August 08, 2019
You Call Me Bossy? I Call Myself a Girlboss, So Deal with It!

She is often called bossy, stiff and harsh for doing the same things that get guys praised as being firm, discipline and honest.

by Nadiah Salsabilla
Issues // Politics and Society
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When I was in my elementary school, I was told that I liked to order people. It was my own teacher who said this, after I told a kid to not yell at a friend just because he spilled his drink. Rather than yelling, I suggested that he got a mop and lent a hand. For that, my teacher gave me a lecture that it’s not good to order another kid to do something.

The next day a girl dropped her set of crayons and a boy told her to stop crying and to clean the mess up. My teacher praised him, saying that he was a good boy.

In high school, people told me that I was too complicated when it came to group projects, because I liked to finish our assignments on time. My friends told me that the world would not end even if we missed the deadline. I chose to think otherwise. But then another friend changed his attitude in group projects to become more like me, and people started saying that he could be a good leader someday, because he had the characteristics.

A friend nominated me to be the head of class, and someone remarked, “A girl for head of the class?” He sighed.

I said “no” to the nomination while laughing.  The next thing you know, of course, they elected a boy for the position.

Also read: https://magdalene.co/story/girl-power-vs-feminine-mystique

All my life I’ve been told that I am too stiff because I always submit my assignments on time. I’ve been told that I’m too independent because I don’t ask for help from others and do things myself. I’ve been told that I’m too harsh with my words when I’m being honest. I’ve been told that I’m too outspoken and that I try to steal the spotlight when I express my opinion. I’ve been told that I’m too ambitious because I have big goals. I’ve been told that I’m impatient with lazy people. All my life, I’ve been labeled bossy.

But guys I know are praised for being discipline when they are on time, diligent when they get things done by themselves, and wise when they are being honest. Their ability to steal the spotlight when they express their opinions are lauded, as are their lofty goals and their assertiveness when dealing with lazy people. People say that they would make good leaders.

Am I too aggressive? Maybe I am. But when a man is being aggressive, people think he’s cool. Am I not sensitive enough? Before I do things, I always think what other people may have been through. I had a writing stuck to my door to remind me that everyone fights their own battle, and it sticks in my head when I am being a leader. On the other hand, when a man is being insensitive, people would call him a firm person.

Also read: https://magdalene.co/story/can-you-be-fair-to-feminists

All my life I’ve been re-evaluating myself over and over – feeling not good enough, feeling not worthy enough, feeling that maybe I am a bad leader after all. And then someone said to me that me being bossy is not what I am. Instead, it is how people label and judge me. I decided that even what people say about me is right, I’m also much more than how they judge me. So I am going to embrace my strength and own it.

They can call me stiff, but they can’t deny my discipline. I’m independent and diligent at the same time because I can do things on my own. I’m wise because I spit honesty from my mouth, even if the truth can be harsh. I claim the spotlight because I can and am not afraid to state my opinions. I am ambitious and optimistic that I can attain the goals I’ve set. I can show my impatience because I am assertive.

 You call me bossy? I call myself a girlboss, so deal with it.

Nadiah Salsabilla is a law student who has always been attracted to gender-related issues. Besides studying and writing, she also do some advocacy work related to human rights issues through campus organizations.