So We're Banning Bossy Now?

3 years ago

One morning last week I grabbed my coffee and sat down in front of my laptop with the morning news mumbling in the background. Business as usual. 


I think it was a commercial I noticed. Ban bossy. I saw Condoleezza Rice and Jennifer Garner. Even Beyonce. I only half listened. Again, business as usual. I was trying to wake up for crap's sake. And if we're talking about banning something could we maybe consider banning school starting before like 9 o'clock in the morning? 'K, thanks.


Anyway, as I'm half listening I glance over my Facebook feed and see a few hashtags for #BanBossy. Hey! Wasn't that just on TV? What's this all about?


So the gist is that the word 'bossy' holds a negative connotation when a little girl asserts herself. On the contrary, when a boy asserts himself he is called a leader. 


Okay. To me this sounds like the age old cliche for adults. Only replace 'bossy' with 'bitch.'


Sheryl Sandburg, a Facebook executive, is leading the charge against this word 'bossy' and the Ban Bossy website mentions all kinds of facts and figures about self esteem and leadership, none of which have been studied and proven to correlate AT ALL with the word 'bossy.'


And I guess calling a little girl 'bossy' keeps her from becoming a leader. Or something. Says the FEMALE FACEBOOK EXECUTIVE. Who gives TED talks. Who was apparently called bossy one time. Looks like it really held her back.


Hey, guess what. I was called bossy. I was an older sister and I bossed my sister around a lot. A LOT. I was bossy with my friends and I had bossy friends who bossed me around. There were little boys who I guess you could call bossy but, looking back, I think more appropriate terms would include 'obnoxious,' 'head strong,' or even 'aggressive.' I wonder if those words would have hindered their leadership skills. Maybe we should consider banning them. In fact, let's start a list of words we should ban. 


So, back to me. I was a bossy little girl. And do I think that held me back? Was I silenced? Was being called bossy keeping me from becoming a Facebook executive? Nope. Choices did that. I was more interested in having kids and being a mother. And I have too short of an attention span to climb any corporate or job related ladder. But I knew I wanted to be a mother and everything else could take a back seat. That, I knew for sure. And I boss my kids around all the time. Does that count?


You know what words we should ban? Retarded. Stupid. The N-word. Those words are far more damaging and have a history of oppression. Can we please start campaigns with celebrities and politicians rallying against those words? Oh, we already have a campaign for the "R-word?" But because Beyonce's not pushing it nobody knows about it, right? Okay, now I get it.


Well, since we're banning really unimportant and benign words, let's ban the word 'quench.' It gives me chills and I don't like it. I'm starting it here. #BanQuench. Meanwhile, let's ban the words, 'moist,' and 'panties.' I don't mind either but I hear people overwhelmingly squirm when they hear these words. So since it bothers a few people, let's ban it.


Sound ridiculous? That's because it is.


My daughter is bossy. I would even call her that to her face. If she's being bossy, to me, that means she's being kind of bratty, not sharing, not allowing others to make choices, not being a nice friend. No, it doesn't mean the same thing but the actions go hand in hand.


Google defines bossy like this:


  1. boss·y1





    1. 1.

      fond of giving people orders; domineering.

      "she was headlong, bossy, scared of nobody, and full of vinegar"


      domineering, pushyoverbearingimperiousofficioushigh-handed,authoritariandictatorial, controlling; More












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The definition has a negative connotation because the word is used for behavior that is negative. If my daughter is being bossy, I will correct her. If she's being bratty, I will correct her. Maybe we should start a campaign to ban bratty. You heard it here first. #BanBratty


Am I worried that calling my daughter bossy will hold her back? Not in the least. She is fierce. Too fierce for a word like bossy to shape her future. 


Back to me again. I was bossy when I was little. As an adult, on the other hand, I've been bossed around. And I don't like it. And there is a profound difference between bossing someone around and leading them. 


Can we please focus on leadership programs, strengthening self esteem through actual accomplishment, and service to our fellow human beings rather than banning ridiculous words? 




Then I'm adding to the list of things to ban:






Mom to Gabe (15), Christian (5), and Lola (4)

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