Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg can campaign all she wants about #banbossy. But I'm not jumping on her bandwagon. And it makes me sad that her crusade is giving bossiness a bad name.
I can appreciate the sentiment behind the #banbossy campaign. Girls and women often struggle to have their voices heard and be forceful as leaders, without getting called a far less-attractive B word in the process. But as a lifelong "bossy" girl, I embrace the traits that earned me that label—the stubbornness, the take-charge attitude, the ability to steer even the most wayward project or person back on track. I think I can credit my bossiness for getting me most of my heart's desires—everything from my ability to bend customer service reps to my bidding to my career to my status as a mom. (Trust me—you can't navigate the paperwork for two adoptions successfully without being at least a little bit bossy!) I wear the word "bossy" as a badge of pride.
Besides, some of my favorite pop culture characters are my fellow bossy girls—Hermione Granger, Veronica Mars and yes, even Peanuts' Lucy Van Pelt. (Despite Sheryl's disdain for her, I've always been a sucker for characters like Lucy, with her whip-smart, take-no-prisoners vibe.)
And I'm proud to say that I'm raising two very bossy girls—girls who are unafraid to speak up for what's right, who are excited to share their ideas. (Even if it leads to some pretty heated battles in my house.) We work on how to lead without completely trampling over their playmates or their siblings, and how to harness their bossiness and stubbornness to help them follow their dreams. And when I call my daughter bossy, it's not to punish her—but to tell her that I notice how wonderfully strong she is. Maybe they won't be President someday, but my daughters definitely won't get pushed around.
As far as we're concerned, there are plenty of B words we shouldn't be called—but bossy simply isn't one of them.
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