I recently heard about the “Ban ‘Bossy'” movement and I really have mixed emotions about it. I was called “bossy” as a young girl plenty of times, and yes sometimes I was offended by it. I wouldn’t say it changed my personality though. If anything I was just more polite in my bossiness. “Please do this.” And now that I’m a grown woman, I’m glad I was “bossy.” Being “bossy” has taken me place, given me opportunities and respect because I can easily step into the role of a leader.
I understand the purpose of the movement but I don’t think the means are tailored to the ends. In other words, we’re going about this in the wrong way. Let’s change the connotation of the word. By banning it, we simply give the word more power. Instead, we need to revamp the word “bossy.” Let’s redefine this for the new generation so that it’s a compliment to hear it. Bossy means being assertive, speaking our mind, defending yourself, leading, standing up for you beliefs, etc. These aren’t bad things so why are we teaching young girls that they are?
Banning a word isn’t the step that we need to take. One of the tenets as to why this movement is happening is because girls aren’t taking on leadership positions. So banning the word “bossy” will make girls want to be leaders? I doubt it, if anything it will have the opposite effect because in order to be in leadership positions, you often have to have the traits that are considered “bossy.” I will teach my daughter how to be bossy without being demanding or condescending and how to use her voice for all the right reasons and I will tell her that being “bossy” is being strong and it is not a bad thing. And if she wants to call someone bossy, I’ll tell her to explain to them that she means it as a compliment but use the word sparingly because not everyone will understand it. People call me bossy and I say “Damn straight.”
Let’s revamp the word bossy for our girls instead of banning it.