What’s in a Word?

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little girl screaming and shouting with megaphone

I guess that I should probably start this post by saying that I do not have a penis and are very proud of that fact (this statement will make so much more sense once you read the article Smiley Face)

There is a big campaign in the works by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, to empower women and help girls become leaders.  Her campaign, in conjunction with the Girl Scouts is called banbossy.com.  The campaign proposes to ban the word “bossy” when speaking with young girls, as they propose that there are far-reaching effects in what they go on to attempt and achieve.The article by The Media Guy, disputes this movement, and he has some valid points, but I don’t necessarily agree with them all.

Here’s an excerpt from his article,

Bossy actually means something.
Bossy is, let’s be honest, kind of a great word. It has meaning. It’s brisk descriptive shorthand for certain types of managers, coworkers, friends and family members (including children!) we all know. So what, dear Lean In, am I supposed to say about people — male or female — who behave thusly? “OMG, Bob’s managerial inclinations are so non-participatory and traditionally hierarchical!”

There’s got to be a better way to ‘encourage girls to lead’ …
… than banning a great, meaningful adjective that is actually super-accurate in some cases. You can read the full article here.

And although I agree that there’s got to be a better way to “encourage girls to lead”, from my completely female perspective, this is a good start.  Banning the word “bossy” isn’t going to change the world, and it certainly isn’t enough to change the lives of all girls so that they will go on to lead.

I grew up in what I thought was a very traditional East Indian household.  My dad only had two daughters, myself and my older sister.  No sons, which have always been very important in the Indian culture. I now realize how liberal minded my father was as I was growing up.  My sister  and I repeatedly were told growing up, “That you can be anything that you ever want to be when you grow up.  It doesn’t matter if someone says you can’t do it because you are a girl, you can do anything you choose to do.  It is up to you.”

At the time, I couldn’t possibly realize what an impact those words my dad said would mean to me, but I certainly grew up thinking that anything was possible for me and there were no limitations.  So, back to the article and campaign at hand.  I don’t believe that banning a single word in the English language has the ability to change everything, but I do believe that it is a small step to try and make girls unafraid of expressing their opinions.  It is also articles like the one by The Media Guy, which get people thinking and talking about the issues,  which will result in change.

I now have a daughter of my own, and try and instill in her, as my dad in me, that there is nothing that she can’t do if she sets her mind to it.  The only limitations she has in her life are those that she imposes upon herself.  I think that is a much more important message to tell our daughters than trying to ban a single word.

Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

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Juliet Aurora

About the Author:

Juliet Aurora is the President and CEO of AIS Solutions. She has been in the Accounting and Finance space for more years than she will ever admit. When she isn’t acting as the Sensei for her team of Bookkeeper Kninjas, you will find her working tirelessly to advocate the accreditation of bookkeeping in Canada. Her vision is for AIS Solutions to become the standard against which all other bookkeepers and bookkeeping firms are measured. Juliet can be contacted by email or by calling 1 888 575 5385.
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