Wednesday, 26 March 2014

"I'm not Bossy. I'm the Boss."

Hi everyone!

I've actually got loads to write about at the moment with loads going on, but I wanted to first speak about something that has recently come to my attention-the Ban Bossy campaign. When I saw this video it was really interesting to me, not only because I have been labelled bossy many times in my life, but because I am currently working on a song and video that I wrote which sort of tackles this topic. It's kind of weird because although I'm not superstitious at all, lately I keep seeing and hearing things that directly relate to my song in a million different ways-I'll elaborate more on this at a later date when I actually put the song out. In today's blog post I want to talk about how being called bossy has affected me in my life, and my thoughts on this campaign....

So I think this is an interesting campaign, and I have already seen articles cropping up criticizing it. On the official website, this is what it says:

When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.
Pledge to Ban Bossy.

I saw an article in the Huffington Post saying that the word bossy has negative connotations and is not a characteristic anyone would encourage in a good leader whether they are male or female. So the writer doesn't agree with the suggestion that girls should be told they have leadership potential rather than being called bossy. The word bossy is not the problem, says BJ Gallagher, because if a girl is being bossy, she should be be taught that being bossy (overbearing, rubbing people up the wrong way) is not the way to lead. Instead, to be a good leader you should inspire and motivate, and lead by example.

I definitely agree with what the writer is saying-I myself was surprised to see that the word bossy is being attacked when actually, everyone hates a bossy person, male or female. The above statement on the website clarifies the sentiment of the campaign though-the issue is double standards. The fact that a girl behaving exactly the same as an assertive boy, someone who ISN'T being bossy, is labelled bossy simply because she is female. It is the double standard that is the issue, not the word, which doesn't really come across in the campaign video (but I still love the video just for Beyonce's one liner at the end!).

I understand this feeling all too well. I remember being called 'bossy' plenty of times by my teachers way back in primary school when I was as young as 8. I remember being embarrassed, because by that age I already understood that it was a negative thing to be bossy. It's hard to know looking back whether or not the teacher was justified in calling me bossy. It's definitely true that at that age I knew how I wanted things done and was already a perfectionist, so group activities were already frustrating to me if there were members of the group letting the side down or not doing what they were supposed to (I know I sound like a nightmare!). But was I taught the difference between being bossy and being assertive? I don't think so. Maybe rather than calling me bossy, the teacher could have gently explained to me that I shouldn't get frustrated with the members of my group but instead should communicate my ideas better and help the others. Don't get me wrong-it clearly didn't affect my confidence because here I am as an adult, as assertive as ever and I'm definitely the boss in my life! But what about other little girls? The one's who perhaps did have their confidence knocked? Will it have affected their ability to continue speaking up and putting themselves forward?

I think there is definitely a case for banning the word bossy in the classroom. Kids should know the difference between being bossy and being a good leader, and they definitely shouldn't be praised for bossiness. But maybe there is a better way to teach kids not to be bossy rather than sticking that label on them. Because I remember being slightly upset at being called bossy in front of my classmates at age 9. Luckily for me, I didn't take it to heart, but what if other girls do take it to heart?

What do you think on the matter? Let me know in the comments!

Anita xxx

Here are some of the facts listed on the Ban Bossy website:

Girls are twice as likely as boys to worry that
leadership roles will make them seem “bossy.”

Girls get less
airtime in class.

They are called on less
and interrupted more.

The confidence
gap starts early.

Between elementary and high school, girls’
self–esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.