I now understand that the title of my new children’s story will be rightly attacked by a group of feminists, led by no less a person than Beyoncé. They have called for the word “Bossy” to be banned from all electronic media, arguing that it is part of a male dominated language system designed to undermine the confident self-image of assertive girls and young women.
Seeing the justice of this view, I bow my head in shame. As Hadley Freeman pointed out in the Guardian what are seen as leadership skills in boys can be dismissed in a single adjective where girls are concerned. Hadley does add though that as a child her greatest role model was Miss Piggy.
“The Bossy Princess and the Seven Scallywags” is based on the stories I used to tell our ten year old daughter and four year old son in a desperate attempt to stop them fighting as they sat in the back seat of our car on the long journey between England to Bulgaria. I guess the conflicts between order loving sister and disruptive younger brother led to my fairy tale celebration.
In conversations with my Bulgarian translator we realised that there was no Bulgarian word for bossy. Clearly Bulgarians have anticipated Beyoncé by thousands of years. Perhaps the historic assertiveness of most Bulgarian women has rendered the concept of “bossiness” irrelevant if not tautological.
Well at least if Beyoncé can only read Bulgarian I should be in the clear but should she read the Publisher’s blurb, I can expect trouble.
Meet Smartina, the bossiest of bossy princesses. While her Daddy the King is away fighting dragons, she’s the queen of the castle and her word is law. All too soon though, she is threatened by a rival. Before she can issue a new command she is drugged, put in a sack and left outside a bears’ cave in the middle of an impenetrable forest. Lucky for her that she is rescued by a magic house and garden. But this is where the seven rumbustious little scallywags live – and she will face the greatest challenge to her bossiness. An enchanting tale for 7-11 year olds.