Getting rid of the word "bossy"

By: Kaitlyn

As most of you probably know by now, I love words. Words are the single most powerful thing in the world. And while I love words, there are a few words that I absolutely hate (hate being one of them).

Some of these words include retarded and gay (used in a derogatory way). Originally, I was going to write a post about how I despise the use of the words gay and retarded in today’s society (and that one might still be coming), but then the LeanIn.org tweeted this video.

 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dynbzMlCcw&w=560&h=315]


I knew I had to write something about this. Because “bossy” is a word that I cannot stand for. Growing up, one of my best friends was labeled “bossy” all the time by others. And I didn’t really look into it much; I just went along with it because, yeah, sure, she was bossy. I didn’t see anything wrong with that. She always spoke her mind, she wasn’t afraid to present her ideas, and never filtered herself.

I was the opposite of her; I was shy, was self-conscious about my ideas and never actually said what was on my mind. Hanging out with her, made me a stronger person, and I am so grateful for that today.

I thought it was pretty cool that she was what others called “bossy” and I didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that she stood up for herself or with that word. Until I realized that other people were using that word to bring her down. It wasn’t a compliment.

In the past few years of my life, I started to notice a trend. Every strong woman I worked with was either called “bossy” or “a bitch”. The strong men I worked with were called “strong” and “leaders”.  Other women were guilty of saying to each other, “You’re too bossy,” telling other women in their lives that they shouldn’t be strong.

It’s been bothering me for a long time now. So you can imagine my excitement when I first read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg last summer. Finally, here was a woman that was articulating everything that I had experienced in my life and telling the world what I had been trying to say (ineloquently) for years.

The #BanBossy campaign is a start to end what this word has labeled and done to women for so many years. The simple word bossy has told women time and time again that they should back down; don’t give your opinions, don’t tell people what to do, don’t be a leader. Bossy has told women for too long that we cannot acquire the title leader or the adjective strong.

So let’s get rid of it. Let’s make it possible to be labeled strong and to be a leader with no negative adjectives attached.

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We're Sarah and Kaitlyn, roommates from Milwaukee who started this blog to promote creativity and life.
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