I’m the bitch you love to hate
I’m the chick that’s raised the stake”
– Kelis Bossy
“Na, na, na, diva is a female version of a hustla
Of a hustla, of a, of a hustla
Na, na, na, diva is a female version of a hustla
Of a hustla, of a, of a hustla
– Beyonce’ Diva
Ok, ok, ok, I am the FIRST to admit, when these songs came out I was the MAIN one quoting the lyrics on social media…even now, when these songs pop up on my Spotify, I will crank the volume in my 2012 Civic ALLLL the way up to 40. BUT there is a deeper issue here that people are only just now tapping into.
Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, along with several big entertainment names such as Beyonce’ and Victoria Beckham, have launched a campaign to BAN the word Bossy.
When I first heard of the campaign, my first thought was “Really though?” *with my Day-Day face*
How could the word “bossy” or any of the other words sometimes used to describe an “in charge” woman such as “Diva” or “Bitch”, be considered harmful enough for people to feel the need to ban their use? Obviously Bitch is profanity and has negative roots when referring to a woman, but what about the other words?
What’s The Fuss?
According to Sheryl Sandberg,
“We call girls bossy on the playground,” Sandberg said. “We call them too aggressive or other B-words in the workplace. They’re bossy as little girls, and then they’re aggressive, political, shrill, too ambitious as women.” (ABCNews)
As I stated initially, it sounded ridiculous. But when I thought back on my own experiences, Sheryl’s words ring true for me. I was quiet as a child, but when I hit my late teens and found my voice, I didn’t know how to (and still do not know how to) shut it up. Because of my “take charge” attitude and my “hustle” as it were, I became involved in a lot of endeavors, from modeling, to promoting, to doing some light PR and marketing work, to competing to be the next Face of my local radio station…eventually I enlisted to fight the good fight as part of the military. In all of those areas (besides the modeling), I often found my greatest competitors to be men. I also found myself being in charge of men in some way, shape of form.
None of the other women who were involved were as “ambitious” as me. I was referred to as “a pitbull in a skirt” at one point. It would puzzle me why none of my female peers felt the need to step up and compete and then I discovered that they didn’t see themselves as able to compete, often falling into “supportive roles”. Word got to me that men don’t like aggressive, competitive, ambitious women. Luckily I didn’t care enough to pay attention.
Anyway, I also noticed that my male counterparts and subordinates didn’t take me as seriously as they would have a man in the same position. At times, I had to go tell another man to tell the first man to do something I really should have been able to tell him by myself. Words like ‘bitch’, ‘bossy’, & ‘mean ass’ got thrown out. Had I been of a weaker constitution, I might have avoided being involved, falling into a supportive role myself.
But I find that sort of life…uninspiring, at best.
I wanted to be in charge, coordinate team efforts, run the show! I wanted to be bold! I wanted people to remember me not for my looks but for what I did! But at the end of the day, I’d have some guy hit me with “Ugh, why are you so bossy?” or hear whispers along the lines of “She’s such a bitch.” And TRUST ME, it’s not just men that engage in this behavior. I have had many women resent me for taking the reigns, and use the very words that are holding all of us back from reaching our potential. Women who would probably say I am over reacting to the situation. Women who have likely never had any real leadership positions.
That mindset is dangerous because it UNDERMINES the mission. When people don’t take their leader seriously, they don’t take their mission seriously and it all goes to hell. But most of all, that mindset is dangerous because it causes women to feel as if they have to “fall back” and play a supporting role. They don’t want to be the person developing ideas, they don’t want to be the one who has to tell someone what to do because “that’s not very ladylike”… Competing is unladylike…Wanting to be at the top is unladylike. Instead of people advancing and progressing, we are held back because someone didn’t want to open their mouth for fear of being considered “Bossy”. Let’s look at the word “bossy” compared to “boss”:
Meanwhile, the “Boss” label gets applied to our male counterparts. They get terms like “assertive” and “leader” to describe them. This of course encourages the behavior in question…I have very rarely seen a man given the term bossy or called a “bitch”, usually because it’s a desirable trait for a man to be “assertive”…Not so much with women.
You see, it is not the word itself, but the mentality and connotations behind it that make me cringe. Someone who is bossy gets all of the “eye rolling”…No one messes with “the Boss”. So before you dismiss this as a bunch of “feminazis” being sensitive, consider these terms, REALLY let it marinate. Realize that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We can build people up or break them down with only one word.
Let us use our power to encourage, instead of discourage!
Until Next Time, Remember….
I’m Not BOSSY…I am a BOSS.