Thursday, March 13, 2014

Things That Annoy Me Thursday: Banning The Word Bossy

Have you heard about the campaign to ban the word bossy? (No? You can click here for more information.)

It's a nice idea, don't get me wrong.

But I'm going to continue to use the word bossy.

My daughter...she's bossy. And you can throw in words that mean the same thing: executive decision maker, outspoken...but it all means the same to me: bossy. Is it fair that boys are called leaders whereas a girl is labeled as bossy? No. But if the kid is okay with being called bossy, does it matter? Does the word need to be banned?

I agree that it's important for girls to have high self esteem. So many of them begin to think they are fat or ugly at such a young age. This makes me sad.

But telling them not to use the word bossy isn't going to help in my eyes.

Praising them will.

I tell my daughter daily that she's smart and pretty and to ignore anyone who says different.

"There's a boy at the park who calls me ugly. I tell him at least I don't smell like feet," Natalie told me once primly.

She's called bossy many times during the week. From me. From her daddy. From her brother. From her friends. Does it bring her down? Nope. She'll sometimes just be like, "I just know what I want to SAY!" Other times she's all, "I'm bossy because I know what I like."

How is that a bad thing? She knows what she likes! Isn't that confidence?

You know what words should be banned?



TOTES (people actually say "I am TOTES excited." No.)



Oh, did I say that already? I really abhor the word selfie.

Bossy can stay.

Great campaign daughter is BOSSY.


  1. I really don't get the whole thing. There's a nice concept behind it, but it just doesn't make 100% sense. It feels like an issue is being created where there really isn't one. Boys can be bossy too. To me, there's a difference between being bossy and being a leader.

  2. Just had this convo last night with a friend!!! We ALLLLL grew up with the word "bossy", and we've all turned out just fine. People need to quit nit picking little things!!!!!!

  3. I totally agree with you. I think by trying to ban certain words it gives to words more power than they had before. I'm bossy, and pretty much ok with it.

  4. I agree with you, bossy is a much better word than some going around!

  5. The point is to acknowledge the double standard. Girl Scouts winds up under fire every time it empowers girls to do something. The campaign is to help people realize that it's not OK to label a girl as a bitch or mean because she takes charge (which are used interchangeably with bossy, which is what's used when they're kids) but to recognize there's a difference. It's beyond just the word, and to the behavior that comes with calling someone that.

  6. Cray Cray is heinous.
    I think there is a difference between acting like a leader, and just plain being bossy. Like my daughter ordering us around in a rude way? I'm sorry but any executive leader acting like that should be instantly demoted. Or rotten-tomatoed.

  7. Ugh, it's really annoying when someone comments and I can't answer. Angel, in case you return, yes, I like the idea of the campaign. I like the Girl Scouts. But banning a word isn't going to help. However, the people who came up with the campaign are smart: look how many people are talking about it!

  8. Has she read the picture book "Bossy Dolly?" Its cute and it was one of Jaina's favorite books when she was younger.

  9. sounds like your daughter has a lot of confidence and silly words arent going to bring her down...let her be all the bossy she wants!

  10. Love this.

    I hate totes and adorbs and cray cray. I'm okay with selfie, but only in moderation.

    I call my oldest son bossy quite a bit. Because he really does get bossy, especially with his brothers.

  11. Agree with this! All of this! Well, not the part about your daughter being bossy because I've never met her but I'm taking your word for it because my daughter is also kind of bossy. And you know what? It's fine.

    Cray cray needs to be banned IMMEDIATELY. Horrible, awful phrase.

  12. I'm bossy. It's never held me down or stopped me from kicking A at life.

    I only use selfie ironically.

    Adorbs, totes, hubs: all make me want to punch.

    I only use Cray Cray when I reference my dog: Mae Mae Cray Cray because she is completely insane, but that doesn't rhyme.

  13. I see what you mean about the campaign. They probably substituted "bossy" for "bitch" because they couldn't use such a word in a campaign.

    If I could, I would ban the word "panties". Something about it makes me want to throw up. Can't we all just say "underwear"? Must there be a distinction?

  14. I love love love this post! So true about bossy but you are even more on the money about the selfie and totes abd cray cray!!!

  15. I don't see the point in banning the word when its already firmly embedded in our language!

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

  16. Haha, I'm with you on Totes. Lena said that the other day and I had to have her explain it to me. Apparently is something that use all the time on Austin and Alley. Silly me!

  17. I agree! They want to change the word bossy to assertive but that's not always the case. Some kids (or adults) are NOT being assertive (which is positive) they are being bossy (which is negative). Yes, we need to stop calling strong, opinionated, assertive (all positive) women bossy but when someone's honestly being bossy we shouldn't praise that and call it assertive.

  18. I just love the blogging world because it knocks sense into me. When I first read about that campaign, I'm like, "yea, you're right. we should ban that word!" and then I read your post about your opinionated daughter (whom I love and wish I could be more like) and I'm like, "yea, you're right. we should ban the word selfie instead." I did use "adorbs" a few hours ago though. Sorry.

  19. I'm anti all the same words as you. Totes makes me cringe. And love that your girl knows what she wants!

  20. i'm going to be straight up here: i think too many parents shelter their kids. they think that by banning certain words or not letting them see or do things will help them grow up to be a great person. NO. WHAT *WE* DO will help them grow up to be a great person.

    maybe i'm too much of a realist but i don't shelter my kid from the world. i let her experience frustration and anger and doubt. of course i'm there for her but these are feelings that she has to learn how to deal with. i help her sort through them but for the most part, we encourage her to resolve things on her own, to think about what she's feeling and why.

    we don't ban words. we freely use proper words, bossy is one of them, but we don't use them in a malicious manner. kayla is bossy. so am i but there's a right time to be that way and a wrong time. we teach her when it's inappropriate to be bossy. i think it's best not to shelter our kids but to teach them how to behave and when certain behaviors are appropriate or not.

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

  21. AGREED! I really don't know what is going on with this generation! I grew up with the word bossy, and nothing is wrong with me. I'm a LEADER! I never took anything negative from the word bossy. I really don't know what direction we're going to be headed in the next decade because everything is being nit picked and it drives me crazy!

  22. Sounds like just another excuse to create web hits on an article.

    And yes, my daughter IS bossy. To me, what that means is she tries to order all her friends around, to do her bidding and doesn't take their input. Then she gets in a snit when they don't all comply with her directives. I call her The Dictator...because, seriously kid?

    That's NOT being assertive or leadership, and I will call her ass out on it.

  23. I agree. Bossy is no worse to me than saying someone is talkative. WHO FREAKING CARES!?

  24. I completely agree about the word drives me insane! My niece says it all the time and the worst part is that after being around her for a while I've caught myself saying it then proceeded to look around the room and make sure no one noticed!

  25. I'm with you on banning Totes and CrayCray!!!
    My husband says CrayCray just because he knows it drives me crazy - I cringe every time! And, my sons with text me #totes for the same reason!!!
    Even with a good concept, I think trying to ban a word is craycray!!! Never going to happen!!!

  26. I don't get all the hate for the word bossy either. But I totally hate the word selfie. Did you hear the #selfie song? It's vile!

  27. I completely agree I actually like the word bossy and I like when little girls are it. You know why because it means they are confident and smart....nobody is going to push them around. So I agree let's start with banning stupid phrases like totes and cray cray....if I never hear those again I would be quite alright!

  28. Boys are bossy too, how is this a girl word? I think this campaign is a waste of money and time. I have a very bossy 11 year old, he's also a know it all.

  29. This campaign drives me nuts. We need to quit babying this next generation. If they are going to be a leader they need to have thick skin so words like bossy don't have a negative effect on them. But we are teaching kids to not have thick skin. Blah. Over it.

  30. Words only have the power that we give them. If you are going to get your underpants in a wad over a certain word, that's your problem. Banning words is a dumb idea and doesn't actually accomplish anything!

  31. I guess I must have missed something because I didn't know the word Bossy was being spread around like a camp fire. I mean I don't think I use it on a regular. I guess other words could be used but I always liked playing the "Because I said So" card. I hated it my mom used it on me and yet I get such pleasure using it now.

  32. I know a lot of little girls who just want their way and they are bossy, they aren't leading the other kids they are bossing them.
    I can't stand the word totes. Hate hate hate it.

  33. Awesome.

    Great campaign, terrible execution. And ironic that those peddling this word re-definition are powerful women.

    Leadership is NOT the same as bossy. I was semi-attacked on fb for my blog post about this issue and studies were cited and then I was called uneducated, small minded, and underdeveloped.

    None of which change the fact that bossy means bossy. Not leadership. And there are ZERO studies linking bossy to low self esteem. So this campaign is basically promoting silencing a word in order NOT to silence little girls? Sounds legit.

    I don't mind the word selfie but I hate the actual activity. Could we meet in the middle and ban both?


    P.S. When you mentioned your little girl said she "likes what she likes," it sounded familiar. I just read a Things That Annoy you post and you said the exact same thing about using real spaghetti. I guess she gets it from her Momma! :-)


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