March 14, 2014

Bossy.

I've been called bossy my whole life. I usually shrugged it off as just another word used by my brothers to try to belittle me. Which it never did. I knew what I wanted and was saying it out loud. Being bossy was a good thing when I was a kid.

Only once did this word bring me down, when I was in my early twenties. One of my girlfriends told me I was "bossy". She hurled the word at me in an argument and it stopped me in my tracks. Afterwards, thoughtful, I went out with a male friend, who happened to be in the military.

"Steve...do you think I'm bossy?" I asked him.


"JC," he said, looking right at me, "You have leadership qualities."

"Ok. So then I am bossy."

*     *     *     *     *

I've been reading some chatter on the Innerwebs around this word lately. Last night, I was putting my son to bed, and we snuggled (yes, he's fourteen and still wants to snuggle sometimes) and mused about life. I decided to ask his opinion.

"Boy....do you think I'm bossy?" I asked him.

He said, "YEAH MOM. You are SO bossy!!"

"What do I say or do that's bossy?"

"Mawwwm! You say, (high-pitched lady voice) "Start your homework, come help with the dishes, clean up your room, eat properly!" GEEZ it's so annoying!"

"Okay. So then I am bossy."

I smiled. I'm alright with this.

What do you think of the word "bossy"?



20 comments:

  1. It's true. It's all true. Well, not that *I* think you're bossy, erm, not that. The point about it stopping you when it came from a girlfriend. Here's the part of the dialogue that's missing: girls (and women) use the word to hurt other girls (and women). My daughter doesn't miss a beat when her brother calls her bossy. She throws back her shoulders and stands a little taller, defiantly pushing her agenda. But, if her girlfriend calls her bossy, it crushes her. Mean girls, the curse of the female boss for the female employee - whatever it is. I think as girls we learn that we are lower on the food chain, and rather than go after those higher on the food chain, we thin out our own herd preying on weaker women. Back to the point, I <3 this post. xo
    Signed,
    Bossy Mom in Philly

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  2. Replies
    1. Excuse me. Are you trying to tell me what to do?

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  3. Bossy should = acting like a boss ~~~however~~~it's almost always used "at" females to diminish or belittle or indicate they are not actually "the boss". It's - I was going to use a soft, girly word like "sad", but I think a more appropriate word is "infuriating". Let's but the "Boss" back in "Bossy"!
    btw...I love this blog...I love the attitude, the art and the wisdom in it.
    btw part 2...Sometimes my grown ups son will put his head on my shoulder while we are watching tv, or pull be into a big bear hug before he leaves...Bliss.

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    1. It is infuriating to be disempowered by a word. More so that anyone would want to do so.

      I'm glad you like my blog!
      Thinking about when my son is all grown up, if he still wants to put his head on my shoulder, well that would make me so happy.

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  4. I think "bossy" is an issue when it's used to disparage girls for the very actions praised in boys. Kind of like the other "b" word.

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    1. I agree. It's the intention behind the word that is a problem, not the word itself.

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  5. Ha ha ha! I think there's a difference between "Bossy" and leadership. Bossy gives orders because they think they have the right to direct other people to do their bidding, whether they've earned it or not. Leaders direct people where they need them to go because they know that this is the path to goodness and butterflies and unicorns and stuff.

    I think bossy is an insult, but that it shares many traits with leadership. It all comes down to motivation. What's yours? ;)

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    1. I might accept that explanation, but I've never heard a man described as "bossy" in any context.

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  6. Fave quote: "I'm not Bossy, I'm RIGHT!"

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    1. You might be right. Too bad you're anonymous, or I'd high five you :D

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  7. Join the club… I work with an serial entrepreneur that is used to have a lot of employees and for sure, boss around. A week ago she started to answer me "Yes chief!"

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    Replies
    1. The acknowledgement of leadership in a title.

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  8. Oh good grief, it isn't that I am BOSSY, I just have better ideas. And someone needs to take charge, or how would anything ever get done?

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  9. We are female, we are necessarily bossy. When God created man He looked at him and realised that however good he was, he couldn't cope without someone to help him along.....so he created woman. Necessarily bossy! Or at least thats what I tell myself anyway :)

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  10. I have such a hard time with this, because my girl is bossy and I'm afraid it will interfere with her social interactions. She doesn't want to play your games, she wants to play hers (fine, but she doesn't try to get anyone to WANT to play her games). She makes up a million rules for every simple game (you can't just play catch - you have to hit a particular spot, make it bounce 20 times, and then kick it back...but don't make it go over her head!). I've told her that she has 3 options on the playground - she can play by herself with her own rules, she can play with the other kids, or she can get the other kids to want to play by her rules....but she shouldn't get upset if they don't want to do things her way. I don't want her to take a back seat (although sometimes you should) or get walked on, but I want her to have friends, which means compromise is necessary.

    I guess my problem is that I'd rather she be independent than bossy, because that's what works for me. Sigh - parenting is tough.

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    1. My eldest was much like that when she was younger, so I can identify with the parenting frustration. They're kids, so they haven't yet learned skills for compromise and getting along. They want what they want when they want it, with a singularity of vision that comes with innocence. I'm generalizing of course, because everyone is different. I think there are different definitions of the word bossy, for different people, and it probably depends a lot on context, like so many other words...

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  11. I think that all kids need to learn how to be a leader without being bossy. It's a shame that that word (and the other B word) is thrown at kids instead of the opportunity taken to teach them leadership.

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Cuz You Rocketh.