader, the one to help out behind the scenes. I might not be able to lead a lesson on Wednesday night, but I have no problem setting an example for the boys and girls younger than me–the ones who look up to me.
Being a leader isn’t about screeching at people or telling them what to do. Again, I come from a church environment, and I’ve worked with more than a handful of leaders throughout my life. A good leader is someone who listens, who can offer good advice, who is not afraid to do what needs to be done, who sets the example for everyone else, who is respected by their peers and those looking up to them, who knows what they stand for. That’s a leader.
Let me put this another way: You can hire someone to be another person’s boss. But you can’t hire a person to be someone else’s leader. It doesn’t work like that. Being a leader is something you have to work at in every aspect of your life. Even shy people can be leaders, but they can’t always be effective bosses.
So, Beyoncé, just because you’re the boss doesn’t make you leader.
What else is wrong with this campaign?
Well, banning a word, for one thing.
I mean, I get it, it’s more symbolic. You want people to think before they use that word. All right, fine. While you’re at it, I can think of a whole list of words that are way more derogatory than that.
Also, don’t except everyone to follow you on this. If you see a person on the street calling someone else (notice I didn’t say a girl) bossy, don’t get mad and flustered about it just because they aren’t following your agenda. The second you start yelling at people to do something and fully expect them to do it without putting up a fight, then you’ve become bossy yourself.
The other major problem I have with this is, duh, girls aren’t the only ones who get called bossy!
Gasp, shocker! Say it isn’t so!
Sorry, but it is. I knew plenty of bossy boys growing up. They exist. They exist just as much as bossy girls do. They’re just as annoying.
You know, I don’t think I’ve heard or used the word bossy since I was around nine or ten. By the time you reach middle school, “bossy” is pretty much an obsolete adjective, seeing as how many kids’ vocabulary skills have grown immensely by that time. “Bossy” is really a kiddie word, used when that one jerk won’t stop, well, bossing people around.
“Timmy, give me some of your crackers,” Natalie said, walking up to her friend.
“But I don’t have very many crackers, and they’re all I’ve got to eat today,” Timmy said, his mouth full of crumbs.
“I don’t care. I want some. Hand them over!”
Timmy sighed and reluctantly handed the bag over to the girl.
Natalie grinned. “Thank you, Timmy!”
“But I want to go on the swings!” Aaron huffed.
“But I’m on them right now!” Barrett said.
“I don’t care! Get off them and give me a turn!”
You know what I just realized while writing all that out? Those kids we call bossy don’t act like leaders; they act like bullies. They’re the ones who demand things from other people and pitch a fit when they don’t get their way.
Bossy =/= Leader
Bossy = Bully
But, most feminists would deny that equation. Here, let’s get some help from the dictionary.
bossy 1 |ˈbôsē, ˈbäs-|
adjective (bossier, bossiest) informal
fond of giving people orders; domineering: she was headlong, bossy, scared of nobody, and full of vinegar.
Okay, now how about bully?
bully 1 |ˈbo͝olē|
noun (pl. bullies)
a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
verb (bullies, bullying, bullied) [ with obj. ]
use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants: a local man was bullied into helping them.
Whoa, a little similar, huh? What about leader. I mean, bossy and leader have to be synonyms according to that video, right?
1 the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country: the leader of a protest group.
• an organization or company that is the most advanced or successful in a particular area: a leader in the use of video conferencing.
• (also Leader of the House)Brit. a member of the government officially responsible for initiating business in Parliament.
You can draw your own conclusions from the definitions. But only two use words like “domineering” and “intimidate.”
So yeah, I was called bossy. That didn’t affect my desire to be a leader. If anything, it helped point me in the right path. Instead of using energy to snap at people and get my way, I’m able to work for others and help them, as well as myself.
After all, as a Christian, Jesus called me not only to be a leader, but a servant as well. And I can hardly see bossiness being a good trait in a servant.
There you go! Offensive, probably. Aligned with feministic agenda, hardly. Am I proud of that? Absolutely. Because I won’t let someone (other than Jesus Christ Himself) tell me what words I can and cannot use and how I’m supposed to live my life. If you ask me, that seems a little, well, bossy.
Hope you enjoyed this post. And, if you didn’t, feel free to let me know–respectfully! I get that people have different views, but you don’t need to scream at me about mine. If you feel the need to debate in the comments, do it gently and with respect for others.
Thanks for reading, everyone!