According to the new, trendy site, BanBossy, we oppress girls:
When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.
Statistics at almost every graduate school in the country show more women than men in their programs, so I'm not sure how oppressed girls are in most schools. From my school days (yes, rather hazy) girls who were smart were impressive -- to both boys and girls. I can remember who they were, and they were quite popular. And then there were girls who were bossy.
I can remember one girl in particular from my elementary school (she got to announce the arrival of each bus after school) and we didn't like her attitude. It had nothing to do with being a leader or speaking out, it had to do with manners and how she treated the other kids. I think most in our class had the sense to understand courtesy, kindness, and talent.
I agree that "bossy" is reserved for girls and women, but it doesn't refer to their leadership skills or self confidence. As long as boys and girls are taught mutual respect (allowing boys to be themselves, not predators-in-the-making) all should be well. But consider what Christina Hoff Summers says about the reality:
Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities. “Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” says psychologist Michael Thompson. “Boys are treated like defective girls.”
These “defective girls” are not faring well academically. Compared with girls, boys earn lower grades, win fewer honors and are less likely to go to college. One education expert has quipped that if current trends continue, the last male will graduate from college in 2068. In today’s knowledge-based economy, success in the classroom has never been more crucial to a young person’s life prospects. Women are adapting; men are not.
At this point in time, girls are swimming in self-confidence, while boys are being passed over and becoming discouraged. Let's all work on living virtuously, and perhaps we'll discover that it's bossy feminists pushing grrl power programs that have kept the boys from succeeding as they used to.