You’ve been lied to – you’re not bossy

Bossy woman

I know it’s a bold statement, but it’s true. And it’s time we collectively help others confess to their sins – or at the very least, bring it to their attention that language matters. More importantly, I’m just here to let you know that all the labels people have placed on you as a woman during your career are complete B.S.

This topic stems from a social media post that drew a lot of attention, especially from women.

Original Post Below

I’m not bossy, I’m the boss. If you’re a woman and you’re assertive, know what you want, work hard…

Maybe you’ve been called bossy?

A diva? This language is designed to make you feel like something is wrong with you.

During my career I was called a number of names…

TV news hottie, eye candy, bossy, diva…

One time, a higher up said “there she goes, always wanting more.”

Damn straight I do which is why I’m blazing my own trail. So if you’re called any of the above things, I think these people may be confused. I think what they meant to call you was ambitious, smart, valuable, and a trailblazer.

Ladies, you are all those things.

It is true someone once said, “you’re our eye candy” – I blogged about it back in 2009 when I was a TV news anchor/reporter. 2009! Yes, and we’re still having conversations about why the way we talk to women needs to change.

And how did I handle it? I wrote the blog and the next day at work, the newsroom was buzzing “Who called you eye candy?” I knew the message got to where it needed to go. I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble, but I definitely wanted to raise awareness.

No one called me eye candy again.

While I disagree with extreme measures like banning actual words – see the Ban Bossy Movement – I think there’s something to be said about declaring to the world, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.”

Because it’s the very characteristics and qualities people often times classify as bossy that make us so successful as women. But don’t be confused, these words being thrown at you are like daggers – insults designed to mute you. To make you feel like you’re doing something wrong, and who you are is unacceptable.

Responses to my post came pouring in as the day went on. Here are just a few:

“I’ve been called bossy my whole life, I’ve just learned to be proud of it. I know what I want and I go after it, and if you’re offended by my methods, I’m okay with that.”

“I’ve been called bossy many times and learned not to take it personally. I don’t care and it definitely won’t break me.”

Have men EVER had to explain why they are ambitious? Absolutely not. Not only is it encouraged, it’s expected.

Interestingly, this doesn’t just happen to working women – it happens when you are actually the BOSS of your business too. Being a female entrepreneur has its own set of challenges and yes, even in this space – people unknowingly say stupid things sometimes. A male CEO once said, “Don’t be offended, but you are really picky.”

You mean I want it done right? I wasn’t offended, but I did dare him to use the same line on his wife. #doghouse – we both laughed it off.

The women above have the right attitude too.

They don’t let it get to them. Because if you did, it could diminish the very things that make you unique and so successful at what you do.

Remember though that even in today’s business landscape, women are experiencing this bad language. What’s important is that we raise our voices, constructively – and let the world know …that it’s no longer acceptable.

What about you? Have any stories to share about similar experiences? How did you handle it?

This month’s issue is about Andrea Van Dam, the CEO of Women’s Marketing. She talks about how you can still be a lady and lead. It’s inspiring to see women embrace who they are, without sacrificing their femininity to fit into a masculine world – and still succeed.

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