I know I’m going against the grain with this comment, but I have to admit it: I have no problem being called bossy. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t labeled with that term. As a child, it was used when I voiced my opinions on what to play at recess or how to build our clubhouse in the summer. As a teen, it was thrown my way when I would tell my brother how to best fold clothes or inform my mom which flowers should be planted in what pots in the spring. It seems to be a word that has followed me around since the golden age of 5, and while many would think that it hindered me and my growth, I couldn’t agree less.
About a month ago, the Lean In organization teamed up with the Girl Scouts of America to promote the “Ban Bossy” campaign. Recruiting the likes of Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, and Beyoncé, this campaign (the PSA for which is at the end of my post) was designed to combat the variances in attitudes toward gender we see at such an early age, attitudes that, in their minds, continue to hold women back and push men to the forefront. And I get it. When we teach our daughters that “bossy” holds a negative connotation, they are going to automatically shy away from being labeled as such; however, for me, it held the exact opposite meaning.
Even when I was young, being called “bossy” never swayed me to stop speaking out. Why? I honestly can't tell you - it was a long time ago, people. But what I can say is that as Igot older, bossy came to mean something entirely different than what most people translate it as. For me, it meant I had an opinion on something, and I wasn’t afraid to voice it. It meant that I had conviction and could make decisions when no one else wanted to speak up. And who knows? Maybe I felt that way because I had an ego as I was growing up. Heck, I always thought I was right and knew best, and I wasn’t scared to inform others of it, either. But that’s what we need to teach the young girls of today.
“Bossy” will never be eliminated in our vocabulary – it’s just too ingrained in our terminology to completely lose the word to the ages. Instead, we need to show our daughters and nieces and little cousins that being labeled bossy stands for more than the negative tone it now carries. It means that you are smart enough to think on your own. It means you aren’t afraid to voice those opinions to anyone. And most importantly, it means you have the capability to lead, to empower, to inspire. And that’s something to be proud of.
So watch the video and tell me what you think: ban bossy or be proud of it?
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