One of the fears that set in my heart after we found out we were having a little girl was just how much people are out to get little girls. I don't mean physically (though that is a big concern too) I mean how hard girls have to fight to get fairness. How harshly girls are judged. How much peer pressure is on young girls today. So many fears regarding Bee being a girl. I could give a hundred examples of things we've already run into because "she's a girl". Now, I'm not the type of parent to place gender stereotypes on kids. Boys can like pink and playing with dolls as much as girls can like blue and playing with trucks. Boys can like long hair, girls can like short hair. I'm a very accepting parent and as long as Bee is happy with who she is, it doesn't matter to me.
There was something said to me at her school last week and it's kind of irritated me a bit. I put this question to you. When have you ever heard of a little boy being referred to as bossy? I can pretty much guess you've never heard it because it's one of those "girl words" where as the same behaviour in a boy would be considered leadership skills. I was informed that Bee was being bossy, at first I talked to Bee about it, I wanted to hear what she was feeling or her thoughts were because I won't tolerate her being rude or mean to other kids, but thats different than being bossy. The next day I picked her up, they again mentioned it so I asked them if they could give me an example. This was there example, she was playing with another child and directing the child as to what to do. Now, I asked for further examples because that to me could have been part of what they were playing, that to me could have been her taking a leadership role.
I wasn't there so I don't exactly know what happened but each time they mention it to me, I ask for the example and each time to me it just sounds like she is playing and taking initiative (I've also witnessed said behaviour when I was there the other day, again she told her friend to give her something but in a playful lets do a puzzle, forgot to say please kind of way and thats what I continue to see, she is forgetting her manners of please and thank you, just like any other 3 year old) . This is a perfect example of how we are out to get girls. I won't punish Bee or talk to her about taking initiative or taking the lead, I will talk to her if she is being rude or mean or demeaning to another child because that is not okay, but there is a difference. However, the difference is only seen for little boys. They are never referred to as bossy. In all my 15+ years of working with children I have never heard a little boy being called bossy, I've heard he has strong leadership skills, he likes to direct others but never bossy. I have heard little girls refereed to as bossy many times so what's the difference?
Just because one has a penis does not give him the power to look at that personality trait as positive and just because one has a vagina should not make that same personality trait a very negative punishable thing (at least in our society) But why? Why does my child get labeled with all these negative personality traits when the exact same behaviour in a boy gets labeled as positive?
This, this was one of my fears and still is raising a girl. Adults in her life will be out to get her simply because she is a girl. There is no doubt in my mind Bee takes leadership and maybe the other kids want that. Maybe they seek guidance in her. Bee is a very strong willed person, she likes it her way so I'm not denying she may take a lot of initiative in play but it doesn't mean she is bossy. Kids interact and play on a level we as adult don't really understand.
There are times when I look to other adults when it comes to leisure play because I am quiet, I am shy, I am a follower and take action after the leader. Even in the workplace I am like this. It's my personality. I look to others to tell me what to do, kids do to.
But why, why is the word bossy only ever reserved for girls? Why is that the same trait is seen as strength, taking initiative, providing guidance, helping others etc when it comes to boys? That is what bothers me.
I talk to Bee about being rude, mean, telling others what to do, but I don't get the sense she is actually being "bossy" one thing because I think that word is a load of bullshit and another, I see her take initiative in playing and there shouldn't be anything wrong with that. Now, if she told her friend to sit down, while they were playing, and her friend said no and she told her to do it again then that would be an issue. That would be mean and rude and hurtful to our friend and that's not okay. But if she is playing house with her friend and passively says sit down and we can eat, I don't see the issue with that. It's directed play, it's not different than when the teacher tells them to sit down so they can eat snack.
Oh and she's 3 for fuck sake. She still has a lot to learn when it comes to being a person so excuse her for forgetting her please and thank you's but that does NOT mean she is being bossy. If that was the case than 99% of the world could be labeled as bossy, well only those with vaginas because it's only a girl problem. Stop labeling negative traits on our young girls. Stop labeling those same traits in a young boy as positive, I mean how messed up is that?
P.S. I am not one of those moms who says oh my kids, never, I'm the perfect parent my kid would never do that. Kids do stupid things, kids are young and they still need to learn a ton. That is why I keep asking the teacher to give me examples and I got to see first hand the other day what she was talking about and it was simply Bee forgot to say please. She wasn't demeaning, she wasn't demanding, she wasn't rude so no, I won't talk to her about it because all I need to say is, remember to use your manners. Simple as that. Save the word bossy to describe your boss, not little girls.