Ban Bossy and Just Be the Boss

ban bossy

Ban Bossy is a hashtag sweeping through Twitter in order to promote just being the boss.  Many celebrities have endorsed Ban Bossy to encourage young girls to take on leadership roles throughout life.  The push to ban the “other” b-word is an effort to stop a persistent trend of adolescent females not pursuing leadership roles.

The scourge of backing down from leadership roles will trail budding ladies into adulthood.  Ban Bossy has been quarterbacked by Sheryl Sandberg, the author of bestselling book Lean In and the chief operating officer of Facebook.  Sandberg claims the word “bossy” bedeviled her childhood and has continued to present itself throughout adulthood.  This has caused pain and self-doubt,  prompting her desire to assist the upcoming generation by offering alternative avenues to attempt to derail emotions attached to the word.

When the term “bossy” is used, it tends to focus more on the female gender rather than the male counterpart.  A young boy that asserts leadership on the playground or inside the classroom does not antagonize or disturb the situation.  The surrounding children follow suit and are not offended or astonished by the action.  The action is conventional and well received.  Once the action is reverted and young girls take a similar stand, they are condemned and resented.  This embeds specific stereotypes regarding the roles of each gender.  Exemplifying that, the characteristics of girls are thought to be sympathetic, gracious, and nurturing, while boys are thought of as emphatic, self-assured, and strong-willed.

Children refer to these types of connotations when trying to build a base of proficient independence.  The American Association of University Women reported that sixth and seventh grade girls place being liked by peers and popularity on a higher scale than being independent or competent.  Boys, on the other hand, had a higher likelihood of placing independence and competence at the top of their scale.  The Girl Scouts of America surveyed nearly 4,000 girls and boys ranging in age from eight to 17 in 2008.  The survey revealed that girls tend to avoid leadership roles in hopes of dodging the label of “bossy” and and being distinguished from their peers.  This hinders young females in their attempts to just be a boss, and ban bossy is a definite step in the correct direction.

“Bossy” is just one of a slew of other words that can follow assertive girls into womanhood.  There will be other words that begin with “b” that the Ban Bossy campaign claims packs the same punch as bossy.  The types of words used will change with time, but the brunt to the psyche will remain the same.  Ambitious woman are often stamped as raucous, aggressive individuals disliked by both men and women.  Sandberg believes the root of this pattern is established in childhood in connection to the word “bossy.”  In order to escape this path, an action as small as banning a word can be put into play.

The Ban Bossy movement  has hatched an outpouring of celebrity support.  Celebrities such as NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, Jennifer Garner, Beyonce, Diane von Furstenberg, and Jane Lynch are a few of the many that have sanctioned the Ban Bossy revolution.  Names of this caliber have been enlisted to stress the seriousness of how words can affect productivity in the long term.  Ban Bossy is a fabulous movement set forth to allow young girls to just be the boss and eliminate the negative connotations of female success.

Commentary by Ebony Waller

Sources:

ABC News

Ban Bossy

USA Today

Wall Street Journal

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