Monday, March 24, 2014


The term "bossy" has really exploded in feminist culture and writings lately. People be like, "That is an inappropriate term for women." (Mainly because, like "bitch," "bossy" is never applied to men since assertive male leaders are just called, like, "president.") Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj and Kelis are making it their own: I am bossy. I am a bitch. That's my right. Worship me. Donna on Parks & Rec compliments or degrades Leslie via Twitter by alternating hashtags of #BitchBoss and #BossBitch.

My jury is still out, but the debate resurfaced a memory I had long buried. It was the summer before 7th grade and my gang of gal pals had spent the day riding bikes and hanging out in various parks. We ended up at someone's house, and I thought it would be fun to do some project. I honestly don't remember what. Something with writing. Everyone was being sort of lazy and not listening--understandable because it was summer vacation. Anyway, the three girls eventually sort of left the room one by one and announced they weren't going to listen to me because I was being bossy.

How was I being bossy? I wanted to know. Tell me what was bossy. I was offering everyone creative equality. "You just were." But I just had an idea of something to do. We were all bored. So I literally found a dictionary, read the definition of bossy, and asked, "What in here? Give me facts."

I don't think they were necessarily wrong, but I know I didn't get an answer, and I'm pretty sure I biked home and spent the night alone. In my middle school gang (there were about eight of us, thick as greek yogurt) people always made fun of me for saying "Can you give me an example?" Like, "Alice, you're always so blah blah blah." To which I would reply, "Give me an example." I still do this, and, come to think of it, it has frustrated people my whole life. That could be "pushy" (one of the definitions of "bossy.") But I'm honestly not trying to be right. I'm not trying to be "bossy" (whether that is a fair assessment or not). I just want to know.

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