Been ruminating on Sheryl Sandberg et al’s efforts to ban the word “Bossy” from the lexicon in describing women. I understand trying to take away the stigma that women cannot, and should not, be leaders because it somehow makes them less likable or feminine.
But I think this endeavor is really too simplistic. Let’s say they are successful, and bossy is banished. What about the other words that get tossed and stuck on female leaders: bitches, ball-busters, domineering, and even worse stuff. To me, bossy is way less offensive than the other words women such as Sandberg, Condoleezza Rice and other leaders have been stuck with. Look at all the nasty words that get hung on Hillary Clinton.
The idea is more of a sociological change of how we need to approach girls and women. We can be smart. We can be leaders. We can be pretty. We can be athletes. We can be math nerds. We can be stay-at-home moms. We run the gamut.
Kids, hanging the “bossy” label on girls at at young age, learn this from home. You are only popular as a girl if you act “like a lady”, aka defer to the boys. The whole pink princess thing, which seems to be more popular than ever, predicates that you be the damsel diva in distress waiting for Prince Charming on his white horse. It’s more important to be liked for being pretty than smart or a leader. That’s the ideology that needs to be changed. And that starts at home, with the adults in the boys’ and girls’ lives. They need to break through the way they may have been raised, and go beyond the old school of gender norms. Do better. Be better. Promote your child’s full potential, no matter the gender.
We ultimately put ourselves in boxes. Kids have no boxes to put others in, until we, as adults, give the labels to them. Let’s banish the bossy idea, so that the words really don’t matter anymore. They’ll be useless.