Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of things on social media relating to “bossy” girls and how they should be encouraged and congratulated. I find this meme incredibly aggravating because the reality is that the girls in question are not behaving in a way that is at all desirable. Bossy little girls are not being strong leaders, they are being overbearing dictators, hence the negative connotation associated with the word bossy. The people posting these things are implying that the word has a negative connotation simply because it is generally descriptive of girls and women. I call bullshit. It’s negative because being bossy is in no way positive. Strong, professional, accomplished women are NOT bossy.
It is interesting to note that these “bossy” girls are being portrayed as both “strong” and the “victim” simultaneously. That they are being both chastised and congratulated for behaving in a ‘male’ way. On the other hand, little boys that try to tell everyone what to do are not called “bossy.” Instead they’re called “bullies“, which is appropriate. Boys tend to bully with physical dominance, girls do it with words. Different sides of the same coin, both equally undesirable.
Encouraging “bossy” girls is just as misguided as congratulating “bully” boys for beating up the smaller kids.
I understand and support the point here, that girls will benefit from being exposed to more empowering roles earlier on in life. However, this is significantly different from what we are seeing online, which is aggrandizing even the smallest sign of dominance regardless of how it affects others. This encourages young women to think that everything they do is some sort of special victory for all of womankind and damn the consequences. In other words, it reinforces bossiness and general disregard for the concerns of others.
Furthermore, you can encourage little girls all day. The reality is that children emulate what they see. If they hear about strong women all day, every day, it makes no difference if the adult women they interact with in their daily lives are wilting flowers. If every scientist or engineer that a little girl sees is a man and every teacher’s aide is a woman, guess how she’s going to model her life.
Putting the onus on little girls to change the world in direct conflict with all available evidence and based solely upon what their teachers tell them is preposterous and more than a little bit lazy. It is incumbent upon adults in general and adult women in particular to take up the baton of change and DEMONSTRATE the way things should be.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.