Why I Like Being A Bossy Girl

bossy girls

By Madison Springer

“I like bossy girls. I always have. I like people filled with life.” – Amy Poehler

I was a bossy kid. I know that because many people told me. I bossed around my friends and my sister a lot. I wrote plays and poems and I knew what I wanted them to sound like and I was unafraid of telling my actors what they needed to do to truly bring my piece to life! I remember hearing that word “bossy” as a kid, attributed to me, and thinking it sounded awful. I didn’t want to be labeled as “bossy.” Bossy meant mean, self-centered, stubborn. It didn’t seem like a quality that a girl should have and certainly didn’t seem like a quality a nice girl should have. Somewhere in there I went from being a bossy 10-year-old to a really shy middle-schooler and I don’t think I ever fully recovered from worrying about being too bossy or too opinionated or just too something.

So what are we doing when we call our little girls bossy? Is it a passive verbal warning to get a child to stop taking over all the activities we planned, or do we just think that kids, unlike adults, should somehow cooperate together on an equal field, with no budding leaders or strong suggestions, especially not from cute little girls? I wonder if my teachers had used words like capable, decisive, vocal, excited, or passionate, would those words have left me inspired instead of discouraged? Would I be more comfortable expressing my opinions if I had been told less often to be quiet?

This might not be on par with current opinions on gender equality, but I think that girls and boys see the world slightly differently. Maybe that’s brain chemistry, maybe it’s socialization, probably some of both. But either way, I believe it’s a gift. We have a lot to learn from these differences, but we are under-utilizing one side. We need more girl leaders in the world (see previous blog posts) and I think that starts with the way we treat children. It starts with the words we use to describe them. I want young girls to be capable, decisive, vocal, excited and passionate about what they believe in. I want them to be able to describe and enact their visions with the help of other kids. So let’s stop calling them bossy. I think the word we’re looking for is awesome.

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About Madison

MadisonSpringerPictureMadison is an almost-done graduate student studying speech-language pathology. When she isn’t helping people find their voices, she’s probably watching old ER episodes or re-reading Harry Potter. What she lacks in cooking abilities, she makes up for in killer Bop-It skills. She cares a little too much about grammar and is definitely going to start exercising…tomorrow. Although she’s currently living in Austin, TX, she hails from the Dallas suburbs and harbors a secret wish to drop everything and move to New Orleans. Madison likes to write about girl power, science, medicine, faith, and her current efforts to pass as a grown-up.

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View Comments (3)
  • See, here’s the thing. I started reading this article wanting and expecting to like it. But I don’t, I really have to disagree.

    Being bossy is different from being a leader. That’s why being bossy isn’t encouraged in children. Speaking as a former bossy girl and aspiring leader myself, I see why I was told to stop when I was little–pushing around your friends and ordering people around aren’t the qualities of a leader, they’re rude. Leaders give people something to aspire to, they help them better themselves and they set a good example and encourage people to work together for something better. Bossy people are selfish, they do these things not for other people but for themselves, and speaking, again, as a former bossy girl, I did myself.

    That’s why it’s important to NOT be bossy, because in the real world it’s vastly different than being a great leader and it’s important for people to know the difference.

  • I think teachers could’ve done something to made you feel inspired rather than discouraged, but kind of like AsexualAngel said, I think there’s a fine line between being bossy and being a bully. Bossy people are pushy and I think teachers want to eliminate that behavior before it turns into bullying. Capable, excited, vocal, decisive, and passionate can all be qualities little girls have, yet don’t have to be bossy to possess them.

    I have a 9 month old daughter myself, and every time we’re around older kids, like in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, there’s always at least one girl around the age of 4 (why is it always 4 year old girls?) that try to boss my 9 month old around while I am sitting right there. These complete strangers to us will pick my daughter up, carry her around, take toys away from her, tell her she has to play with *this* toy. And I’m just looking at the parents like “why are you creating this monster?!” One girl blatantly pushed her down because she was trying to play on the same chalkboard as her. Sigh…. This is not what I consider a future leader.

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