BlogHer has started a new trend on the internets, partnering with LeanIn and the Girl Scouts, this time taking aim at culture for calling assertive, strong, confident women-leaders “bossy”.
The argument is that assertive men or boys aren’t called “bossy” so girls shouldn’t be either. It also makes the case that this is “society’s” way of keeping women quiet, demure and in the shadows, where they can’t bother our patriarchal system.
Sorry, everybody, but I’m calling B.S. on this one. Calling someone out for “bossiness” is not only healthy, it’s essential, for girls and boys, and I am not interested in neutering language because a word has been misused. We’re fast approaching a societal climax in which no woman can ever be criticized for anything lest she point her manicured finger and scream discrimination.
The fact of the matter is, fellow women of the world, we can be shrill, bossy, know-it-alls. I get fired up and I blurt out aggressive statements that may not be tasteful, I have been known to boss my loved ones around with impunity. When I do so, they are absolutely right to tell me to stop being bossy. The world is all too full of people with much to say and no time to listen, and so we’ve convinced ourselves that our feelings, our approaches, our beliefs and our personalities are all that matter. Anyone who sees our assertiveness as bossiness needs to be banned! Anyone who doesn’t appreciate our inherent leadership qualities must be silenced! We are women, and how dare you insinuate that we handle any situation with any less than ultimate charm, strength and grace?
This is foolish. We are not exempt from criticism because we are women, and neither should we be. If anything, we should relish such feedback because it allows us to grow and become yet better versions of ourselves, women who can persuade and lead without being bossy, winsome ambassadors who win hearts and minds instead of bullying the opposition into silence.
If we are truly strong, confident women – leaders of today and tomorrow – the light criticism of “bossy” should not bother us. We should take what wisdom we can from it – throw away what is not helpful and grow from what is. We should not work to blot out yet another word from our language, banning yet another sentiment from an already dwindling and faltering politically-correct vocabulary. I’m an assertive and strong woman, and I’ve been called bossy a time or two. But you know what? I deserved it. I should have bitten my tongue and I needed to be called out on my shrillness. Sorry to say so, BlogHer, but you do too.