2016 Update: I am a feminist. One day, I hope to write more about this, the process of learning new information, understanding who I am and what it means to be a feminist, and that we all grow and change and that’s okay, but today is not that day. So for now, I’ll settle for a quick update that is easily digestible to say that I was wrong before you read something I wrote several years ago.
Shit’s about to get real here, people. I have a confession.
I’m about to admit something that makes me feel shameful. And weird. And like I really am not allowed to say this on the internet.
I’m afraid I’m about to get some hate mail up in here. And that terrifies me. A lot.
But I’m going to do it.
I’m going to admit…
That I am not a feminist.
The reason I feel so ashamed to admit this is that I feel like I SHOULD be a feminist.
I’m a lady. I’m a hard-working, strong, competitive lady. I have a job. I have a life. I have confidence. I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am. I know what I want and I say what I feel.
Except when it comes to admitting that I. Am. Not. A. Feminist.
Because I’m afraid of what the world will think.
It’s hard not to identify as a feminist. Because everyone’s a feminist these days. Except me. Sure, I care about women and equality. But I don’t think that’s what feminism stands for right now. What I see is feminism attempting to squash men and be their superior, not their equal. And I can’t get behind that. So no, I am not a feminist. I’m a humanist. I believe in the rights of every single person on this planet. And the ability for every single person to have opportunities. Because THAT is what we should be about.
Last year, at BlogHer, I couldn’t sit through Cheryl Sandberg’s chat. I just. Couldn’t. Because she didn’t make me feel empowered. She made me feel like I should stomp on the hearts of men until they hear me roar. I walked out.
And I felt judged for walking out. And for not joining the “Lean In” buzz or the “Bossy” buzz. That’s how feminism makes me feel: Judged.
I thought that after a few weeks, the buzz would die down. I thought after a few weeks, I wouldn’t have to hear about how little girls should NEVER be called bossy.
I was wrong.
Months later, here I am…boldly stating that I was bossy. Because there is a campaign to #banbossy. You can’t BAN a word in the English language. You can’t STOP people from using it. And you certainly can’t REPLACE it with a word that is NOT its equal. Especially when being bossy is something that is real. And yes, it’s got a negative connotation…but it probably should. Because above all else, being bossy is not an attractive quality in a man, woman, or child.
I was bossy. I sometimes still AM bossy. And that does NOT mean I have executive leadership skills. That means I have a flaw that I need to focus on bettering.
Of course, because I am bossy, does not mean that I lack executive leadership skills. I have them despite my occasional bossytude. My executive leadership skills come from my ability to LISTEN to others. To take ADVICE. And to work WITH others in a TEAM setting and not DEMAND that they do as I say.
I was a bossy little girl. I wanted everything done my way. I didn’t listen to reason. Or logic. Or my mother. I wanted what I wanted and I didn’t want to think about anything other than the word, “yes.” I wanted to play Barbie or the Game of Life or watch the Zombie movie (Night of the Comet. It’s on YouTube. Look it up. You’re welcome. Sort of) or watch Labyrinth. And I did not want to listen to anyone else.
My poor brother received the brunt of my bossiness. I made him play Barbie. And a game I invented called “Little Things” where we had to get all of our little toys out into the hallway and match them up in like a cage match type thing. I was a strange child.
I can still sometimes be bossy. Like when I tell Brian that he should fold my laundry. (And then he doesn’t, because he shouldn’t, because that’s MY laundry.) Or when I tell my mom that she should cook something in a way that I cook it, and not the way she has cooked it for the last 30 years. (And then she doesn’t, because she shouldn’t, because it’s HER cooking.) Or when I tell my co-workers that they should do something my way. (And then they don’t, because they shouldn’t, because it’s THEIR work.)
But this is something that I’M working through. I have some OCD tendencies. That makes me meticulous, but it also means that I have to actively take note when my OCD tendencies are making me bossy. Instead, I try to give others a chance to voice their opinions and speak up. THAT is what a leader is SUPPOSED to do. Sure, I’m not perfect and I mess up sometimes, but that’s MY goal. To be a true leader.
And I know bossy little boys. And I know boys who grew up into bossy men. And that’s not leadership. It’s not attractive. It’s not desirable. I have a partner who listens when I talk, voices his opinion, and expects me to give him the same courtesy in return.
So I’m going to try to forget I saw anything about this #banbossy campaign, but if you’re down with it, I won’t judge you. Please don’t judge me.
I’m confessing with Kat from Vodka and Soda (mostly because I’m really thirsty after all that ranting!) with #HumpdayConfessions. Now THAT’S a hashtag I can stand behind.