Why Blake Lively banned the word 'bossy' from her house and how other stars are raising feminist kids

Celebrities share how they're raising their kids to live in a more equal world.

ByABC News
July 31, 2017, 4:50 PM

— -- Blake Lively doesn't claim to be a parenting expert, but she said she has learned a thing or two since becoming a mother in 2015.

In an interview with Glamour magazine, the actress said that she and her husband, Ryan Reynolds, are doing everything they can to ensure their two girls will grow up to be independent women.

One way to do that, she noted, was using feminine pronouns when they can. Lively noted that, for example, if Reynolds picks up a caterpillar, he'll ask, "What's her name?" rather than, "What's his name?" The couple has also committed to eliminating the word "bossy" from their vocabularies.

"My husband said, ‘I don’t ever want to use that word again. You’ve never heard a man called bossy,'" Lively told Glamour. "There would never be any negative connotation for a man being a boss, so to add a negative connotation on a woman being bossy? It’s belittling, and it doesn’t encourage them to be a boss."

Lively, 29, and Reynolds, 40, aren't the only ones who are instilling these values in their children. Other stars have also weighed in on what they're teaching their kids:

1. Beyoncé: In 2014, the singer participated in Sheryl Sandberg's "Ban Bossy" campaign, which encouraged people to stop labeling little girls as "bossy." The campaign's mission is to encourage girls to take on leadership roles -- something they may avoid doing if they were branded as too aggressive as child. "I'm not bossy. I'm the boss," Beyoncé has said.

2. Jennifer Garner: Garner, who can also be seen in the "Ban Bossy" video from 2014, told Cosmopolitan magazine that year that feminism is "not a thing you teach your kid, it's just the way you live." For Garner, a mother of three, that meant continuing to work on projects about which she was passionate. "I think my kids would love in theory for me to not work, not go to anything, be home every day," she said. "You can do that and be a feminist -- I don't think that you need to go to work and be a power-woman to be a feminist. But I want my kids to know that if working is important to me, and if working for Save the Children is important to me, then that's totally valid, and as much as I totally love them, I'm a whole person too."

3. Jessica Alba: The actress and founder of the Honest Company is the mother of two young girls and is currently expecting her third child. Last year, she said at the Forbes Under 30 Summit that she wants her daughters to see the value of risk-taking. "I'm doing the thing that scares me the most every single day," Alba said. "I'm showing my girls you can do something when you don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. You are doing something you believe in."

4. Shonda Rhimes: The ShondaLand founder has created some of the strongest women characters on TV today, so it should come as no surprise that Rhimes, a mother of three, is trying to instill within her kids the value of being independent. “All the greeting cards are about sacrifice. Have you noticed that? ‘Mother, you gave up so much for me. You worked so hard for me. You sacrificed so much. You were so wonderful and giving and selfless.’ Where is the greeting card that says, ‘Mother, you taught me how to be a powerful woman,’ ‘Mother, you taught me how to earn a living,’ ‘Mother, you taught me how to speak up for myself and not back down?'" she said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. "Those are the greeting cards that should be out there. Those are the qualities that we would want for our daughters to have. I don’t want my daughter to grow up and think, ‘I should shrink and be in the background. I should be selfless. I should be sacrificing. I should be silent.’ That’s not what I think a mother is.”

5. Mila Kunis: The actress, who has two children with her husband, Ashton Kutcher, told The Cut last year that she wants to dispel the myth that it's possible to "have it all." Something, she said, will always have to take precedence, and the only way to stay balanced is to ask for help if you can and stay true to one's self. “I have an amazing support system in my life,” she said. “A happy woman, a fulfilled woman, will only make a better mother. And at the end of the day, I have to be happy with who I am and what I do. That is the only way I’ll be able to be a good mom.”

6. Ellen Pompeo: The "Grey's Anatomy" star, a mother of three, told People last year that it's important for her kids to have role models who look like them. “My daughters are black, so it’s very important to me that they see a lot of images of beautiful, powerful, strong black women,” she said. “Every time there is a black woman on a magazine cover, whether it is Kerry Washington or whoever it is, I make sure that magazine is in my house and on my table.”

7. Sarah Michelle Gellar: The actress told E! News that she and her husband, actor Freddie Prinze Jr., "split everything pretty fairly" to show their two children that everybody is equal. "I mean, I think that that's how you have to raise children today, as you want them to be independent and want them to see in our society that there is no difference between men and women and go from there," she said.