I've been called "a bull in a china shop" more than once in my career. When I mentioned this to one of my bosses, she made the comment - "you realize it's only because you're a woman, right?" So I thought about it for a minute. A man would be told he took charge and had leadership skills, even praised. But not a woman, which is what I like to call - bullshit!
But what exactly is meant by this? Well here’s what I found on Dictionary.com. The idiom “Bull in the China Shop” – Awkward or clumsy person; Inconsiderate or tactless person; Troublemaker, dangerous person.
Excuse me, what?!
So apparently I’m just a complete twit. Not much of a compliment. When someone mentions this to you in a business setting, they are basically telling you to sit down and shut up. Well, guess what, the 50’s called and they want their misogyny back.
But let’s not forget there are more positive associations with a bull than there are negative ones. For example, have you ever heard of running of the bulls? Men are running scared, fighting for their lives not to be gored. I like the notion that men are running scared of bulls.
And let’s not forget the bull market is a signal that the economy is growing and doing well. Like the bull on wall street. I like to think that little girl staring down that bull on wall street is a sign we aren’t taking this connotation anymore as a negative.
We are staring it down and confronting it head-on. I think it’s a sign to us all, that things should change. But how can we do this? Well, I’ve got a few ideas…
Create a personal mindset and mantra – make it a positive one. The phrase “Strong like Bull” is perfect. If someone wants to call you a bull in a china shop, so be it. Remember bulls are tough. They are fierce. They are the symbol of stability, determination, and confidence. So when someone calls you this, thank them. And remind them of what amazingly strong woman you are!
Most know the phrase “Mess with the Bull and you get the horns.” So let’s give them the horns. Don’t hide any of your strengths because others are intimidated by it. Do the opposite and let them shine – polish those horns to a point!
Let the bull loose to create chaos in the streets. Contact Dictionary.com to get the idiom changed. Create a Wikipedia page and address it. In the age of digital technology, we can easily create a new brand for the saying to now symbolizes our strengths, not our weaknesses.
We have to change the perception or notion of this. And if we can change the perception, we can effectively change the reality. At the end of the day, Women Supporting Women – it’s what we should do. Let’s change our reality!
Bull in a China Shop #WSW
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Have you been called a “Bull in a China Shop” or something similar? How did you manage it and what did you do?
Drop me a comment and let me know how you’ve battle misogyny in the workplace. We can make it if we all stick together!