Saturday, 30 April 2016

Bossy Women

Photo courtesy of PhotoLIBPA

For too many years, I have lived in the shadow of bossy women.

I am certain there are many of you reading this who understand completely. They arrive in your life in roles of authority -usually over yourself. They appear as teachers, nuns, aunties, mothers, nurses, librarians, bus-drivers, sisters, Girl Guide leaders, and so on. You cannot avoid them if you are a child; they are a part of your world.

Somehow, they become just normal, and you adjust and meekly do as told. You learn to refrain from anything but acceptable behaviour. In my case it was part of a British identity, a sort of vestige of the endurance of a nation in the Second World War. 

Growing up, the roles played by bossy women are replaced by shopkeepers, clerks, university lecturers, sisters-in-law and mothers-in-law. Familial female bossy types kept the Family tight,organised and ring-fenced. Everyone knew the rules and kept to them...mostly.

Bossy women did the feminist world no favours -often they were at odds politically anyway. You'd think they could respect each other but no. This confused me for a long time. 

Outspoken did not always mean right. Angry did not always mean correct. Clever, was what I liked. I admired the calm, measured responsiveness I witnessed in the teachers around me in High School teaching.

It took me years to undo the haughty style I defaulted to when annoyed at school. I learned from the clever as well as women. I abandoned the brittle examples I had been surrounded by as a child and practised counting to 10 before replying to a barbed comment or a wind-up from a disruptive student or parent. I remained calmer and got through the day with better energy.

Looking back this was all so simple to see now but somehow at the time one is held in the grip of a jealous, controlling, roiling (as in jam), endurance test.

I walked away from all that...and went knitting.

I have to admit, that while I tried really hard at being calm in teaching, it did not work all the time. That's when you need support because you are standing up to something far larger than you can manage and you are a bit-part in it all.

Back to the cleverness. Now, I am no fan of our present government, but one of our ministers, Paula Bennett (-can be a bit bossy sometimes), has just recently dealt a blow to the blokey-jokey slogans art-worked onto rental camper vans so popular with young back-packer tourists. She is clever. Sure, she is working her behind off to prove herself because that's how our PM runs his cabinet, but bless her, she has done what other male ministers before her ought to have done.

And to finish, a paeon to Victoria Wood. She knew about bossy it's the librarian.

Take care,

Fiona MacBride

Tin Shed Yarns

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