So We're Banning 'Bossy' Now?

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
    ˈbôsē,ˈbäs-/
    adjective
    informal
    1. 1.
      fond of giving people orders; domineering.
      "she was headlong, bossy, scared of nobody, and full of vinegar"
      synonyms:domineering, pushyoverbearingimperiousofficioushigh-handed,authoritariandictatorial, controlling; More


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? 

No?

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

#BanEarlySchoolStart
#BanObnoxiousKids
#BanFacebookExecutivesBossingUsAround
#BanBanningStupidThings

38 comments:

  1. A while ago I posted about banning the R word. I would totally love if the media, celebs, and Facebook execs would rally behind the ignorance of using the R word.

    As far as the word bossy, I don't know if it's bannable. I do however feel there is a double standard, women in politics are called bossy and men are assertive.

    XOXO

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  2. I'm far more passionate about the r-word, having a child with special needs and knowing many children who have special needs and have been branded with the r-word. That word specifically relates to years of actual pain to individuals and their families.

    I don't see the double standard as much as everyone would like to push it. I think there is a huge difference between being a bitch and being a leader. I wouldn't called the male equivalent to being a bitch assertive. I'd call it being an asshole.

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    1. Actually Shauna, it's being a Punk Bitch! LOL! And yes, I hate the R-word with a passion. Also, lets ban the word FAT! I like voluptuous a lot better. Hahaha! And my own Mom just told her neurosurgeon that "I'm bossy" could be true... :)

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    3. I'll go with punk bitch and voluptuous! Awesome picks!

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  3. I'm with you on this. I think they are blowing "bossy" out of proportion. Also, it's a great name for a cow... or so I hear.

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  4. Ugh. I want when the p word is used to refer to little children's underwear. Just creeps me out. #banthepword
    Lol.

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  5. I love this. Bossiness is not the same as leadership. Both guys and girls can be bossy, or they can be leaders--and it's good to know the difference.

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    1. No, bossy is NOT the same as leadership and, I agree, it is so important to realize the difference. We can't go around changing the definition of words just to suit a social cause. I think choosing #banbossy as an ad campaign was a terrible idea because it has us all talking about this word rather than the movement.

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  6. You grabbed me at the TITLE!!!! YES YES YES!!! For the love that is all HOLY!!!! We are raising a bunch of wimps..... Deal with it.... I too will call you out if you are being bossy, aggresive, bratty, oh and a Bit*h, I have a teen daughter, I just remind her that being and I say the "B" word I don't say the whole word, is not classy.... She gives me the evil eye.... I worked in an ALL MALE industry, I ran a multi million dollar multi car dealership. I had to be a leader. Was I called bossy, bitch and other not so nice names. Yes, by idiots that didn't deserve my leadership. Was I held back by this or hurt in some way, heck no!!!! No matter your gender you have to have a tough skin to lead. Period!!!

    I nearly skipped to the end when I read this just to comment...ban the words, 'moist,' and 'panties.' I HATE those words, and they are banned in my presence. :) My family loves to say it just to wind me up, and loves to share that those words creep me out....

    Thanks for a GREAT POST!!!!!! Visiting from SITSgirls ShareFest....

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    1. Thanks for visiting!

      You are so right on with this comment! Kids call each other names all day long. Adults call each other names all the time. How can we tie one word to little girls and blame that for self esteem issues? And we're always so concerned with feeeeelings. Let's get to the facts: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE WORD BOSSY OR ANY OF ITS COUNTERPARTS IS AT ALL RELATED TO THE SUCCESS OF WOMEN, LITTLE GIRLS, MEN, OR LITTLE BOYS. Terrible ad campaign.

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  7. I feel like you wrote everything I've been thinking! I've got a ridiculously headstrong...and yes, bossy...4 year old daughter. And I will tell her to her face that she's being bossy and not playing properly. You hit the nail on the head clarifying that being bossy interferes with others being able to make choices. Pretty soon it will be #bantalking because every word will have a negative connotation! I have no worries about my daughter being held back by being called bossy. It's a character builder to be called out on negative traits and to figure out how to turn them into positive traits. And THAT is what I want my children to learn - not mere avoidance.

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    1. I think we might have the same 4 year old!

      Yes. Lets #bantalking, #banoffending, #BANALLTHETHINGS!!!

      We shouldn't be changing the definition of bossy. The whole campaign is about little girls feeling silenced. But bossiness silences EVERYONE involved. It's about how you treat people. I wouldn't call a little boy bossing kids around a leader. I'd call him a little jerk.

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  8. Love this. My child is bossy. Someone used the executive leader potential politically correct crap once, I rolled my eyes. My child is a boy so I guess I disproved their premise or I am a rebel.

    Instead of bossy can we ban food porn an nomnom?

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    1. Ha ha! Yes. Let's ban the both of those. Can we also ban excessive selfies? I can't with those. Your child is a boy so he should be silenced so that little girls can lead. {eye roll}

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  9. I'm bossy and proud of it. I've certainly never been held back from doing anything I've wanted to accomplish by someone calling me bossy. If I had a daughter and she was bossy, I'd tell her to use her powers for good and not for evil. Excellent post. Stopping by from #SITSSharefest.

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    1. Wait a minute. So you were able to accomplish things even though someone called you bossy? What?! Unheard of.

      "I'd tell her to use her powers for good and not for evil." Yes, yes, and yes.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I agree. I blogged about this too. My daughter is BOSSY and I tell her so. And she knows it ;)

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  11. Awesome post. You just said exactly what I've been thinking about the BanBossy ridiculousness. I get the idea behind it, but I'm not loving the execution of it. Powerful women like Sheryl Sandburg and Beyonce should use their influence for something more important and just lead by example. Also, doesn't "bossy" pretty much just mean "like a boss?" Which might not be a great thing if you're a little kid, but would be a perfectly good thing if you're a grown-up?

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    1. Yes! Perfectly acceptable as an adult, totally different meaning as a child. But I still contend that being bossy at all is not the same as leadership. Nobody likes being bossed around. But being led by a good leader is something entirely different.

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  12. I love you! I agree completely. I am fine with being bossy, but I'm not ok with being bitchy. We want our bossy girls to learn to hone that energy and refocus it into leadership. I think we can do that!

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    1. Exaaaactly. Thank you for seeing the difference. Turn it into leadership. Let's not just call it leadership for the sake of avoiding hurt feelings or low self esteem, which, again, are uncorrelated to the word in the first place.

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  13. I think we all just need a little tolerance. I'm mostly a live and let live kind of person - you do what you want and I'll do what I want and we just won't bother each other about it. I think that would be an easier way for people to get along. #SITSharefest

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  14. I agree bossiness isn't a bad thing, unless a child goes wild with it. The child that goes wild with it simply needs guidance on how to present their ideas in a more tactful manner. Same thing goes with adults.

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    1. Yes. It's a behavior in children that actually alienates other children and silences them. It is important to redirect it, like the commenter suggested above, to leadership rather than encouraging crappy behavior.

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  15. Awesome post! I found your blog through the SITS link up day and was interested just by the title! I think it's ridiculous that a campaign like this is running. I agree that bossy has a negative connotation to it for a reason - if we were to #banbossy I think the younger generation would become even brattier and undisciplined than it is now.

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    1. Preach, girl. Let's just encourage bad behavior so we have even more entitled brats who feel a sense of self importance without accomplishing a thing.

      Thanks for stopping by and agreeing with me!

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  16. This is the first I've of heard of this #BanBossy nonsense, and nonsense is exactly what it is! I wish people would use their soap boxes for actions that matter, instead of making up a cause to eradicate a benign word from the American vocabulary! How about focusing on the already important causes our world is facing instead of making up a cause to put your name on for publicity? *sigh

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    1. I totally agree. Let's choose benign words to stand behind. Not real, actual causes.

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  17. I agree on #BanMoist. I also don't understand why we need to ban everything that is "hard" for little kids to hear. I was a bossy little bitch and I was told that on the daily and that didn't stop me from being bossy. At. All. There's a study that says if you tell kids they're smart all the time even when they don't do anything to deserve it it actually doesn't make them smarter, it makes them lazier and more anxious when they're taking tests. You know where I'm going with this? Yep. #BanSmart

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    1. Ba ha ha ha ha ha! #bansmart I call for a rename of this campaign! Best comment of my life.

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  18. WHOA, Jennifer Garner? Sorry to just focus on that but I love her. She doesn't strike me at all as the type of person who would get into something so dumb and third-wave-feminist. BanBossy is so stupid and pointless. It's just a woman who wanted to gain some publicity and a bunch of bored feminists who helped her get it. and they have no proof whatsoever that it's girls who hear it more, nor for that reason, they just made it up! if anything, it's GIRLS who get called "strong and independent" when they're just bossy and bratty, while guys get called out for it.

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