THE BLOG
03/11/2014 04:59 pm ET Updated May 11, 2014

Don't Ban Bossy. Embrace It.

I love that LeanIn.org and the Girl Scouts have partnered to help empower girls and encourage them to lead. I love what they're doing. I just don't love how they've chosen to word their message. I don't like the decision to build the campaign around "ban bossy."

My number one problem with the campaign is that being bossy is not a bad thing. Being a leader is a good thing. Thus, banning a word like "bossy" trivializes the effort in recent years to stop (not "ban") people from carelessly using words in a way that is truly derogatory, offensive and cruel.

Actress Jane Lynch, who is part of the "ban bossy" campaign, is also one of the most visible members of the end-the-R-word effort. And, quite honestly, I think that's unfortunate. If you look at the two campaigns head to head... Well, one seems quite silly in comparison to the other.

And what does "banning bossy" mean? Is a student supposed to raise her hand and complain to the teacher if someone calls her "bossy"? Are we going to hear about some 5-year-old kid getting kicked out of kindergarten because he called a classmate "the B-word"?

The "ban bossy" campaign features bossy AND amazing women like Condoleezza Rice, Diane von Fürstenberg, Jennifer Garner and Beyoncé. (Condoleezza Rice is the former Secretary of State. I assume she's quite bossy. And I mean that in the best possible way.)

Instead of having the powerful women talk about "banning bossy," I would have liked a still simple and hashtag-able campaign such as, "#IAmBossy" or "#ThisIsBossy" or "#DontYouWantToBeLikeBeyonce?" or "#BossypantsIsOneOfMyFavoriteBooksEver."

It's easier to change how WE react to a word than to change words that OTHERS use. The message I would have preferred is: take "bossy" as a compliment. Hillary Clinton is bossy. Oprah is bossy. Tina Fey is bossy. Sheryl Sandberg is bossy too. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

This post ran on Mammalingo.com on March 11, 2014.