My daughter can be bossy and I will continue to tell her so. And when my son is bossy, I will tell him also. Guess what? When my daughter thinks I am bossy, she tells me too. Most of the time, it’s because I am being bossy and I want to tell her that’s it’s because I am the boss. Honestly, it’s far better than being called a different 5 letter B word that I think is more detrimental and meant to be hurtful.
If you haven’t heard yet, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and some other highly successful women have joined together and are telling us to “Ban Bossy“. The irony of them telling me to ban something is not lost on me, it’s pretty bossy. Here is the message of the campaign: “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: Don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys — a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.” Seems like a pretty good message right?
The message suggests that because girls are called bossy they are going to be discouraged from being leaders, from asking questions and will have low self-esteems. Does bossy equal ambitious? or strong? or brave? This video suggests so. I am not so sure I am on board with that way of thinking.
I personally do not equate “bossy” people with being great leaders. A great leader has the ability to communicate and delegate, they have creativity and a great attitude and they are able to direct without, you know, being bossy.
One of the catch phases of this campaign is “Change the Words. And We Change the future.” Sounds wonderful. I wish it was that easy. You can “ban” or change words but really does it change anything? Nope. A rose by any other name…. right? Maybe instead of a campaign to ban a word, more energy should be focused on nurturing and bringing out the leadership qualities in girls, instead of putting blame on a word that some may or may not find hurtful.
That being said, I do love the purpose of the campaign. This campaign continues the conversation about how we view women and leadership. Girls should be themselves, be strong, brave and leaders. Should girls be encouraged to strive for leadership positions as much as boys? Absolutely! Is banning a word going to do this? I don’t think so. What needs to happen is a whole social shift in they way we view women in leadership positions.
Yes, my daughter is bossy. But she is also creative, hilarious, a free spirit, helpful, empathic, beautiful, loving, brilliant and strong. I am going to encourage my children to use all of their wonderful attributes to accomplish their dreams and strive for whatever their hearts desire. Hopefully I do a great job of this as their mother, that they grow into confident young adults and don’t need to be protected from “bossy” or any other 5-letter word. If she wants to be a CEO or another high level position, she’s going to go for it regardless of what she called. And hey, if Beyonce and Condoleezza Rice were called bossy, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if my kids turned out half as successful as them.
Yes, encourage your little divas to grow into leaders if that’s what they want but while you’re at it, teach them to rise above words. There are going to be lots of bumps and turns on the road to adulthood, let’s get our children prepared for whatever comes their way. Speaking of Diva’s, I hope the next campaign isn’t to ban that word, they might not be able to find any strong female celebrities to star in the video…