Have you noticed how much flack the word “bossy” has been getting lately in popular culture? “Bossy” has become a word to almost exclusively describe women, or more precisely, women in power, and evidently it is discouraging girls from taking on leadership roles. Who wants to be called bossy? Or take on the negative connotations of being pushy, stubborn, or “too aggressive” that the label communicates? I don’t necessarily disagree with its opposition. But it’s interesting how central the word has become, receiving mention everywhere from books written by women in leadership positions talking about their process (or struggle) of rising to the top, to PSAs featuring celebrity spokeswomen, aiming to urge girls to pursue key positions who might be afraid to take on such a label. Is the word really that scary? The most recent appearance of the anti-bossy movement is the #BanBossy campaign created by Girl Scouts and Lean In. They got a slew of amazing women involved to help spread the word. Check it out below:
Men are rarely, if ever, described as bossy. Instead, we call them leaders and admire their capabilities to make important decisions for the group and themselves. But why does gender have to come into play here at all? I say, we don’t need to ban the word “bossy” but we do need to use it appropriately, and take the gender out of it altogether.
I suppose if modern culture doesn’t find that possible, then this #BanBossy movement is onto something. But until the label disappears completely, which will take time if it ever does, girls need to remember there are worse things to be called than bossy, so shake it off and keep doing your own thing. If you are strong and capable and interested in leadership roles, the world needs more of you. Period. And as much as I love the idea of Sophia Amoruso’s book title #GIRLBOSS, I’d love it even more if one day there is no distinction. A woman who leads is simply just… the boss.