Think how many boys or men you’ve heard called “bossy” in your life. Probably few to none. Now add up the times you’ve heard that term applied to women in the office or girls in the playground, especially little girls. Bet you can’t count them all.
“While all kids can be bratty, selfish, and get angry, bossy has an insidious gendered quality to it,” says Schreindl.
Once upon a time, says Jessica Schreindl, she too was called bossy, so much so that her father warned her that she would probably wind up unhappy in marriage unless she learned to zip it up. Now, she says, twenty years later, she is unmarried, with a master’s and a successful career in political fundraising. She is the boss. Strangely, though, she’s no longer called bossy by anyone. Now in her thirties, another “highly gendered, even uglier, word” seems to apply.
And yet, “I didn’t feel bitter, I didn’t even feel angry,” Schreindl insists. “If anything, the angst and rage I felt as a youth had calmed into a more nuanced and understanding perspective on life.”
Bitter. Bossy. Nasty. Bitch.” Take each, Schreindl urges, as a compliment.