There is a stereotype associated with people who like to share their thoughts on issues they’re passionate about, and when those people happen to be women, a lot of those stereotypes involve the words “bit*h,” “opinionated,” and “bossy.”
In recent class discussion, I began to notice a pattern of thoughts forming in my head before I spoke out to the class. More often than not, I would ask myself questions like, “Have I already talked too much today?” or “How do I answer this without monopolizing the conversation?” Questions such as these are not only toxic to our self-worth, but they diminish our ability to learn to be the best that we can be in a classroom environment.
If your mind is preoccupied with the way others may view you once you share your thoughts and opinions, then you’re not focused on the most important part of the equation – which is the thought you felt so excited to share in the first place. This boils down to the idea that women need to somehow justify their intelligence, curiosity, or passions so that there is a reason for their so called “loud” remarks. Well, I challenge you to ask yourself: who cares if we’re loud, quiet, opinionated, or uninterested? Most things in life are not neutral, so why should we be expected to remain silent on matters that call for our opinions to be shared? In fact, why should our behavior have any kind of expectation to begin with?
While there is a difference between speaking for the sake of talking and thoughtfully responding, I want to encourage all women to allow themselves to have opinions in the most unapologetic fashion possible. The only implications that should come from your commentary are personal enrichment, increased passion, and a more informed view on the issue at hand. Men and women alike need to be encouraging each other not only to speak their minds, but to listen when others are bold enough to do so. Embrace your passions, and whenever smeone tries to call you bossy along the way, keep Queen Bey’s words in the back of your mind: “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”