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Author
Karen Knapstein
Date
May 12, 2014

A Ban on Bossy

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Being a part of student government.

Striving to stand out on a sports team.

Not being afraid to share your opinion on an issue.

All of those characteristics describe a person who would probably be considered a confident leader. And usually, that’s a positive thing. But that confidence can also lead to a label — one that’s often only used to describe a girl — bossy.

Because “bossy” often has a negative connotation, at least one boss, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, is pushing to ban it from the list of words we, as a culture, use when we talk about female leaders. And she’s not alone. Actress Jennifer Garner, Beyonce and former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice support the campaign.

Others, however, don’t mind the word, saying that yes, it might have negative connotation, but it also implies strength, which is empowering.

But what do you think? Should bossy be banned from your vocabulary? Vote in the poll to weigh in, then leave a comment sharing why.  

110 comments on “A Ban on Bossy

    1. Miguel Casas

      Bossy is not offensively impolite, it’s just a word that is sometimes misused. I’m a guy and yes some girls in my school can sometimes be obnoxious but they are not BOSSY! They don’t order me to do anything, but I do it in my own consideration. But to summarize, the word BOSSY should not be banned, but used in a more polite way.

      Reply
    2. Mason Sharkey

      I think this is stupid. Our economy is about to collapse and people are losing jobs by the day and your worried about the word bossy. My brother calls me bossy and I don’t care and I’m a guy

      Reply
    3. liesje

      I think that being called bossy as a younger kid is demeaning and I have been called it before so YEAH IT SHOULD BE BANNED!!!!:)

      Reply
    4. Mariam Ashour

      I think we shouldnt ban the word bossy you can use it to show how your siblings are which could impact students by using the word bossy a girl in my class calls me bossy when i push her chair for me to see the borad so dont bann the word bossy.

      Reply
    5. mason krause

      I don’t think bossy is offensive some people like being called bossy because it makes them feel like they are in charge.

      Reply
    6. Parker

      I Believe the that being bossy is a complement because it should make people feel in controle of their situation

      Reply
  1. Mrs. Desaulniers' Homeroom

    We’re split down the middle. Most of the girls (and a few of the boys) say that “Bossy is bad.” Most of the boys say that “Bossy is fine. It’s just a word!”

    Mrs. Desaulniers’ 8th grade homeroom
    Nashua Catholic Regional Junior High School
    Nashua, New Hampshire

    Reply
  2. Brittney Costa

    Being bossy is my skill, and if you can’t take my skill away. If mrs.seiler is bossy we can be bossy.

    Reply
    1. Chakita

      No because if you want you opinion to be heard you’ve got to be bossy. That’s the only way people will listen to you these days.

      Reply
  3. Miguel Hampton

    Thats not right to ban the word it just a word. In plus everybody is bossy in way doesn’t matter if its on your phone, video game, or even food.

    Reply
  4. Hannah Potter

    I feel like banning the word “Bossy” word be a bad thing. There are words out there that are way worse than the word “Bossy” and we still use them on a daily biases.

    Reply
  5. Randy Bayman

    I believe that being called “Bossy” is a good thing, because that means that someone does not like that you’re stepping up and being brave. YOU GO GIRLS!!!!!

    Reply
  6. Deborah Zuali

    Banning the word “bossy” is naive and irrelevant. No one uses the word “bossy” anymore as far as I’m concern, instead of banning an innocent word, the society should build towards discarding more offensive words which I can not say. By banning a word is offensive just by itself, and also depriving our choice of vocabulary.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Banning a word is exaggerating way too much. It’s a word, not a terrorist act. We don’t even ban racist comments, but we’re going to ban an insult that doesn’t even offend some people? Actually, bossy means a cow or calf. Are we going to arrest people for talking about cows too? And I have heard many men being called bossy, so I don’t think it’s sexist either. People are taking this word way too far.

    Reply
  8. Jacie Abbott

    Being bossy, at times can be considered a bad thing, but that is only when it hurts someone’s feelings. There wouldn’t be any point to ban a word that some people find offensive, because some people believe that being called bossy is a very good complement. Being called bossy can be seen as a complement because it means that a person is assertive and is able to stand up for something that they are wanting to do and the way they want to do it. Bossy can only be considered bad if someone takes it as if its bad, it only hurts someone’s feelings if they let it hurt them. Bossy only hurts you if you let it, take it as a compliment that you are able to stand up for yourself.

    Reply
  9. kenya

    well the word “bossy” shouldn’t really be ban , because it just a word and it up too the person to take it as a compliment or a insult

    Reply
  10. Kyla Marquez

    A Ban on Bossy? Really? I understand that the intention of this movement is to promote self-esteem and to support leadership but banning a word is ridiculous. Plus, what about our freedom of speech? You can’t ban a word without taking that away. And without a boss, we’d have no leaders. We need an assertive person and if you don’t go by their rules then maybe there’s something wrong with you. And if the person really IS bossy, then we must reserve the right to inform them on that because maybe they don’t understand what they’re doing. But honestly, I can’t believe we’re actually discussing the matter. We have things ten times more worse to deal with. All in all, a word is a word, and if you’re going to ban a word, bossy is definitely not the worst word that we should get rid of.

    Reply
  11. River Valley Students

    Bossy is just a word to describe somebody. How would you stop people from using it? You can’t. I have been called bossy and I take no offense to it. It just means that you have a tendancy to give orders. We don’t even ban racial comments or profanity but we are going to ban a word that a lot of people don’t take offense to?

    Sincerly,
    kids from river valley

    Reply
  12. Kyler McHugh

    I don’t think that being called bossy is necessarily a bad thing. I think that it’s basically just a word, much like any other word. Calling someone bossy may be taken as offensive, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, especially because we have more serious problems to be taken care of, not a silly word like “bossy.”

    Reply
  13. victoria hughes

    I think that they should ban the word bossy its just as bad as calling girls other rude word …. yes I like being in control of things but that’s not called being bossy its being responsible

    Reply
  14. Patrick Friedl

    “Bossy” is simply an adjective used to describe some people. It’s not a swear word and it is not always an insult. And as for wheather or not it is always directed at women, I think men are called bossy all the time.

    Reply
  15. Tanner

    My name is Tanner and our class discussed that bossy is fine to say I see it as like saying (miss priss) or something like that you guys are doing something pointless. In my life I always heard ” if it’s not broke don’t fix it” people like this should try to stop bullying, or help stop drugs or something with meaning, but putting this much time and effort in stopping the use of one word, what’s next are people going to start banning cattle or dogs or cats, I don’t see the problem with bossy and every one else agrees the whole school does we had a vote and 99% agreed that it is a harmless word.

    Reply
  16. Ms. Moroney

    3 of my students think being “bossy” has a negative connotation. The majority of the class agrees that “bossy” can be positive, and denote leadership qualities.

    Reply
  17. zach stratton

    I think that it can be good or bad like the lady on the show said it would just decrease our vocabulary

    Reply
  18. Sunay

    Many people think that the word bossy represents their personality, and banning it would also violate the freedom of speech. Also, if we have words like Selfie in the dictionary, why remove bossy?

    Reply
  19. Liana

    Bossy isn’t bad. Some people feel empowered and they liked to be called that. If you don’t like it, then don’t use it, it’s that simple!

    Reply
  20. AlexandraLitClass

    I think that we can say whatever we want. It says in the laws about freedom of speech. Even if it is banned people will still use the word, so this law is stupid.

    Reply
  21. CJ

    Being called bossy can be hurtful. It doesn’t mean that we need ban it. There are so many words that people call each other that are much more hurtful. Everyone has the freedom of speech. If you do not like the word don’t use it.

    Reply
  22. Liam is a boss

    You guys told us kids to comment about bossy and banning it. I think that you guys telling us to comment is BOSSY.

    BOSSY

    Reply
  23. Joey Gariepy

    Okay, so, like, being called bossy can be really hurtful to my self esteem. It makes me feel like everyone is, like, against me or something. So, uh, we should ban bossy from the dictionary or whatever, so, yeah, I agree.

    Reply
  24. Dylan Scarborough

    Well, no its just saying to some people, Your doing a good job boss! And some, Hey your too mean!

    Reply
  25. Joey Gariepy

    Ok, so , like, I get called names, like, a lot. More than I can count, and I can count pretty high. Getting called bossy is the worst name to get called. I get very upset and my self esteem gets hurt. IT HURTS MY FEELINGS!!!!!!!! So, yeah, we should ban the word bossy, so, yeah, I agree.

    Reply
  26. Hanah Wold

    Why is being called bossy one of the issues we feel we need to discuss? Banning a word is just like saying bossy is equivalent to a swear word, when in actuality, it is not. Why don’t we start a campaign against the words used to describe developmentally challenged people? I think it is good that those women are standing up for what they believe in, but I feel like there are more pressing matters than being called bossy. The ban on the word bossy could be considered censorship. Mark Twain describes censorship as telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.

    Reply
  27. Jillian P., Tenafly Middle School

    I think that being called bossy is not a rude thing to say. I’m on recreation and travel softball teams, and some of the girls on my rec team call me bossy because I call out the plays, the batting order, and tell my teammates how to do certain things a little better. Since I have a little more experience than my teammates, I want to help them and potentially make our team better. I think being called bossy is known to be bad, but I consider it a good thing. Speaking up and being a leader is what a team needs.

    Reply
  28. Students at Hardin 100 pod

    I believe that being called bossy is an intrusive word.
    - Imaje

    We as girls are just being leaders, but some people just take it the wrong way when you use the word bossy.
    -Stephanie

    Reply
    1. Daniela Mata

      I think that we should ban the word bossy because I am one of those and I feel bad because I don’t treat people the same sometimes.

      Reply
  29. Daniela Mata

    I think that we should ban the word bossy because I am one of those and I feel bad because I don’t treat people the same sometimes.

    Reply
  30. Jenniah Prince

    I do not think the word BOSSY should be banned. there are a lot of things people may say that word for and that’s because you know, it’s a word a kid or someone might say. for example; You are a BOSSY kid. People say that for reasons and that’s because they may not know another word to say. I think the word BOSSY should not be banned.

    Reply
  31. Destiny Kidd

    The word bossy shouldn’t be ban because it is nothing wrong .we us the word BOSSY because we need to make sentence out of it.

    Reply
  32. Colson Lawrence

    Being called bossy is very hurtful and cruel. When i get called bossy i get mad but at the same time i get sad because it makes me think that people don’t want to be around me and don’t want to play with. I’m pretty sure that other people don’t like to be called bossy either.

    Reply
  33. Alejandra

    Being bossy is not a bad thing, it is oneself to take the word in a bad way. We get to decide what we want to hear and how we want to hear it. I am very bossy and even though people tell me i do not take it in a bad way i believe that it is a good thing and that there are other things we should be worrying about more than a word that has no meaning.

    Reply
  34. Dalia

    Bossy is not a negative word and banning it seems a bit over the top. Call me bossy all you want I’m proud of that.

    Reply
  35. kole

    i dont think being bossy is not a bad thing, it is oneself to take the word in a bad way. We get to decide what we want to hear and how we want to hear it.

    Reply
  36. Ms. S.

    I do not feel the word “bossy” has as terrible a connotation as do other words that are much more offensive. I, for one, would like to see the banning of another b-word that is too often used by men and women alike in reference to women in every day language and song lyrics. I find that word much more offensive and denegrating to women.

    Reply
  37. Mo Power

    Bossy isn’t a negative word. There is nothing wrong with saying it. People need to understand that labeling is wrong but calling someone bossy isn’t a major insult. Thats like calling someone dumb. I hope to leave this planet and never come back because of people like this. Censorship is the first cause of a total absolute government. Fascists.

    Reply
  38. Xochitl

    I don’t think bossy is bad because if you get called bossy you might think that your in charge.

    Reply
  39. Brenon

    As SPL (Senior Patrol Leader) of my Boy Scout Troop, I am in charge of almost everyone. I tell people what to do and to get the job done. Some of the people say I am bossy. My response is “Thank you” because I am the “boss” of our troop. If I am being “bossy”, I am doing my job. My leadership training taught me to be the boss and tell people what to do while I supervise and make sure the jobs get done. Bossy is not a bad word to use. I take it as a compliment. In my opinion, if you are being called bossy, you are showing leadership qualities and some people don’t like that. A leader is a boss.

    Reply
  40. Aurora-Jo

    Being bossy should be used to a certain extent. Not too much bossy, and not too little bossy. It should be used to keep people on track, not to run them off track.

    Reply
  41. Sadira Steinfort

    Being bossy is a signature trait of leaders everywhere. Some girls take pride in being called “bossy” and take it as a compliment. Banning the word would be limiting our freedom of speech and if you ban the word bossy, it will only make the situation worse because it will be considered “cool” to say the word “bossy”. Really it will just create more unnecessary problems. Besides, aren’t there more important things to be upset about like those girl who were kidnapped?

    Reply
  42. Brandon

    I don’t think that bossy should be banned. The b-word technically means a female dog and a not too long ago people used it very often if not everyday. Banning a word as common and frequently used as bossy is, just doesn’t make sense and I don’t think that it should hurt as bad as some people think it does.

    Reply
  43. Maddie S

    I feel that banning the word bossy is not going to change anything. It is a word and, like it or not, many people do use it and it is part of our everyday vocabulary. I do feel words hurt and bossy is a hurtful word and there are many alternitives to this word, but banning a word is not the way to go.

    Reply
  44. Steven B.

    The term bossy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the way in which people use this term is negative. People should be more mature in the way they choose their words when they speak.

    Reply
  45. Bella

    I think you can be bossy good and bad! People can talk behind your back and say your Bossy. But then people could also say wow your Bossy way to take charge. It also can be used in Bulling and that is not good. I think it is used in a bad sense a LOT more than it is used in s good one.

    Reply
  46. Karson

    I think that being “BOSSY” is good because there needs someone to control the way you do stuff other wise you could do something wrong!

    Reply
  47. gael

    in my opinion i think that no and yes because not all people are bossy like our parents we have to listen to them unless your asking someone for help on some thing instead of telling them what to do

    Reply
  48. gael

    in my opinion i think that no and yes because not all people are bossy like our parents we have to listen to them unless your asking someone for help on some thing instead of telling them what to do

    Reply
  49. Cory

    I do not think that the word bossy should be BANNED but if people seem to not like it they should just ask the person not to say it anymore not BAN the word some people might like it.

    Reply
  50. I like rice

    I think that they should band bossy because the word bossy is rude to say to people who are just trying to help out other people. It is also is rude to say it girls because it can be offensive to them.

    Reply
    1. sam bingaman

      Bossy isn’t completely bad, People just use it as a bad word, using it to describe obnoxious people. But the word “bossy” actually means “to be controlling” “My cousin is always bossing me around” is the correct way to say it while “That prep is bossy.” meaning that she is mean is the wrong phrase. GET IT RIGHT!

      Reply
  51. Jalen Webster

    That bossy word anit nothing it’s a word c’mon now use ur head we our rite to use the it together . So no it should no t he banned

    Reply
  52. Michael shirley

    I don’t think the word “bossy” should be banned because its just something people say to get people worked up about nothing take it the right way and say your a boss and not just another follower this world has tons of those.

    Reply
  53. Maddy L

    Bossy should not be banned because when someone is called bossy it isn’t always in a bad way, how are they going to punish us if we say a word we have said our whole lives.

    Reply
  54. Kaylin

    I don’t think bossy is a bad word. What are they going to do to us if we say it? Put us in jail? In my opinion, there are hundreds of much more offensive words out there than bossy.

    Reply
  55. Emma

    I think that this whole campaign is a waste of time and money. Bossy is a way to describe someone who is tries to control people when they don’t have the right to, and we need a word to describe those people. Also, it is unconstitutional to ban a word.

    Reply
  56. Damon

    BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSYBOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY BOSSY!!! This isn’t a bad word, if you have a problem with this then maybe your the problem!

    Reply
  57. colby lewis

    being bossy isn’t bad if we didn’t have bosses then we wouldn’t do our work if we didn’t do our work the world wouldn’t turn

    Reply
  58. Maya Welborn

    I believe that people have their own opinions on bossy. Yes I have mine but whether you like being called it or not do we really have to ban it? To ban a word is to take away the 1st amendment. Don’t like being called bossy? Then say something about it, you don’t have to ban it. Besides don’t you think there are more important issues then what you can deal with yourself? If this many people can argue about being “bossy” then this many people can do something about the elephants being slaughtered in Africa.

    Reply
  59. Kevin

    No, “bossy” should not be banned because if you ban a word it’s like taking freedom of speech away. If you delete it then people will think other words are bad and then maybe a million words will be deleted. Bossy is no different than saying controlling. A word is a word don’t let it effect your life.

    Reply
  60. Marc

    No, I don’t think that a word should be banned. That is a violation towards the first amendment. We have the freedom of speech so we should be able to say things as long as it is not bullying or harassing.

    Reply
  61. FEATUREASAURUS

    I think bossy SHOULD be banned from saying, BECAUSE even BEING bossy can be annoying. Even SAYING that word can be offending or annoying. #featurethisontheshow

    Reply
  62. HulkSmash

    No, i don’t think people should ban the word “bossy” because the people who ban the word will be taking our freedom of saying whatever we want. The word is the same as saying controlling or being a parent. This word is no different from any other so don’t ban it.

    Reply
  63. Mem-Factor

    I think being bossy isn’t bad. I am a boy and I have been called it many times. Also words should never be banned! It is wrong to restrict on words.My older sister herself say that she is bossy and is happy about it. I also think girls should learn self confidence than, like my sister they will dominate. If you ban bossy then a new word will turn up and the problem starts all over again.

    Reply
  64. Creagh-Factor

    I am a girl and I think it is offensive that people are trying to ban bossy because that girls help with self esteem. I would describe myself bossy because that means I’m large and in charge. I think it is very wrong to ban the word bossy and my younger brother, Mem Factor, is right.

    Reply
    1. Azure Duncan

      I don’t see why they are trying to band a word like bossy when there are worst words out there like the “N” word. How about we try to band that word instead of a word that means you are a leader.

      Reply
  65. Elle

    I feel mutual about whether or not “bossy” should be banned. I feel like it is degrading towards women and that women should stick together. Also, I feel that it takes away from freedom of speech.

    Reply
  66. Lizzy

    I think that “Bossy” is super mean and degrading towards women. I believe it should be banned. #supermean

    Reply
  67. Liz

    Being called bossy is very offensive. #offensive. It should definitely be banned like can you not. #canunot

    Reply
  68. Lizzy Cims

    Bossy should definitely be banned. I get super mad when boys call me bossy. I’m all like “ugh can you not”

    Reply
  69. Taylor H,

    I don’t think being called “bossy” is a bad thing. It’s just saying that someone is acting the boss.

    Reply
  70. Deshea Mobley

    I really don’t know what’s wrong with the word “Bossy” nowadays it can mean anything negative or positive its just how you use it toward yourself or someone else. #OrNaww#BossyChicksRules #LoveChannelOne:):)

    Reply
  71. hannah

    Why ban a word from the English language when it’s already there? Bossy can have a positive and negative effect like the word skinny. It shouldn’t be banned just because of its negative effect.

    Reply
  72. Mem-Factor

    O.K. if we ban bossy we also need to ban jerk, nerd, superstar, pushover, and a host of other descriptive words. Lets make everybody the same— you know uniform mediocrity. Everyone should be either Tweedledee or Tweedledum.

    Reply
  73. Super Boy736

    Just because someone doesn’t like a word, do not mean you can ban it. Plus people will just come up with a another word that means bossy.

    Reply
  74. Benjamin W

    No I don’t think being called “bossy is a bad thing. It’s an adjetive used to describe someone, so people who call you bossy, is there own opinion. People shouldn’t take it so negatively.

    Reply
  75. Steven-Ha

    Honestly, the word bossy isn’t as bad as it really sounds. There are a lot of other words that mean the same thing as bossy so why don’t you ban those. There is no point in banning a word if a bunch of other words mean the same thing! Why does someone else’s opinion matter so much, it’s what they think. Always believe what you believe!

    Reply
  76. Konrad Hahne

    Bossy is not bad I word if you use it properly.i think it is a comment to be called bossy because that shows leadership.lastly to ban bossy is weird because your banny a word and people are still going to say it.

    Reply
  77. Levi Youmans

    Being bossy in a good thing. If you are bossy you are assertive and are in charge. Take pride in someone calling you bossy.

    Reply
  78. Faith S.

    I think the word “bossy” should because it a bad word to call somebody. Being called “bossy” is another way of saying your mean and selfish. The word “bossy” can mean a lot of thing in certain unless you use the terms right.

    Reply
  79. Jay-Soto

    Yeah, let’s focus on banning one minuscule word instead of focusing on real world problems like world hunger and poverty. Ban feminism.

    Reply
  80. Tara Hartenbower

    Once again, we’re having a run-in with being politically correct. This is such a big problem already. If you say anything against the president’s actions, you’re racist. If you say anything against the gays, you’re a homophobe. If this push for banning goes through, calling a woman bossy will be sexist. It’s hard enough to have freedom of speech when every word out of your mouth has the potential of being offensive. We don’t need anymore reasons not to speak our minds.

    Reply
  81. Joseppi mccommonsense

    What gives anyone the right to ban a word? The whole premise here is ridiculous. We should ban Karen Knapstein from writing silliness such as this article.

    Reply
  82. Xzaves

    I agree being “bossy” is a bad thing. As a society we need to be able to express our opinions on how someone is acting. If somebody is being rude, you tell them. If somebody is being ignorant, you tell them. If somebody is being bossy, you tell them. Additionally, this is not a sexist comment in any way. Even if it is used mostly in regards to women, which I have not seen any evidence for either, it would still not insinuate that women have no right to lead. It would simply state that the person, man or woman, is acting controlling in a situation where they have not been designated a proper role to do so.

    Reply
  83. Kennedy U.

    Banning the word bossy would only open up to new insults. I wouldn’t be surprised to see worse words used if bossy did get banned.

    Reply
  84. Kennedy U.

    I don’t understand why we would focus on banning a word when we have more serious issues to be concerned on. Even if we were going to ban a word, at least ban a word that is more demeaning than “bossy”.

    Reply
  85. Adam Wood

    I think people need to stop caring what other people think and care about them. As long as you are happy nothing else matters.

    Adam Wood

    Reply

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