Obnoxious or bossy?
The latest politically correct focus of the pampered rich and famous is a push to ban the word "bossy," as it applies to women acting like drill sergeants. Apparently the word is thought to stifle young females' self esteem and should be relegated to a banned dictionary along with the other gender specific descriptive word "bitch" that is a close ally. This latest feel good campaign was first encouraged by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who believes young women will be discouraged from reaching their potential as leaders if they are labeled bossy. Sandberg was joined by Beyonce, Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice and may others calling for the ban, but not everyone thinks it is a good idea. Including me.
This editor uses bossy to describe a woman who is ordering me to do something I don't want to do. My wife, who is my angel from God, can be bossy at times. To me bossy is a derogatory word with endearing overtones, unlike the other "b" word which has no redeeming qualities but is sometimes more appropriate.
This is a subject exactly suited to one of my editorials. One, because it pokes fun at anything politically correct. Two, because it is aimed at engineering society into a cerebral utopia of tolerance and compassion that can never exist, and three, it is just the sort of silly idea one would expect from people who live in a make-believe bubble that is not the real world. Sandberg, Beyonce, Lynch and Rice are probably sensitive because they are really bossy women although some might believe the other "b" word more descriptive. When you think about it, what they are proposing is in itself a little bossy. They are intimidating the rest of us into doing what they want us to do. But they are not leaders because we are not going to do it, so the idea falls flat.
Really, what do most people care if a manipulative bully is labeled bossy. Obnoxious people, even if they are young and female, deserve to be labeled something. If you remove all the descriptive words it just encourages more antisocial behavior. A man being called a jerk is more likely to encourage change than him being told he is not nice. As many have already pointed out, being called bossy does not discourage leadership because true leaders are not bossy, they lead by example.
Political correctness is the real enemy of leadership. It hampers communication by sugar coating the language needed for leadership. Have you noticed how the great world leaders are the ones who are the most outspoken. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," would not have expressed the same leadership if Ronald Reagan had said, "Mr. Gorbachev, I am offended by this wall."
There may be reason to restrict racially derogatory words because they are purely insulting name calling but an outright ban on any word can never be good. To expand the same principle to other descriptive words is plainly limiting communication. All words can be perverted by their use. Words used in good faith should never be limited by political correctness. In fact nothing should be limited by political correctness.
All this fuss over a word makes you wonder how Sheryl Sandberg became an executive at Facebook.
What do you think?