It’s interesting how much ruckus the #BanBossy movement has stirred up.
To me, it’s very simple. #BanBossy is not about encouraging or tolerating bossy behavior in little girls (or boys). It is not about equating bossyness with leadership (actually, the message is the opposite). It is not about saying that everyone wants to be CEO. It is not about banning a word without addressing the behavior.
It is not about the word.
It is about how the word is used.
To me, #BanBossy is not demeaning girls for the same behavior we admire and encourage in boys, simply because they are girls. It is about telling boys and girls that your curious inquiry is welcome, that your thoughtful ideas are needed, that your appropriately shared dissenting opinion is important. It is about sending the message that your dreams are valid (whether or not they seem possible today) and your goals are worth striving for, regardless of whether you are a boy or a girl.
And, yes, it is also about saying that little girls can grow up to be women who can be the boss without being bossy.
boss-y [baw-see, bos-ee] adjective, boss-i-er, boss-i-est.
given to ordering people about; overly authoritative, domineering.
Today, I am thankful for the #BanBossy conversation.
True conversation creates a platform for discovery. A willingness to respect – while not necessarily agreeing with – the opinion of others is part of the engine that moves civilization forward. Conversation unites us and highlights our differences. It challenges us and comforts us. It opens doors before us and closes doors behind us.
Engaging conversation is good exercise.
It has been interesting to read some of the reaction to #BanBossy. It is clear that some people did not go to the website and explore the great resources for girls and those of us raising girls. Some people are against the concept simply because of the celebrities affiliated with it. Some people on both “sides” of the movement are so sure that their world view is “right,” they aren’t listening to the other side of the conversation at all. And still others have offered interesting and thoughtful commentary, trying to open hearts and minds to yet another view.
The conversation will likely linger for a little while. Who knows what will change, but change begins with awareness. I’m sure that passionate opinions will continue to be shared, at least for the short term. And, hopefully, meaningful discourse will take place. For now, though, whether we do or don’t agree with #BanBossy, can we agree on and commit to this:
Encourage and support little girls and little boys to reach for and grow to their full potential and however they choose to apply that potential to make a positive impact on the world.