As most of you know, I’m a Sheryl Sandberg fan and have reviewed her book, Lean In on the blog. So when it was announced yesterday that Sandberg had launched a campaign to deter the use of the word “bossy” as it pertains to young girls, I was already on board without knowing much about the new initiative. I didn’t need to hear that Beyonce, Diane von Furstenberg, Condoleezza Rice or Jane Lynch were involved (although that lineup is kinda friggin awesome). I was just excited to learn more about it.
Having read the book, I know exactly where Sandberg is going with this. It all stems back to equality in the work place for women, and what better place to start then by being mindful of the things we say to young girls so that we’re not stifling their possible growth into future leaders? It isn’t just about the word “bossy”. It’s about all the things that are said to young girls that give them the impression that it’s not okay to be ambitious or that it's not okay to want to be leaders. It's about all the things that tell them it’s more important to be liked than to embrace a natural inclination to be a great leader.
Okay, so the title of the campaign “Ban Bossy” weighs a little heavy on the cheesy scale. I’m sure the copywriter who thought of it was focused on the alliteration, so pleased with how it sounded rolling off the tongue that the cheese factor didn’t quite register with him or her but is that reason enough for all of the negative backlash? I don’t know. A contributor for Forbes blasts Sandberg, essentially telling her to get her priorities straight because “There Are Far Worse Things Than Being Called Bossy”. Another site brands the initiative “The stupidest campaign ever”. While I don’t quite know about all that, I will give a little on the call to ban the word. Ban is a hell of a strong word and like I just said it makes the whole thing sound super cheesy (yes, after consideration, I increased the cheese level from a little to super). However, I don’t think we should get caught up in word play. Let’ not let that detract from the intention of the campaign. Fact is, there’s a problem with inequality for women in this country and like Sheryl, we should be attempting to work at the root of the problem to try and resolve it. Rather than bashing a woman who’s trying to do something positive, why not take a deeper look at what she’s trying to accomplish here and try to encourage little girls with leadership skills to strive to be leaders they were born to be. Visit BanBossy.com for more info.
"Let's make power moves ladies." Thanks for reading.
Here’s a great piece on a few women we know that have been called bossy. Among them Anna Wintour, Michelle Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Barbara Walters, and more.