Feminism Fodder

Being Bossy

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photo credit: seanmcgrath via photopin cc

I was a bossy little child.

My family still reflects fondly about how I loved to play ‘teacher’ with them at the age of 2 or 3 — I was the teacher, of course. My grandparents, my doting uncle and my parents were all the students. I would give them homework and would carry a wooden ruler. And order them around. All in jest for them. Seriousness for me.

I continued to be confident in primary school. Speaking my mind. Telling people exactly what I thought. Embellishing the truth at times. Loving being the class monitor. Loving being the centre of attention. Somewhere along the line though, that changed.

I was told by a few people that I needed to tone it down. That I was being too ‘proud’ for my own good. That I needed to be humble. More lady-like. I was told by peers at the age of 9 that I needed to dress more like a girl. I was only given attention when I as quiet and well-behaved. When I was passive. On the other hand, I was shushed pretty quickly, especially around adults for being a bit assertive. A bit bossy.,

They called me stubborn in my teenage years. While I was quiet and passive, I still rebelled in my own way. While I shied away from the limelight I loved as a child, I still spoke out passionately if something went against my beliefs and values. I remember being told to keep my views to myself. That not everyone was interested in hearing my opinions. And fair enough. They probably weren’t. But at the same time, I believe I was entitled to one.

Fast forward to present day me. I have gone from being passive to assertive to sometimes reactive. In a way, I have come full circle but a bit wiser. I will say it as it is but with some tact. I am still stubborn. I can still be bossy. I still like to have control. Do I want to be a leader? I don’t know. Definitely not in the field I work in!

Why am I writing all this? It’s because I have been hearing a lot about wanting to ban the word bossy that seems to have come about as an aftermath to International Women’s Day. But I find myself thinking — I don’t know if banning the word is the answer to empowering young girls. By banning the word, we are telling young girls being bossy is a bad thing. Reclaiming the word would probably be a better option. Just like we did with the word slut. Anyone up for Bossyboots walks??

On a serious note though, bossy or not, the message I’d like to give young girls {and boys for that matter} is to be yourself. Be genuine. Be true. Stand up for what you believe in and who you are.

And never, ever let anyone crush your spirit.

No matter how hard they try.

***Linking up with Grace this Friday for FYBF***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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  • Titaxy
    14 March 2014 at 4:55 am

    i see a lot of my sister in you. i hated that she was called bossy. i mean ok, she was bossy. but if my cousin (a boy) did the same exact things, it was ok, but whereas when my sister did those she was labeled ‘bossy.’ that’s what got on my nerves.
    Titaxy recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – 48My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 7:51 pm

      That’s the problem isn’t it — if boys behave in exactly the same manner, it’s ok. But girls are told to not be overconfident or bossy or later as adults, bitchy!

  • Titaxy
    14 March 2014 at 4:55 am

    i see a lot of my sister in you. i hated that she was called bossy. i mean ok, she was bossy. but if my cousin (a boy) did the same exact things, it was ok, but whereas when my sister did those she was labeled ‘bossy.’ that’s what got on my nerves.
    Titaxy recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – 48My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 7:51 pm

      That’s the problem isn’t it — if boys behave in exactly the same manner, it’s ok. But girls are told to not be overconfident or bossy or later as adults, bitchy!

  • Avada Kedavra
    14 March 2014 at 5:03 am

    In the book “Lean in”, Sheryl spoke about this exact word “Bossy”. She says any woman/girl who has leadership qualities is termed bossy. It’s great to know that she has taken such initiatives to ban the word. Do read her book if you get a chance.
    Avada Kedavra recently posted…Some positive thoughtsMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 7:53 pm

      I’ve heard mixed reviews of Lean In…I do wish though she hadn’t talked about banning the word…because there’s nothing wrong with being bossy. By saying we want to ban the word, she is saying it’s a bad thing. I think reclaiming the word is a better way to go. But would be curious to make my own judgements about the book.

  • Avada Kedavra
    14 March 2014 at 5:03 am

    In the book “Lean in”, Sheryl spoke about this exact word “Bossy”. She says any woman/girl who has leadership qualities is termed bossy. It’s great to know that she has taken such initiatives to ban the word. Do read her book if you get a chance.
    Avada Kedavra recently posted…Some positive thoughtsMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 7:53 pm

      I’ve heard mixed reviews of Lean In…I do wish though she hadn’t talked about banning the word…because there’s nothing wrong with being bossy. By saying we want to ban the word, she is saying it’s a bad thing. I think reclaiming the word is a better way to go. But would be curious to make my own judgements about the book.

  • Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel
    14 March 2014 at 10:47 am

    I’m sure I have called my sons bossy as often as I have my daughter. All four of mine are bossy, I don’t know WHO they get it from!! It’s good to be assertive, and much as I often have been, I still used to find the worksplace hard… much prefer being my own boss.
    Seana – Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel recently posted…Aussie Family Holiday Friday – News + Inspiration For Your Family HolidayMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Welcome here Seana! Haha…at least you don’t discriminate! 😀 I have learnt to be assertive in the workplace and I think some people don’t like that and would prefer I stayed passive than speak my mind {although I do occasionally put my foot in my mouth!}

  • Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel
    14 March 2014 at 10:47 am

    I’m sure I have called my sons bossy as often as I have my daughter. All four of mine are bossy, I don’t know WHO they get it from!! It’s good to be assertive, and much as I often have been, I still used to find the worksplace hard… much prefer being my own boss.
    Seana – Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel recently posted…Aussie Family Holiday Friday – News + Inspiration For Your Family HolidayMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Welcome here Seana! Haha…at least you don’t discriminate! 😀 I have learnt to be assertive in the workplace and I think some people don’t like that and would prefer I stayed passive than speak my mind {although I do occasionally put my foot in my mouth!}

  • Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus)
    14 March 2014 at 1:35 pm

    People call me bossy too! What a cracker. I call myself, effecient 🙂
    Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus) recently posted…Gettin’ my bake on – Caramel SliceMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Love how you are reclaiming and reframing bossy Sam! 🙂

  • Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus)
    14 March 2014 at 1:35 pm

    People call me bossy too! What a cracker. I call myself, effecient 🙂
    Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus) recently posted…Gettin’ my bake on – Caramel SliceMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Love how you are reclaiming and reframing bossy Sam! 🙂

  • Shailaja V
    14 March 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Banning ‘bossy’? God, people tend to take things too far these days, eh, PB? I actually can picture you with the wooden ruler and the serious expression! I have done it too and now, so does my 7-year-old. Your post gives me food for thought. What would I do a few years later as a parent? Tone down her aggression and teach her assertion, if it ever comes to that! But, yes, you are right. Life and its wisdom are the best teachers.. Okay, I am rambling. Enjoyed the post!
    Shailaja V recently posted…The Importance of being IdleMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:42 pm

      Haha…yeah, people do like to take things a bit too far and I reckon this is just trying to get some publicity around IWD. I think as a parent, it is important to teach the distinction between aggression and assertion because I do see my fair share of clients who are aggressive and think it’s ok to get their way all the time. But being bossy or showing leadership qualities does not mean a person is being aggressive necessarily… thanks for your thoughtful rambles… 🙂

  • Shailaja V
    14 March 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Banning ‘bossy’? God, people tend to take things too far these days, eh, PB? I actually can picture you with the wooden ruler and the serious expression! I have done it too and now, so does my 7-year-old. Your post gives me food for thought. What would I do a few years later as a parent? Tone down her aggression and teach her assertion, if it ever comes to that! But, yes, you are right. Life and its wisdom are the best teachers.. Okay, I am rambling. Enjoyed the post!
    Shailaja V recently posted…The Importance of being IdleMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:42 pm

      Haha…yeah, people do like to take things a bit too far and I reckon this is just trying to get some publicity around IWD. I think as a parent, it is important to teach the distinction between aggression and assertion because I do see my fair share of clients who are aggressive and think it’s ok to get their way all the time. But being bossy or showing leadership qualities does not mean a person is being aggressive necessarily… thanks for your thoughtful rambles… 🙂

  • Mi
    14 March 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I think i still am bossy.. that’s a part and parcel of being an Arian, perhaps! 🙂
    never, ever let anyone crush your spirit – Thanks for putting this! 🙂 Felt good!
    Mi recently posted…How things changeMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Haha…good on you for being bossy. My stubbornness or bossiness is part of being a Capricorn…apparently we are born leaders! 😛

  • Mi
    14 March 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I think i still am bossy.. that’s a part and parcel of being an Arian, perhaps! 🙂
    never, ever let anyone crush your spirit – Thanks for putting this! 🙂 Felt good!
    Mi recently posted…How things changeMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Haha…good on you for being bossy. My stubbornness or bossiness is part of being a Capricorn…apparently we are born leaders! 😛

  • Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    14 March 2014 at 4:06 pm

    We unwittingly wrote about similar things today 🙂

    I think the whole banning the word bossy is a little over the top. I think just replace it with another word otherwise it could be misconstrued as trying to make girls be more submissive.
    Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted…The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voiceMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:51 pm

      Haha…great minds think alike Toni! 🙂

      Totally agree with what you’re saying about the word bossy…

  • Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    14 March 2014 at 4:06 pm

    We unwittingly wrote about similar things today 🙂

    I think the whole banning the word bossy is a little over the top. I think just replace it with another word otherwise it could be misconstrued as trying to make girls be more submissive.
    Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted…The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voiceMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:51 pm

      Haha…great minds think alike Toni! 🙂

      Totally agree with what you’re saying about the word bossy…

  • Soumya
    14 March 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Amen to that sistah!

    I’ve been called bossy since for all the 27 years of my existence. I’ve never cared. Ban the word or not, would not make a difference to me.

    I am me. Shall remain me.
    Soumya recently posted…I Am Still HereMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:53 pm

      You? Bossy? Would never have guessed that? 😛 And yes, please remain yourself! Love that! And I’m sure your friends and family love you for being you! 😀

  • Soumya
    14 March 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Amen to that sistah!

    I’ve been called bossy since for all the 27 years of my existence. I’ve never cared. Ban the word or not, would not make a difference to me.

    I am me. Shall remain me.
    Soumya recently posted…I Am Still HereMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      14 March 2014 at 8:53 pm

      You? Bossy? Would never have guessed that? 😛 And yes, please remain yourself! Love that! And I’m sure your friends and family love you for being you! 😀

  • Raindrop
    14 March 2014 at 10:39 pm

    This could’ve been the story of my life. As a kid, I was labelled a tomboy, bossy, unfeminine etc. I was too young to care, and my parents too happy to have me the way I was. But at around 11-12 yrs of age, I started changing. For the wrong reasons. i was told to be ‘soft’ and ‘feminine’. I noticed that girls like me would not have many friends, the ‘softer and feminine girls seemed to bond better.
    And so I changed into this meek being who wanted to please all.

    Only after I met the husband, I became my original uninhibited happy opinionated self.

    Loved the last few lines you wrote. The mantra of my life now
    Raindrop recently posted…Jaane bhi do yaaronMy Profile

  • Raindrop
    14 March 2014 at 10:39 pm

    This could’ve been the story of my life. As a kid, I was labelled a tomboy, bossy, unfeminine etc. I was too young to care, and my parents too happy to have me the way I was. But at around 11-12 yrs of age, I started changing. For the wrong reasons. i was told to be ‘soft’ and ‘feminine’. I noticed that girls like me would not have many friends, the ‘softer and feminine girls seemed to bond better.
    And so I changed into this meek being who wanted to please all.

    Only after I met the husband, I became my original uninhibited happy opinionated self.

    Loved the last few lines you wrote. The mantra of my life now
    Raindrop recently posted…Jaane bhi do yaaronMy Profile

  • Archana
    15 March 2014 at 12:03 am

    now that you have explained the term, I think I got a word to describe myself.. Because, most of the time, I really want things to happen my way. If not, I really get angry and moody.
    Archana recently posted…Reality of the fantasyMy Profile

  • Archana
    15 March 2014 at 12:03 am

    now that you have explained the term, I think I got a word to describe myself.. Because, most of the time, I really want things to happen my way. If not, I really get angry and moody.
    Archana recently posted…Reality of the fantasyMy Profile

  • lizzy - muddle-headed mamma
    15 March 2014 at 2:11 pm

    LOVE the idea of Bossyboots Walks! My daughter was born on International Women’s Day. She just turned one and already her ‘bossy’ nature is shining through loud and clear. I will be a proud mama if she stays assertive and true to what is obviously her true self. Words and terms like ‘bossy’, ‘naughty’, ‘good girl’ and ‘bad girl’ get thrown around so easily, don’t they? My hope is that my daughter doesn’t grow up thinking that a good girl is not necessarily a quite and passive one. A good girl is one who has the courage to speak her mind, but the wisdom to do so articulately and with an open mind and above all, the humility to be able to listen to others and to stand corrected when need be. Wonderful post!

  • lizzy - muddle-headed mamma
    15 March 2014 at 2:11 pm

    LOVE the idea of Bossyboots Walks! My daughter was born on International Women’s Day. She just turned one and already her ‘bossy’ nature is shining through loud and clear. I will be a proud mama if she stays assertive and true to what is obviously her true self. Words and terms like ‘bossy’, ‘naughty’, ‘good girl’ and ‘bad girl’ get thrown around so easily, don’t they? My hope is that my daughter doesn’t grow up thinking that a good girl is not necessarily a quite and passive one. A good girl is one who has the courage to speak her mind, but the wisdom to do so articulately and with an open mind and above all, the humility to be able to listen to others and to stand corrected when need be. Wonderful post!

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    15 March 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I want my daughter to be bossy because it doesn’t take long until the word takes a swing at people and the more confident they are the better! I was UBER shy as a young one but gained in assertive as I grew! x
    Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me recently posted…If I got a letter from the universe it would say…My Profile

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    15 March 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I want my daughter to be bossy because it doesn’t take long until the word takes a swing at people and the more confident they are the better! I was UBER shy as a young one but gained in assertive as I grew! x
    Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me recently posted…If I got a letter from the universe it would say…My Profile

  • Kinmin
    20 March 2014 at 11:52 am

    I think sometimes it also depends on how we define a word.. In my mind, bossy means authoritarian and irrational and dominating – for both men and women.. And so I don’t like the word.. But that’s just a personal preference.. I think what most people tend to forget is that you don’t need to be loud and domineering to be a good leader, you can be calm yet assertive, humble yet have others respect you if you have the right ideas.. At least this is what I think in my idealist head..
    My case has been different – I used to be submissive and more than willing to adjust, but I have become assertive in the last few years.. And now I speak my mind and stand up for what I want.. But then there are so many people asking me to pick my battles and not fight for everything I believe in! Oh well! And yes, I’ve been called a bitch and irrational for that.. Anyway, sorry for the long rambling comment!
    Kinmin recently posted…I’m excited for La Jolla!!My Profile

  • Kinmin
    20 March 2014 at 11:52 am

    I think sometimes it also depends on how we define a word.. In my mind, bossy means authoritarian and irrational and dominating – for both men and women.. And so I don’t like the word.. But that’s just a personal preference.. I think what most people tend to forget is that you don’t need to be loud and domineering to be a good leader, you can be calm yet assertive, humble yet have others respect you if you have the right ideas.. At least this is what I think in my idealist head..
    My case has been different – I used to be submissive and more than willing to adjust, but I have become assertive in the last few years.. And now I speak my mind and stand up for what I want.. But then there are so many people asking me to pick my battles and not fight for everything I believe in! Oh well! And yes, I’ve been called a bitch and irrational for that.. Anyway, sorry for the long rambling comment!
    Kinmin recently posted…I’m excited for La Jolla!!My Profile

  • Nish
    20 March 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I prefer the term alpha female 🙂
    Nish recently posted…What do you think of The Giver’s First Look?My Profile

  • Nish
    20 March 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I prefer the term alpha female 🙂
    Nish recently posted…What do you think of The Giver’s First Look?My Profile

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