Are successful women a threat to men?
Of course banning a word makes no sense in real terms. But the very idea stirs up a lot of emotion. Are young girls labeled by words that stunt their progress?
Remember that old rhyme? "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me?" For many girls the word "bossy" has been used to squash their natural leadership energy. It certainly shimmered in my world, and had me caught in the crosshairs. I was one of those bossy girls who learned to shut up so I wouldn't offend anyone. It messed me up for a long time, and I still take charge. Some one has to, when everyone just stands around undecided.
Women are natural leaders. We can't help ourselves. The world has relied on us to get things done FOREVER. Try running a household or doing anything without leadership. Not all leadership is good leadership, but maybe that is because of the name-calling.
Banning bossy will not make girls better leaders but I doubt that is the point of this campaign. Leaders take action, and stunts with big names are effective. Having a brace of women who cross colors, careers and creed to speak out on a subject — that in itself highly flammable, is tantalizing. It certainly has everyone paying attention and every opinion is being heard. We are having a conversation. And conversation is what makes change.
Sheryl Sandberg has courage and connections. Her approach is inspired, and makes me proud to be a woman. Sandberg has been insulted and put down but mostly she just leans in. This tenacity is refreshing and it makes me wonder which women turned down a chance to be on this platform. Now that is probably the bigger story. The story behind why this campaign matters.
Women are known for their collective genes. Collaboration is a powerful tool. Put a bunch of bossy women together and you can change the world. YES, I used the banned word. Creating a furor around the word so society has the conversation, and girls get to understand the message, is brilliant. Actually banning the word is silly. We need to learn to laugh at the word and allow it mean what we want. Be the boss of who we are, so no word will ever bring us to our knees again. Every girl who has been shushed and flattened by words take strength from the idea that every word holds a possible charge, which can control us or roll off us. Define self-worth to lead from within. Teach every girl martial arts from grade school, and she could cut through the venom behind the bossy word with ease. This campaign is sizzling.
So why do I feel pissed off? Because too many of my sisters, the collective geniuses, are full of vitriol. Angry at the idea that bossy should be banned. Openly saying ugly things about leading women. If we want to change the world, we need to stop the name-calling and get on the same side — women to women, standing together to bring our cause out in the open. This is not a man bashing fest. This story, our story, has nothing to do with men and everything to do with our rising. We will rise, no matter the struggle, but how much sweeter if we use our collective voices to help each other. Reading comments to banning bossy, and watching the video on People.com stirs up pride and pain. I love these women for wanting to change the trajectory of their sistren, especially as girls.
Disgusting comments from men are expected, because maybe throwback genes make successful women a threat to some men. Notice I said SOME men. I have found, as a woman, that men are kinder on the whole, to women who stand out, than women are.
Maybe it's the pack mentality. The idea that women feel on some level that they must tear to pieces any threat or "weakness" in the group, any dissenters that could get the group riled up. I love this quote by Hillary Rodham Clinton "Women are the world’s most underused resource." But I am pondering the reason why. Why are we the most underused resource? I know it is not all the men's fault. Most of the time, men don't really have a clue about the nuances of society. It’s the women that keep it together. Men could not hold us all hostage through rape and pillage all the time. Violence and keeping order in that flammable space takes balance. And, it takes women willing to defend a man's right to mutilate and damage.
Maybe that is why so many women get nasty to their own sex in this battle to freedom. Men are simple in their approach to life, which is sometimes wonderful, and other times graphic and cruel. They use brute force to bring their womenfolk back to the kitchen and the bedroom. Women tend to make things complicated and take ugly to a whole new level. In the very old days women were divided and conquered by men with the choice of becoming wife of a leader or slave. Naturally, most women wanted to be wife to a leader. And what does that involve? You guessed it. Becoming fake and balancing on a very fragile board. Pleasing a man so he won't send you to slavery. That pleasing is still going on. Even though a man can no longer send us to purgatory, unless we believe it.
The kindergarten teacher states girls are bossy. She explains, boys say I am doing this, girls tell other people what to do, and judgment seeps between the lines. How will girls find their strength from women who believe girls are wrong? A woman trained to believe being bossy was a sin now gets to put girls in "their place". Girls are still trained from birth to be pleasers, smile, make pretty and to compete against each other.
Other women make slurs about strippers and vulgarity about Beyonce, or get indignant about the possibility of bossy people ruling if we ban the word. Come on people. Since when did getting naked or speaking your truth mean your opinion is trash? Are you really afraid that bossiness will get out of hand? Excuse me. Bossiness is out of hand right now as we allow bullies to rule. Everywhere. Rapists are often given leeway while the victims are accused of asking for it. And it is not just men who think this. Women are known to judge other women for the way they dress or behave.
Think about who you are rooting for, as you opine through life, judging and diminishing, which side are you on? Are you rooting for the suppressor to keep girls well behaved and unselfish so women stay imprisoned? Or are you focusing on finding a place where you and your daughter can be free to express whatever makes you feel valuable and valued? Who is being bossy?
I guide women to find and express their inner voice so that they can live with confidence and joy every single day. Get your copy of my free ebook "How to say no without being pushy or a pushover" on my website www.JenDuchene.com Leaning in to say no, gets you to asking for what you do want.
More life coach advice on YourTango: