Bossy is an adjective that has often been used to describe me in my 39 years. I have never been quieted or shamed or discouraged by this word. Instead, I happily and proudly claim this description. And quite frankly, it's true. I am bossy.
In my mind, I don't consider it to be a negative descriptor. Instead it's a mark of a strong, determined, stubborn, thinking, deliberate, sassy person.
And yet, there is a campaign to #BanBossy; that is, there is an idea being circulated that we should stop using the term bossy when describing girls who are headstrong, opinionated and well, bossy.
It all started when Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and Anna Maria Chavez, the CEO of the Girl Scouts, decided that calling girls bossy "discourages them from being assertive, confident and opinionated." They are apparently of the opinion that girls who are called bossy can be left with emotional scars which deter them from seeking leadership roles later in life.
I'm simply not buying this argument. In fact, I think it's a lot of poppycock.
I am willing to bet that both these executives who happen to be females were and are called bossy (at the very least) and were clearly not deterred from climbing the corporate ladder. I am also willing to bet that these women are determined, opinionated, stubborn, quite intelligent, and at the risk of hurting their feelings, bossy.
I think it is this very trait of being "given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering" (as defined by dictionary.com) that helps to propel girls into leadership roles. In my opinion, bossy girls are often also full of ambition and ideas and moxie.
Bossy girls are not prone to being wall flowers or little ladies who merely stand behind their men or automatons who simply go with the flow because that's the way it's always been. Bossy girls come up with new ideas; bossy girls are confident; bossy girls lead soldiers, volunteers, corporations, families, students, cities, states, countries; bossy girls dig in, stand up, do what it takes and refuse to back down when passionate about a cause; bossy girls stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves; bossy girls stand up for themselves.
Bossy should not be interpreted as being a "mean girl" or a bully. Bossy girls are strong and stubborn and confident and don't need to belittle or hurt others to feel secure in who they are. Bossy girls know who they are.
The photo is from my second birthday. My mother had made a Noah's ark cake for me. I am there in the brown dress, clutching my baby doll. You can see the boy to my right, sticking his finger in the frosting and me raising my hand and my mouth open. I can only imagine that I am telling him off as a 2 year old bossy girl can do. I have always been proud of this photo and another one that I couldn't locate that showed me really giving him a look as he continues to pick at my cake.
I was a very shy girl, but that did not stop me from being bossy and standing up to those who needed a bit of "ordering about," and it didn't stop me from trying out for parts in plays, running for student council or always standing my ground and pursuing my dreams.
This bossy girl has held a number of leadership roles, organized all kinds of groups, activities and events, has spoken in front of small and large groups, stood up for those who could not, always spoken the truth from the heart and never been at a loss for words.
To tell the world that girls can't take being called bossy only weakens their position, calls into question their ability to lead and be authoritative and gives the perception that girls must be treated differently than boys and handled with kid gloves.
I reject this idea. Girls are stronger than that. Bossy girls can take being called bossy. And girls don't need special treatment.
We have been fighting to stand with the boys and be treated equally for generations. Why on earth these female executives would call into question how this non-gender specific word is applied to girls is beyond me. Bossy girls don't need to be protected from this label.
I wear the bossy badge with pride and confidence. Even my boys know I'm bossy and they respect that and take pride in it, knowing that mama will always step up and take on a cause or an argument when the need arises. And this gives them the confidence to be bossy too. Anyone can be bossy.
So, I say embrace bossy. Over and out…