Ban Bossy campaign delivers the wrong message


After watching the recent PSA, “Ban Bossy,” I felt bossed around. And confused. And hungry. I’ve got these women telling me not to use the word “bossy” because it “discourages young girls from leadership positions,” but aren’t the women on the PSA being bossy by banning a word? Let’s just ban the word “ban,” that way bossy women can stop banning things and make me a sandwich already.

This is just like the recent remodel of Barbie. The new doll was created to look “average,” because “average is beautiful,” and apparently young girls’ image of “beautiful” is distorted, when they play with hot dolls made to look like a 5’ 7” blonde bombshell with killer knockers and a bubble butt.

What? When I was 5, I was more concerned with cutting my Barbies’ hair and seeing what happened when I ripped her legs out than with why my stomach wasn’t flat like hers.

When I was 7, I was called “bossy” all the time (It hasn’t stopped since then, either. Clearly, with good reason.) It never bothered me. It never seemed to bother any of my girl friends when they were called “bossy,” either. To be honest, I barely remember any of this, which is exactly why I can validate that “bossy” doesn’t mattered to young girls.

But we can pretend that it does, if you want, for the remainder of our time together.

If the word “bossy” alone discourages girls, how in the hell can they be a leader? If you want to be a leader, you better brace yourself for many more “b”-words to be hurled your way in the process.

If we assume that just a word can hurt a young girl, we are weakening their spirits with such an accusation by itself. We should be building up our young girls to learn how to be “rightfully bossy,” instead.

For example, “Damn right, I’m bossy. You may not ask me out over text.” or “Hi, I’m bossy. Now would you please open the door for me?” Maybe even something like, “I will not have sex with you. I’m bossy.”

Why are we encouraging young girls to stand up to a word when they have the power to stand up for so many greater things? Why don’t we try banning self-disrespect, urban decay, or fatherless homes?

Don’t get me wrong, I think encouraging girls to fill leadership roles is an awesome thing. I’m writing angsty columns for a university newspaper, and I’m aware I can only do so because of the actions of many great leaders, many of whom were female. But greatness and leadership are not determined simply by a person’s level of authority.

And you don’t have to be the CEO of Fortune 500 Company to be a positive leader.

Mother Theresa was a badass while she was willingly living in a slum among the poor. She never went to a university, minored in Leadership Studies, or played with “average”-looking Barbie doll. But she was, and is, an incredible and selfless leader.

Ban Bossy furthers the idea that girls need to receive a higher education and stay in the workplace in order to be productive and a great leader. So many of my friends’ biggest dreams are to be a good mother- what does Ban Bossy have to say about this? I’d like to know. Because moms are bossy as hell, and they know it. They have to be, or else we’d all be smelly, malnourished bums that don’t know how to read.

Bossy is a good thing. It means you’re standing up for something. And if we continue to assume that five letters diminishes a young girl’s motivations, then we need to start rethinking our sensitivity thresholds. And the message that effective leadership is found in the title before a woman’s name is more damaging than anything. Who cares if a girl is bossy? She’s probably right anyways… like a boss.