"What women need to understand is that the fear of being seen as "not nice" or bitchy comes from social messages about how they should behave. It's the way men have gotten women to acquiesce for centuries. Just the thought of being considered less than nice makes a woman feel less than feminine. Each time you hesitate or avoid asking for what you want you've bowed to these messages. The vast majority of women could be more assertive and still be far from bitchy in reality. When you're called that, it's usually because you didn't do what someone else wants –- in which case, kudos to you!" - Dr. Lois Frankel, American politician and lawyer, Congressional Representative, Florida
I saw this quote on my friend's Facebook wall and I canNOT stop thinking about it.
I mean, it's not really taught to girls anymore, the whole Sit down and shut up, Be Ladylike and never, ever argue with anyone. Is it? I mean, have you heard it, do you say it to your daughters? I think that multiple women coming close to nervous breakdown land because they say YES! to everyone and everything - well, I think it's taught a lesson to most of us.
Except that the lesson we really think we are teaching is really not the lesson we need to teach.
I've heard similar things in my life lately. If I say the "wrong" thing - what a wife, a mother, a lady, a female of my age - should say, the backlash is real. If I do the "wrong" thing - an action that maybe a mother, a woman, a lady, a wife, someone my age - shouldn't do, the backlash is real. God forbid I have an opinion contrary, a desire foreign, an interest unmatched - OR raise a question that is contrary.
Recently, I questioned the behavior and actions of an indvidual involved with one of my children. It wasn't pretty, and I fear I gained a reputation - Carmen's not a team player. And I really, really, really thought long and hard about addressing this particular situation, but ultimately decided that
I really don't care what those people think of me. (Characteristic of a Bossy Woman #1).
Later I heard that one of my daughters was exhibiting bossy behavior and it was frowned on in that particular environment. This reporting wasn't surprising to me, but hearing that this behavior was thought to be unusual was, for this child and I clash on the Rights of Power in the House all the time. And yes, I took her to task for it, for there is a time and place and a method to bossy. Bossy is not bad. Bossy has a lot of positive. Bosses are good people and the world needs bosses. If there was no one to be in boss, that would mean no one was in charge, and the world would fall apart.
But. Do people like bosses, or tolerate them? If someone is a boss, does that mean they are unliked?
Can a woman be Bossy without being Bitchy? Is Bossy strictly a female characteristic?
I told the child in the scenario about that if she has ideas for better ways to do things, there's a method to sharing those ideas. Rather than directly confronting the (adult) person with whom she conflicts, in front of other people - maybe write a note, send an email, speak privately. New ideas and good ideas aren't bad - and God knows, the world needs more forward thinkers - just be cautious of how you present it. Confrontation comes off as aggressive and I know this kid - she's many things, but above all if it, she's just genuinely convinced she knows the best thing and she wants to help you see the light, so to speak. She's sharing as a public service to you.
But. I wonder if what I shared was the best message. Was I teaching that child to stifle herself in hopes to not make other poeple upset because she might be thought of as Bossy?
Can a woman be as Assertive as a man and is assertive the same as Bossy or Bitchy? And why don't we talk about these things with our boys?
Why does it matter?
I'm Bossy myself. And by becoming Bossy, less fearless of what others think, more determined than ever not to stifle what I think or say or enjoy - I know I've lost friends. Some of those weren't true friends. After all, Me = Bossy = Sure of Myself = Salty Language = No Filters = Sharing Even If It's Uncomfortable = Me.
I really wonder what you think about this topic, as I try to process my own thoughts.