Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

You know those stereotypes about girls and women:  vindictive, catty, controlling, and, earlier this year, bossy. . .  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they are based on characteristics that a lot of women share.  When the whole “bossygate” thing was in the press this year, I was as indignant as the rest of them.  Why are woman considered bossy when men with the same style are leaders?  That’s outrageous!  Right?  Well, yes, that’s right as long as we’re talking about a good leadership style and fostering a culture of accountability plus strong teamwork.  But a lot of women behave badly.  Men do, too, of course.  Bad behavior is equal opportunity.  But in my experience, most of the time you know that a man is behaving badly so you can prepare for it and defend yourself.  Women have this unfortunate habit of passive-aggressive manipulation.  Whether in friendships or in the boardroom, their targets often don’t know what hit them until after it’s all over.  I’ll take a bombastic, screaming a**hole over a subversive, smiling bitch just about any day.

Why is this such a common trait in women?  I wish I knew.  I’ve been a member of the species all my life and I just realized that we aren’t going to grow out of this.  Seriously, for a long time I thought that the junior high behavior was just hanging on longer than it should.  But after a friend of mine shared yet another story of her women “friends” behaving badly, I reluctantly concluded that this is just they way a lot of women are.  They stir things up, look for the negative, magnify it, and turn it into something it should never have been.  Obviously, we should all be caring, supportive and constructive with each other.  And every so often, in work-life or in life-life, I am happy to observe someone who knows how to behave.  Someone who is all of those things, and is also able to hold herself and others accountable in a straightforward way.  It’s so refreshing.

I’m outing myself.  I have been guilty of bad girl behavior from time to time.  I’m a work in progress and I hope to be a better friend, boss, wife, mom and example of how not to be so mean.  I may still be bossy, but in a good way.

Come on, ladies, admit it.  Junior high wasn’t all that great . . .


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