No really, bossy is gendered.

linguistic pulse

My post on the gendered use of the word bossy has gotten a lot of attention in the past week. In it, I presented a modest bit of data to support Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign attempting to raise awareness of the obstacles that hinder young girls from developing leadership skills. Writing for The New Republic, Alice Robb used my own and other linguists’ data to argue that usage of the word bossy is gendered.

However, Sandberg’s campaign has had many detractors, and thus so did Robb’s article. As a result, the legitimacy of my own and others’ arguments about language has been questioned by Sandberg’s critics. For example, writing for Reason, Cathy Young questioned the entire campaign around bossy suggesting that it was designed to address “a fictional problem”.

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