Friday, March 21, 2014

Bossy...is the word the problem...or the attitude?

So...there is a new campaign in the world...led by a group of successful women whom many look to as role models for young girls (though a few I'm not sure SHOULD be seen as role models).  So, what is this group working toward?  Equal pay for women?  Equal opportunities for girls?  Equal educational efforts?  Equal support to reach their dreams?  Well...maybe?  Maybe not? 

What they are working toward is to ban the word "bossy".  They claim, with shaky support of outdated statistics, that words like "bossy" cause little girls to be less likely to seek leadership roles as they enter middle school age.  So, their solution is to ban a word...and their choice of word is a little iffy as well.

Is being bossy a good thing?  Maybe in a few limited situations but in general I don't think so. It certainly isn't the same as being a leader.  It certainly doesn't scream "confidence".  Actually, in my opinion, being bossy is just a few steps down from bullying.  In my view it's right up there with "mean", "rude", "controlling", "abusive", "dictatorial".  Honestly, is THAT what we want our little girls to learn?

I hope not!

Let's be clear...I'm a mother of boys.  And I certainly don't want my boys to grow up thinking ANY of the above characteristics, including bossy, are ok.  I also have a lot of girls in my life, of varying ages, that I would hope would not exhibit any of those either. 

What would I like my boys AND the girls in my life I love very much to learn?  I would love for them to learn its ok to be smart.  It's ok to be a leader.  It's wonderful to be respectfully and lovingly assertive.  I want them to learn it's ok to stand up for yourself but only in a way that doesn't hurt someone else. 

I also want them to learn that sometimes it's ok to just be part of the team.  I want them to learn that every role is important and that as long as you do it with integrity, honesty, respect, devotion and as long as it is a role that is honoring to God and to themselves, that it's ok.

I understand that in our country and in our world women have been and still are in some ways oppressed.  But I don't think the mothers, wives, sisters who fought, sometimes with risk to their own lives, would want our little girls to be bossy just to get ahead.  And I personally think they would also not want our little boys to fall behind just for the sake of little girls getting ahead.

Another issue I have with this campaign is their choice of spokespeople.  While some seem like people I would want little girls to look up to, like Condoleezaa Rice, I'm not so sure about others, like Beyoncé.  Condoleezza Rice is a woman who exudes confidence in a calm, respectful way.  She screams integrity.  Beyoncé?  Not so much.  A singer who is known for wearing costumes that are as closer to lingerie as is legal, dances that are sometimes pushing it for a strip club and lyrics like "I know when you were little girls you dreamt of being in my world, don't forget it, don't forget it, respect that, bow down b*tchs" and "He Monica Lewinski'd all on my gown" in her song Partition, as well as using a recording of the Challenger disaster as an opening for another song, without permission, should we really be promoting her as a role model for our little girls? 

Yet another issue I have with this campaign and others is the idea that ALL girls MUST be executives, doctors, lawyers, famous actors or singers, etc.  If that is their dream, great!  But what about the little girls whose genuine dream is to be a wife and mom.  What about the ones who want to be a dental assistant?  Or a nurse?  Or *GASP* a secretary?!  Those roles must be filled.  They are honorable roles!  Where would Condi be without them?  Where would Beyoncé be?  Where would any of us be?  Why is it not ok for their dream to be to raise well-rounded children and support their husbands?  Why is it not ok for them to want to be in a support role? 

On a football team not everyone can be the quarterback.  But without a skilled center, tackle or fullback the best quarterback in the world can't do anything. 

Shouldn't it be ok for our kids, girls AND boys, to learn to do their job with integrity?  To work hard no matter WHAT their role is?   Plumbers, mechanics, trash collectors are often looked down on...but what will our world turn into if it's full of executives and doctors and lawyers and singers and actors but none of those?  A big mess that's what!  Those jobs, and many others, have HONOR! 

Shouldn't we be teaching our kids that in some circumstances you should be the leader and in others you should be part of the team?  But that no matter what you should do it confidently but respectfully?  Lovingly?  Patiently?

Some of the strongest, most confident women I know have never sat in a board room.  They are my grandmas.  They are my role models and have been my whole life.  Now...have they been bossy at times?  Sure!  They are human.  But that isn't what makes them my role models.  They are seen that way because of their patience, their calm strength no matter what the circumstance.  Their unending love for their family.  And you know what?  Those characteristics have earn them unending love and honor from not only family but pretty much everyone who knows them. 

That is what I hope all of us's boys AND girls learn.  That genuine character traits, like respect, integrity, confidence, honesty, patience, love, fairness, loyalty, joyfulness and so on will get you MUCH further in life than being bossy, arrogant, pushy. 

What do you think?

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