Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and LeanIn.org founder, recently partnered with Girl Scouts of America to create a “Ban Bossy” campaign. A Youtube video that featured (the Queen of all things amazing) Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Condoleeza Rice, and others familiar faces, advocates for everyone (especially parents) to stop branding young women and daughters as “bossy”. The Ban Bossy Campaign’s message is using bossy as a word to describe women causes a women’s voice and opinions to be silenced. The goal of the campaign is “to help girls and women feel more confident and comfortable as leaders.” (McFadden & Whitman, 2014).
The overall message isn’t just about the word bossy, it is about negative messages that women constantly are labeled with. Growing up, women need to dance through land mines in order to avoid being labeled fat, skinny, un-lady-like, bitchy, or bossy to list only a few. The message of the campaign is that women need to be empowered to lead.
The cause is an excellent one and one that I think should be supported by all women. Growing up, I have always known exactly what I wanted and was not afraid to speak my mind. When I was told what to do, I would famously reply “You’re not the boss of me.” As you can imagine – I was a handful. My poor parents. Because I was able to speak my mind, I have become an effective leader and more comfortable with my personal skill set and communication abilities.
In the workplace a woman who is successful and assertive is labeled cocky, aggressive, shrill, bossy, bitchy, and/or ruthless. While men with the same qualities are viewed as leaders with confidence and motivation. What is wrong with this picture? Women are still not getting the same pay as their male counter parts. General Motor’s first female executive was appointed only this year which was one small step for women-kind. And guess what? She will be paid HALF of what her predecessor was making. No need to tell you that her predecessor was male.
Since this campaign has begun there has been an explosion of responses ranging from extremely supportive to articles titled “Ban ‘bossy’? Suck it up, girls”. The latter referenced article, written by Margaret Wente, was a poor excuse of an article attacking a cause that was started for all the right reasons. Wente perpetuates the unfortunate cycle of women knocking down the efforts of other women. And for what? Nothing. Disappointingly enough, all the articles putting down the Bossy Campaign and pointing out its problems were written by women. There is no power to gain from slamming a campaign that is trying to inspire women to speak up and to challenge gender roles by empowering and enabling women to be more verbal, strong, and powerful. Wente argues that instead of banning the word bossy it should be “reclaimed”, which is precisely what I interpreted Beyonce to do in the end of the video. Other women mock the campaign saying things like “bossy is among the least offensive words”. It starts with bossy. It starts with young women. That’s the entire point of the campaign!
Some people might use the word bossy, but that sure as heck isn’t a negative attribute. I’ve been called bossy. But I am also organized, successful, and positive. I get things done. I graduated with not one, but two Bachelor degrees. And tutored the Communications department. And worked for Residence Life, advising student counsels, planning appreciation lunches for campus custodial staff, and advised college residents. I’m now working full time and going to school full time in order to complete my Masters degree. Being “bossy” got me ahead, enabled me to travel, helps me lead meetings at work, and keeps my work and personal life organized.
Ban Bossy= Stopping negatives toward women.
Ban Bossy= Encouraging leadership opportunities for women
Ban Bossy= Supporting a woman’s voice
Ban Bossy= Fostering young women to be confident in their opinions
Ban Bossy= Building the foundations for confident and brilliant female leaders
A good boss is a good leader. So I’m going to keep “boss-ing” away.
Be a boss!
McFadden, C., & Whitman, J. (2014, March 10). Sheryl Sandberg Launches ‘Ban Bossy’ Campaign to Empower Girls to Lead. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/sheryl-sandberg-launches-ban-bossy-campaign-empower-girls/story?id=22819181