To which I say: Oh, buck up.
The key to female empowerment doesn't lie with wheedling word police. It lies with girls and women finding the courage to speak and act on their beliefs and principles without regard to their detractors' opinions.
My message to girls, including my own 13-year-old daughter, is not: "Ban Bossy." My message is: Be Bossy. And that means first being the boss of you.
Here is my own little story. Over the past 20 years, I have gained a reputation as mouthy, aggressive, overbearing and, yes, bossy. I've barreled my way through interviews on "The View" and the "Today" show, arguing over Joy Behar and Matt Lauer. I've battled with some of the biggest blowhards in politics, media and Hollywood.
But I wasn't always this way. In grade school, I was shy to the point of verbal paralysis. I failed a speech class because I was terrified to stand up in class with 30 sets of eyes staring at me. I was a doormat and a wallflower, not because I was afraid of being labeled "pushy" or "bossy," but because I was afraid of owning my own thoughts, beliefs and work.
What changed? In college, I got sick of other people -- especially, ahem, of bossy liberal white women -- pretending to speak for me. I learned to say "no" when everyone around me expected and demanded "yes." I learned to cut my own path and not give a damn whether anyone followed. I wasn't held back by how others perceived me. I was held back by how I perceived myself.
Sandberg and her friends think "bossy" (which she calls "the other b-word") is worth ginning up an entire media campaign over -- even enlisting White House officials and cabinet members. But women with unpopular ideas and opinions face a daily barrage of unprintable c-words, f-words, s-words and w-words that are far worse. If we launched media campaigns to ban every ugly word that comes our way, we wouldn't have time to get anything else done.
It is a blessing to be able to make a living exercising the First Amendment. It would be an absolute waste of those precious free speech rights for any woman to pull her punches for fear of, gasp, an adjective.
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