You have probably been told in the last few days to stop using the word "bossy" as a part of the Ban Bossy campaign, the product of a partnership between Lean In and Girl Scouts of America, and headed by none other than our not-so-favorite but oh-so-prominent mainstream feminist and Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg. 

You do you Sandberg, but we at BUST are going to keep on keeping on with our bossy selves because we like our bossy just fine, thank you. We believe that bossiness should be encouraged and fully embraced. Just listen to boss ass bitch Nicki Minaj righteously laying it down:

From the video:

"If I turn up at a photo shoot and you have a $50 clothes budget and some sliced pickles... you wanna know what? No. I am gunna leave. Is that wrong -- for  wanting more for myself? For wanting people to treat me with respect? But you know what, next time they know better. Had I accepted the pickle juice, I would be drinking pickle juice right now."

No one wants to be drinking pickle juice (unless it's preceded by a shot of whiskey). Minaj stands in her bossiness unapologetically, and fights for what she deserves: quality. If she didn't fight for it, she wouldn't have what she has. That is the unfortunate reality of gender oppression, and in Minaj's case, gender and racial oppression. 

The campaign is aimed at closing the confidence gap that occurs in young girls, which fuels an avoidance of leadership roles. From the campaign: 

"Between elementary and high school, girls’ self–esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.Bossy holds girls back. Girls are twice as likely as boys to worry that leadership roles will make them seem “bossy.”

By banning "bossy," the initiative seeks to encourage leadership. It's true that being an assertive girl is never easy. I can speak from a place of experience -- I was called bossy from early elementary all the way through my last years at college (and I'm probably still being called bossy!). I consistently took on leadership roles and spoke my mind, regardless of snickering, because I was taught to embrace the courage I displayed in taking roles others were afraid of, and standing up for ideas others were too timid to support. Bossiness is no insult! Being bossy means demanding your space. In a culture that is always encouraging girls and women to take up as little space and airtime as possible, that is a radical act.  I benefitted much more from being taught to embrace my bossiness, than I would have from a mentor simply protecting me from name-calling. 

What I'm getting at is that the problem lies much deeper. Not matter what it ends up being called, assertive and demanding girls will have trouble being accepted because the expectation is to be kind, sensitive, and understanding. Girls and women are pushed away from bossiness in an effort to keep them out of their power. Banning the word "bossy" is not going to transform the gendered norms that will continue to squash and discourage powerful girls and women. The lesson that needs to be taught is to not give a shit what people say. If you are making (the right) people angry and uncomfortable, you are most likely doing the right thing. My grandma was the first woman to teach me that I shouldn't take shit from anybody, and that still proves to be one of the most important lessons of my life. The most badass feminists I've met consistently emphasize that no matter what, people will hate you for speaking out and being powerful, because you are challenging what they want you to be (i.e small, quiet, and agreeable) BUT YOU HAVE TO DO IT ANYWAY! 

That's right girls, be bossier. Because bitches get shit done. 

Danielle Anderson, an author over at Slog, hits the nail on the head: 

"We should be telling girls to own the living shit out of bossiness. Instead of casting it as a pejorative, we should be reifying the idea that being bossy directly relates to confidence, and teaching girls how to harness that confidence in productive and powerful ways. This isn't a problem of language—the problem is our backwards system that rewards women for silence and compliance, and encouraging them to be less fierce is a supremely fucked up way to counter that. What is this wilting flower, let's-not-say-bad-words approach to empowerment?

When you're bossy, you're explicit. You know what you want and you say what you mean. It's my dream, my goal in life, to be surrounded by unrelentingly bossy women, and I think it's far more effective to encourage girls to be bossy so that they might one day be the boss."

Unrelenting bossy woman are actually my spirit animal. 

Next time you are asked to ban bossy, tell the world you are a proud Boss Ass Bitch, not to be f*cked with. Sometimes you've got to fight for what you want. And by sometimes, I mean always. Teach our girls to be warriors, and to forever dismiss the backlash they will experience as nothing but a bump along their road to empowerment. 

Thanks to Slog. 

Tagged in: sheryl sandberg, Nicki Minaj, lean in, girls, girl scouts of america, girl scouts, girl power, feminism, beyonce, ban bossy   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.

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