Tri-State Morning Insight: Don't ban bossy, own it

Welcome to TMI: Tri-State Morning Insight. A weekly kick of the tires and look under the hood of Good Morning Tri-State. Like my 2002 jalopy, sometimes it's great, other times it'll leave you confused on the side of the road. Let's see which one it is today.

The new star-studded fight to ban the word bossy, as of now, is doing nothing but making us use the word bossy more than we ever have.

And maybe that’s a good thing. Let me explain.

You’ve probably heard by now that Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, is partnering with everyone from Girl Scouts of America to Beyonce to “ban bossy.”

Her logic: calling young girls bossy makes them shy away from becoming leaders, in favor of being liked by their classmates.

She’s probably right. Name calling is a key ingredient in the girl-drama served up to every insecure pre-teen who’s ever crossed the threshold of a middle school.

But banning the word bossy isn’t going to ban the thought behind it. It’s not going to make girls suddenly realize the importance of believing in something enough to want to take a leadership role in it.

And any parent will tell you that banning your kids from something – potato chips, bad attitudes saying  “it’s all good” -  will only make them want it that much more.  

So instead of banning “bossy,” I say turn it around, use it often - and own it.

When I was a kid, “nerd” was a terrible thing to be called. I know because I was one. And probably still am one.

In addition to a nerd, I was also a band geek. As such, I owned an awesome satin band jacket with my last name in block letters on the back. I need you to imagine it - Nero. In ALL CAPS. Totally looked like “NERD.”

On my 7th grade band trip to St. Louis, I wore said awesome band jacket to Six Flags (obviously), when someone said, “Look, it’s a nerd – and she’s even labeled!”

At the time I thought it was funny. Still do. I know now that was the beginning of nerds rising up, uniting and owning that word. Call me whatever name you like - I’ll gladly take the leadership role in that cause.

Last night, I asked my two girls about this issue, and what I found was interesting.

“What’s a nerd?” I asked them.

“Someone who is smart and dresses neat and has cool glasses,” said the older one (who, by the way, is smart and dresses neat and has cool glasses).

“If someone called you a nerd, what would you think?”

“I would like it,” said the younger one. It would mean I’m good at school and have style.” (Hmm. This one is good at school and has style. Boy, does she have style.)

See what happened? Nerd no longer holds a negative connotation – at least not AS negative a connotation – as used to. These kids own it.  They’re changing the definition of a word that was once used to hurt feelings.

Take a look at the shirt in the picture at the top of the page: “Nerdy But Cool.”

On the day we learned that calling young girls names stunts their growth, my daughter chose a t-shirt with a once-derogatory word on it to wear to school (though I like to think the chocolate milk stains came after she left the house).

One day, I hope there’s a shirt just like it that says “bossy and beautiful.” And I hope we own it.

Nope, I know we’ll own it.

From Today’s GMTS:

-Climie Pleads Guilty: Boiled down, this is a story about a woman who lied to police about her cell phone being stolen. But it’s so much more. Jamie Climie, the former CHCA teacher, pleaded guilty today to disorderly conduct, after nude pictures from her cell phone ended up on a revenge porn website.

-Let’s All Forget Juan Pablo: He  picked Nikki at the end of the most controversial season of The Bachelor ever – and didn’t tell her he loved her or give her a ring. In fact, even when pressed by host Chris Harrison, JP wouldn’t even admit to loving her in a passive way. I know, shocker, right? Kinda like it was shocking when Miley Cyrus “didn’t make (her) quick change” and had to come out on stage in her underwear.

These shows are horrible, but he could at least poor Clare go out with some class. Instead, he acted like just the last three letters. When she told him off, he said “Glad I didn’t pick her.”

So is she, Juan Pablo. So is she.

I tweeted this earlier, and I stand by it. Juan Pablo is in rarified reality show air. And not the good kind.

GMTS Quote of the Week:

“Be careful. Jessie on Saved By The Bell got hooked on caffeine pills.” –GMTS floor director Beth, when I told her I was on cup of coffee #4. I just like that SBTB was the reference point. That and it got me thinking about this .


A place where I’m pretty much going to talk about anything I like that doesn’t fit to any other category.

To me, fried fish on a Styrofoam plate is the true harbinger of spring.

Friday night we went to the St. Agnes Fish Fry and had a delicious meal. On the way in, though – I saw a sign that struck me: No Alcoholic Beverages Allowed Beyond This Point.

That is definitely not something I remember from growing up in the Bible Belt. You see something new every day, I guess.


-Let’s talk further about Fish Frys. Specifically how to pluralize them. Fries? Frys? Ahh, whatever. They’re delicious so it shouldn’t matter. Check out this interactive map and find one close to you.

-Pete Rose is on the cover of SI, and is the topic of Denny Janson’s latest commentary .

Viral Video of the Day:

Have you seen Between Two Ferns? If yes, you’ll love this. If no, this is a great place to start. Zack Galifianakis interviews President Obama .

Fave quote: “Tall and handsome? That’s easy. Try being short, fat and smell like Doritos and make it to Hollywood.”

Today’s Distracting Link:

Dissections of candies you’ve never heard of. And some you have.

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