You’ve heard that we’re banning the word “bossy,” right? And by we I mean a powerful collective of women including Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Lean In creator and Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, First Lady Michelle Obama, and even the Girl Scouts of the USA. What all of these women, and many others, are hoping to achieve is to change the way that people speak to young women and girls. It’s all part of Ban Bossy, a campaign that encourages girls to lead, and challenges all people to rethink the language we employ with young women on a global level.
Explains Ban Bossy,
When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leaders.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys – a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.
Ban Bossy is all about empowering young women, fostering confidence and leadership, changing the way our society regards girls, and sparking a conversation. Above all else, the campaign has certainly sparked a massive conversation, and a bit of controversy as well. Some publications and more conservative individuals have deemed Ban Bossy an infringement on our freedom of speech; others have said that this is the wrong approach to closing gender gaps in leadership roles.
All of the criticism is of course somewhat to be expected. Even in this day and age it would be far too easy for a group of powerful, successful women to try and empower girls without facing sexism, disapproval, and backlash. Disappointingly though are the critics who deem Sheryl Sandberg, who is spearheading the campaign, “bossy” for telling others not to use that word when describing young girls. Those people have missed out on a learning opportunity, and more so, they have entirely missed the point.
In the Ban Bossy campaign’s PSA, Michelle Obama says, “Commit to your education, because every time you stretch your mind, you boost your confidence and add power and credibility to your voice.” She supports Ban Bossy because she supports fostering leadership in young women, like her own daughters, It’s statements like these that have me wondering, how can sparking any kind of conversation about how we treat young women be a bad thing?
What do you think about Ban Bossy campaign?