Feminist media scholar and blogger, filmmaker, political activist -- that's me. My work to educate, empower, and protect women and girls has been a major project of my adult life.
While I am sympathetic of the motives behind the Ban Bossy campaign, I propose reclaiming the rhetoric instead of banning the word.
1. Banning words gives them too much power. Period. And, there are always unintended consequences of such campaigns. Can you imagine the potential parodies?
2. I think it's better to reclaim the word. A student in my media theory seminar told me she's good at her job as coxswain of her rowing crew because she's bossy. I thought, "That young woman is going somewhere and not just on the water."
3. I have never made a distinction between men and women in applying the adjective bossy so long as I can remember. From now on, I am going to make it a point to call more men "bossy" and stick with "assertive" for women until men have achieved parity.
4. If this were a grassroots campaign launched by a 13-year-old in Peoria with a cool social media presence that caught fire, I might be more inclined consider the proposition. Instead, it's a top-down, corporate initiative cooked up by a bunch of people who probably got where they are because they possess a degree or two of bossiness. I mean that in a good way!
5. The first thing I think of when I hear the word Bossy is a milk cow in a bucolic setting. Really. A lot of people used to name their cows Bessie and Bossy, and I am only one generation from the farm. This is the image I see inside my head, and Bossy is cute.