Bossy Pants…Banning the “B” Word

Entrepreneurs, Opinions Posted Mar 10, 2014 by Jennifer Torode

Like any work day morning, I watch the news while getting ready and try to listen to the first half of Good Morning America (GMA).

This morning, I listened to a segment on GMA on banning the word “bossy”— a movement led by Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez. My first reaction was, really? First, I completely understand their intentions and that they are trying to send a message to help empower girls and perhaps wipe away stereotypes that they felt growing up. However, instead of banning yet another word, why not teach our girls that being called bossy is not a bad thing—it means that you are a take charge type of person with leadership qualities.

I often take charge at work and in my personal life and I’ve been jokingly called “bossy pants” but I take it as a compliment not a negative. My parents raised four children—three girls and one boy. My middle sister was always called bossy but she laughed about it and till this day, my family still jokes that she’s bossy.  My sister is confident and successful and never felt that being called bossy growing up was hurtful nor did it stop her from achieving. If you asked her today about being called bossy, she’d smile and say she made decisions because others (my older sister and I as well as neighborhood friends) were indecisive and she took charge to get things moving. She’d also refer to herself as a leader, which she was and continues to be.


My parents raised their three girls to be confident and our personalities are oddly quite similar, which many people are amazed when they see us together. Like all children growing up regardless of the generation in which they were raised, we had struggles along the way with self-esteem, etc. but we grew up, tackled any challenges along the way and walked tall. I suppose having two amazing parents who encouraged us always helped. I look at my nieces—spanning in age from 7 to 15 and they are all assertive, happy and have been taught by their Mothers (my sisters) that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.  My nieces are surrounded by their strong-minded mothers, aunts and grandmothers who lead by example. I know that not every girl is blessed to have such a support system or role models in their life but I cannot help but cringe at another banned word.  How about, “Bossy is Beautiful!”  or maybe it’s time to revise the definition of bossy in the dictionary to something like…”The word bossy originated …often having a negative connotation to some…” and revised in 2014 to, “A person who takes charge, a strong-minded person, derived from boss—a leader.”