I thought it was a joke when I read about it at first. Really, I did. So now we are teaching children to remove words from their vocabulary because we are afraid of them? Now, hear me when I say, there are certain words that should never be uttered again, and I understand that. Hateful, derogatory statements should never be tolerated and you’ll find me on the front line of those battles. But terms are tools. And they are very valuable. Bossy is one of them. I’m going to need it as a counterpart when I teach my son how to play with others. I don’t want him to be bossy as a child, in the classroom, or in the workplace. And if he doesn’t know that word in it’s organic form, how will he avoid it? Also, did you notice I said son?
Sheryl Sandberg’s tragic error in her campaign is she singled out girls. By doing so, she is indicating girls need protection from a normal word. They are weak, fragile, and failing to thrive in a world where the “b-word” plagued our pasts. If we begin to tell our young women that they can’t handle a word, but our boys can, isn’t that quite counterproductive to this whole “movement”?
What if, instead, we continued to move forward in teaching our children kindness, appreciation for each other, and that we all have equal value no matter our gender, race or any other outlying circumstance? What if we remember that we are already in control of words and the connotations they hold- and we don’t have to fear them. We need to empower our children to use them correctly. What then?