My 30 second caffeine gulping this morning coincided with Good Morning America’s preview of a new campaign to end the word “bossy.” Female celebrities and politicians and businesswomen flashed across the screen and the GMA anchor teased the segment that would land somewhere between my explanation of the necessity of toothpaste and why two socks are always better than one.
I kept thinking about this new campaign because there had to be more to the story and since more to the story would likely air while I was sandwiched in the kindergarten drop-off line, I had to resort to Google after I got home.
The CliffNotes version for people living under the same rock as myself is this: Huge forces have joined together to stop the use of the word bossy because it’s condescending to girls everywhere. We should teach them to be leaders and not stop them from being the boss.
I get this. I do. Women and men should be treated equal in leadership roles. We should be paid the same, in salary and respect.
But do we need a campaign for this? Do millions of dollars need to be spent on a website and a social media campaign and celebrity endorsements?
I can think of so many words that should be banned. I’m sorry but bossy just isn’t one of them. I get that it has an annoying connotation and it’s generally used in relation to girls not boys but really can we pick one of the ten gazillion other causes out there and divide the celebrities and money among them?
Let’s end the trafficking of girls and decrease their suicide rate and pour even more effort into stopping them from being harassed at school and home and work. We don’t need a new campaign. We don’t need to shine a light on something else that is cracking. We need to fix what is already broken.
My girls might be bosses some day or they might not. They might need to work on being part of a team more so than how to lead one. They might head into job interviews without a thought that they could be discriminated against because they are female. I hope they do.
Somehow, I don’t think we will look back at a shift in how women are treated and thank Beyonce or that day in history when we banned the word bossy. Just like every other cause that doesn’t demand a massive media undertaking, this one will fade away but the money spent will already be gone.
And the causes that truly need it will still be waiting in the wings. Maybe we start with basic human rights first like food and shelter and safety. Then we can work on the truly offensive and demeaning words that are entrenched in our society. If those needs are met and those words are banned then we can worry about who’s bossing around who and if we can remove the word from my kindergartener’s vocabulary.
My suggestions might sound bossy and you can even tell me that. I won’t be offended.
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