Queen bee. Ruler of the bees. The solo reproductive female in a colony of honeybees. Or, according to online encyclopedias: “A woman or girl in a social circle that dominates or is controlling in her position. The alpha female. The ‘leader of the pack.’ She ascends over her peers, influencing decisions and commanding her rule.”
This is not an uncommon tale, and it most definitely exists in many realms. I know I have had my share of queen bees in my lifetime, throughout my formative years mostly. Perhaps it is a developmental notion, a way for youths to create social structure and find order in their heady, bumbling world.
Dominance and control happens everywhere, and the fact that there is no such name for the queen bee’s male counterpart is interesting, at the very least. The term implies bossiness, maltreatment, corruption. The queen bee idea is imposed by young adult films such as Mean Girls, where she is to be feared, lest you suffer her incomprehensible wrath. You must remain on her good side or she will tear you down. You must do what she says. You must be her minion.
Except you don’t have to.
The term “queen bee” does not have to be a threatening thing. It doesn’t have to mean a reign of terror. A woman ruling is a beautiful and powerful idea — it actually needs as much light as we can give it. Except instead of ruling others, instead of controlling a group or domineering a social structure, how about we are the queen bee, ruling only ourselves? The queen of our own life, the queen of our own parlours, our own choices, our own timeframes. We sit on our thrones not to dominate others, but to shine as leaders of our own fate. We stand tall when others sling harmful words, confident in our power. We shine when we take the podium, the stage, or even the sidewalk. We let pettiness roll off our backs and we rule with kindness and courage. We listen to all people because real queens are wise, and they know that in order for people to hear us, we too must perfect the art of truly listening.
Real queens know that we are never truly powerful by controlling — we are powerful because we never stop learning. We are beautiful because we are real, not because we build a version of ourselves to suit anybody else. We understand that we do not need to dominate in order to be loved. We do not need to instil violence or fear in order to rule sufficiently. We are respected because we respect others, and because we respect ourselves.
For want of a less cheesy quote, I have always — since I was a girl young enough to be influenced by my peers — found this quote to be of happy help. It was spoken by Sara Crewe, the brave and adventurous little princess who loved magic and who believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that all girls are beautiful, talented, unstoppable. She knew that being a princess didn’t mean sparkly pink dresses and a prince — it meant having the heart of a warrior. And she knew that girls didn’t need to rule one another at all, because given the platform to unite instead of compete, these girls would someday grow from princesses into queens.
“I am a princess. All girls are! Even if they live in tiny old attics, even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young, they’re still princesses — all of us!” — Sara Crewe
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com