March 10, 2014

Bossy’s Ban On Ban Bossy

As some of you may have heard because a Ban Bossy avalanche fell on your Monday morning, Sheryl Sandberg launched a campaign to murder a word.

If you don’t know Sheryl Sandberg because you’re buried under an avalanche, here’s a brief tutorial: she was always at the top of her class, graduating from college with the highest distinction. She served as Chief of Staff for the Treasury and then Vice President of Operations at Google where she initiated the site’s philanthropic arm. Now she serves as the Chief Operating Officer of a little online project that rhymes with SpaceTook, and has firmly landed on the Time 100 list of influential people, her estimated worth at over one billion dollars owing to various stock holdings.

Compare, if you will, Bossy, who was also at the top of her class, where top equals peering down from her near six-foot frame. And like Sandberg, Bossy graduated from college with distinction, which in this case refers to the distinction of not finishing her Bachelor’s degree until seventeen years after she began chasing those bachelors.

Bossy then launched her own online project that should have been named I Am Boozy, where Bossy also initiated the site’s philanthropic arm, referring specifically to her right arm holding the paint brush that paid for her wine.

Bossy also firmly landed on the Time 100 influential list, by which she means the 100 times Bossy landed firmly while under the influence (see wine).

Like Sandberg, Bossy also served as Vice President of Operations, including one operation to remove varicose veins and one Operation Dysfunctional. And finally, Bossy’s estimated worth is also owing to her various stocks, which mostly boils down to chicken stock, although doesn’t completely rule out vegetable stock.

So what is the Ban Bossy campaign about? According to Sheryl Sandberg, when a little girl is assertive, she is called bossy. But when a little boy is assertive, he is called leader.

Bossy took great interest today in all of the little girls now women who are standing with Sheryl Sandberg in admonishment of having been referred to as bossy, including three world leaders, two Supreme Court Justices, two Presidential candidates, two members of Congress, a CEO, a First Lady, a successful publisher, and Beyoncé.

Looking at the lineup of women, Bossy wondered how many other adjectives they have in common. Because if bossy is a descriptor these powerhouses share — a confidence of personality that propelled them to such greatness — then maybe the more liberating thing isn’t running from a word, but owning the grit in its meaning.

  1. 1
    on March 10th, 2014 at 9:04 pm
    devra said:

    I’ve never thought being bossy was bad. EVER. I think of it as being a bad ass. As you are. :) xxoo

  2. 2
    on March 10th, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Sorry, I don’t want to ban Bossy

  3. 3
    on March 10th, 2014 at 9:58 pm
    Ranck said:

    You go bossy! Well, no don’t leave. Stay and yes be bossy. By the way, boss, when applied to the auto is tres chic. Or the music. Or the sophisticate women when viewed from a construction site. Boss is good across gender and grammar.

  4. 4
    on March 10th, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    It’s so true! Strong women are the B word and strong boys are leaders! Buncha bull. Down with “Bossy”—->>> unless it’s our Bossy, she can stay!!

  5. 5
    on March 10th, 2014 at 10:19 pm
    The girl who sits next to bossy! said:

    So well said, my friend, SO WELL SAID!

  6. 6
    on March 10th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    With all due respect to Ms. Sandberg, banning a word is just plain STUPID. It takes away from the true goal: banning the name calling behavior.
    What’s next? Banning the name “Dick” because it also refers to men who behave like assholes?
    Personally, when I hear the word “bossy”, the first thing that comes into my head is a lovely, tall, and tremendously talented woman who I admire deeply.
    So there.

  7. 7
    on March 11th, 2014 at 12:07 am
    Mary K said:

    Remember how well Prohibition worked? Book bans?

    I expect nothing more or less from this ban. Don’t ban the Bossy… Embrace her, er, it!

  8. 8
    on March 11th, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Well done. Isn’t it the intent rather than a word that causes the most harm? How about we set an example and just be more kind to each other, stop taking things so personally, and not make our sweet kids submit to even more rules. Adults can be weird.

  9. 9
    on March 11th, 2014 at 7:06 am
    Kate said:

    What I wrote on Facebook about this:

    “Let me tell you about banning bossy. If you don’t want girls to be called bossy, find more accurate adjectives to describe them. There are hundreds of thousands of words – nobody is compelling you to use any of them if you feel they are ill-fitting. Making words the enemy (unless they are truly freighted with the baggage of being racist, incendiary, etc.) because we are not willing to really do the work of thinking before we use those words* is not the best idea.”

    In other words: Don’t be lazy with language.

  10. 10
    on March 11th, 2014 at 12:11 pm
    dobes said:

    Wow. Once again, we prove that, as women, we really are our own worst enemy.

    Ms. Sandberg et al. are just trying to make people think before they use negative terms to describe women or girls who are starting to take on leadership roles. Can’t we support the spirit of the thing, if not the way they’re going about it?

  11. 11
    on March 11th, 2014 at 1:05 pm
    Duke Steele said:

    So, this CHICK, wants the word bossy to be banned. And how is she getting her message out? By being bossy. Hypocrite much, Bossy?

  12. 12
    on March 11th, 2014 at 1:32 pm
    Adia said:

    wow, how are people so stupid? she never once said to literally ban the word. it’s just the title of the champaign, you’re supposed to read between the lines. it’s just to get the message that there are double standards for women and men and it starts at childhood. girls are discouraged from being assertive while the same is not done to boys. next time, think before you call girls names for doing the same things boys do. it’s really simple people!!!! stop making up your own facts.

  13. 13
    on March 11th, 2014 at 1:32 pm
    Adia said:


  14. 14
    on March 11th, 2014 at 1:57 pm
    kurt said:

    Oh for crying out loud. Let’s ban the word ban.

  15. 15
    on March 11th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Hilarious! Thank you Bossy for giving us a fresher and much less “reactive” take on the kerfuffle about the word ban. You hit it perfectly!

  16. 16
    on March 11th, 2014 at 3:47 pm
    Jamey said:

    Yeh, banning any word seldom leads to anything but trouble. Boss on, Bossy. If Sandberg’s so brilliant, let her find another way to flog her book.

  17. 17
    on March 11th, 2014 at 6:29 pm
    Olivia said:

    Olivia has been called “bossy” since the day she was born.

    And she wears it like a badge of honour.

  18. 18
    on March 11th, 2014 at 9:24 pm
    GrandeMocha said:

    Get your Bossy on!

  19. 19
    on March 12th, 2014 at 1:38 am
    Lynn said:

    Bossy, I have been periodically catching up to your blog for what seems like eons….but apparently of late I have been living under some avalanche that I wasn’t aware of, because I just read this entire post and have absolutely no idea what the hell you are talking about.

  20. 20
    on March 13th, 2014 at 4:57 am
    Virginia said:

    If they don’t like the word then don’t use it. A for the majority of us women that don’t have ‘issues’, bossy doesn’t bother me at all. It is a word that until now wasn’t a BAD word.

  21. 21
    on March 13th, 2014 at 10:19 am
    Mike Nelson said:

    “Ban bossy” > Bossypants!

  22. 22
    on March 13th, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I’m envisioning a town hall meeting where slowly, each of us stand in our righteousness and declair, “I am bossy.” This will be proceeded by a smattering of applause that becomes a standing ovation. And then we all dance like we’re at the Footloose prom.

  23. 23
    on March 13th, 2014 at 3:03 pm
    Vicki V said:

    When I saw the article in Parade, I felt confident that you would comment in your own way. :)

  24. 24
    on March 13th, 2014 at 4:37 pm
    Joan F said:

    It pains me to say it, but we all know it’s true: SOME WOMEN ARE BOSSY. And NOT in a take-charge, task-oriented, lets-get-this-done way but in a manner that demeans the women working under them. There is nothing worse than working with a women – especially if it’s in a voluntary position – who, because she has been with an organization longer than you have, treats you like a) you have NEVER had responsibility before and b) you don’t have a brain in your head.
    It’s all in the delivery and the sooner these bossy women learn this (which they will never do) the better the workplace will be for all women.

  25. 25
    on March 13th, 2014 at 10:22 pm
    rod munch said:

    What a menstruational bitch

  26. 26
    on March 14th, 2014 at 12:13 pm
    norm said:

    I know I immediately thought of BOSSY when this Sandberg thing started rolling around and I was pretty upset. I am TEAM BOSSY.

    I also like the “don’t ban bossy, be pro-assertive” response to the campaign.

  27. 27
    on March 14th, 2014 at 3:02 pm
    mom101 said:

    I want you to add a like button so I can like this but then am I supporting the Ban Bossy movement indirectly?

    I’m glad there’s some attention being paid to how we use language to define women in negative ways. But can we start with ho or bitch or slut first? How about “gay” for boys? Just a thought.

  28. 28
    on March 14th, 2014 at 6:52 pm
    zidia said:

    in the 50’s and 60’s, the brave and brilliant Lenny Bruce taught us that the best way to remove the onus of a word, whether political, pornographic, or scatalogical was to simply keep saying it until it loses its importance and “substance”–unfortunately, in those days he would end up in jail for his courage—but History has proven him to be correct as we all know now that any words are allowed in our Society.I’m with you on BAN!!!

  29. 29
    on March 14th, 2014 at 6:53 pm
    zidia said:

    by the way, I’m Bossy,too—–when the fancy takes me!

  30. 30
    on March 14th, 2014 at 7:21 pm
    Ali said:

    Sounds like a ton of hype by this lady. Not impressed :p

  31. 31
    on March 14th, 2014 at 9:04 pm
    KathyB said:

    Knew you would have something to say, and made me smile hard. Keep on educating everyone buried under avalanches as only Bossy can do so well. In charge, as it were.

  32. 32
    on March 15th, 2014 at 9:43 am
    Margaret said:

    I don’t want anyone telling me what I can or can’t say. That’s just BOSSY!

  33. 33
    on March 15th, 2014 at 8:34 pm
    barry buchy said:

    Go, Bossy!!! Just heard the radio piece – intelligence, grace, wit delivered with focused , ASSERTIVE confidence. Proud of you! Proud to know you too! Very happy that there is a real person out here ‘mongst us all, defining just what it means to live Bossy!!! xx

  34. 34
    on March 16th, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    This just seems like a lot of energy that could be better spent elsewhere. I’ve been bossy since I was born and it’s worked out pretty well. I could get behind reframing what “bossy” means, but I’m not a big fan of banning things–in fact, I think that’s bossy in the wrong way.

  35. 35
    on March 16th, 2014 at 4:21 pm
    amyp said:

    I heard Bossy on NPR this morning, and loved what she had to say. I’m not a fan of banning things. Perhaps, if we want to ban words that are damaging to girls, we could ban the words PRETTY or NICE or the phrase GOOD GIRL. I think that women have been more hurt by the culture of these words than being called bossy.

    I can admit to a little pang of hurt when someone compliments my appearance rather than trying to engage in a real way. I feel like saying, “I’m more than that.”

    How about “Love Bossy” or “Be Bossy” instead?

  36. 36
    on March 16th, 2014 at 9:15 pm
    Helena said:

    Go Bossy! What a great analysis. And a great interview on NPR today.

  37. 37
    on March 17th, 2014 at 9:38 pm
    George said:

    Trying to set the table for Shrillary, that’s all.

  38. 38
    on March 18th, 2014 at 9:58 pm
    Ally said:

    I disagree, Bossy. The word is used as a perjorative; it’s used only when describing females, and usually as an allusion to the take-charge girls of our youth. I understand that we’re trying to do a flip on the word by using it as a badge of honor (I myself have been called ‘bossy’, usually by men who worked for me, but that was to see if I would back down. nope.) It’s like being called ‘uppity’, as if we don’t ‘know our place.’
    Even you, yourself, Bossy, likely call yourself that because someone said it snidely to you.

  39. 39
    on March 19th, 2014 at 2:13 pm
    Jeff J said:

    Boss is a term in the Military that engenders a lot of respect in the Military. I heard you on the Radio today . I agree with you if Sandberg has a problem with one word it’s a reflection of her insecurity.

  40. 40
    on March 19th, 2014 at 4:53 pm
    Stacey said:

    I am reminded of a news story many years back when a woman started a campaign to change the word “hello” to “heaven-o.”
    I am not making this up.
    I think bossy and hello are here to stay.
    Thank god.

  41. 41
    on March 19th, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    She reminds of the Tiger Mom. Rowr. Hiss.

  42. 42
    on March 21st, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I so agree with you! Wrote about the same thing:

    I wasn’t bossy growing up. I was a true “good girl”…I’m better now…a recovering good girl!

    A lot of us – like you and me – worked hard for the title of “boss” and we didn’t get there by being passive or complacent.

    Talking about this on my radio show today…posted a link to this page on my website.

    I’m embracing Victorious [bossy] Woman!

  43. 43
    on March 21st, 2014 at 5:52 pm
    bossysMom said:

    There was a great piece on this very controversy by Martha Raddatz on March 20. (I believe on HuffPost.)
    She is someone to be admired in every way. She is on the front lines and in the trenches.
    She says, “Embrace Bossy”. Of course.

  44. 44
    on March 23rd, 2014 at 2:15 am
    grumpygramma said:

    ‘Bossy:given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering.’ There is nothing assertive about an overbearing man or woman who treats their workers as slaves.Sounds like she needs to learn the difference between aggressive and assertive…

  45. 45
    on March 23rd, 2014 at 10:03 pm
    Marinka said:

    TeamBossy here

  46. 46
    on April 2nd, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Feminazis Trying To Ban The Word “Bossy”

  47. 47
    on April 3rd, 2014 at 9:38 pm
    Lorinda said:

    Nobody likes bossy people, even though we all love Bossy! Bossy people are obnoxious.

    I HOPE I have raised my children (both genders!) to be good LEADERS.

  48. 48
    on April 3rd, 2014 at 9:40 pm
    Lorinda said:

    Ad FYI- the latest Little Rascals movie that just came out on DVD had a whole story line about Spanky (BOY!) being bossy and getting booted from the group, then the gramma figure gave him a talking to about how nobody likes being bossed around. So let’s stop the “it’s only the girl” ridiculousness.

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