Getting even bossier by banning words that make us sad

In a perusal of my Facebook page I came across an article about how Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, wanted to do away with the word “bossy.” Maybe it was the early hour or my focus on other subjects, but I went by it with a comment to myself of “word policing.” Some more research later, and banning “bossy” is a real thing. It’s sexist, or teaches girls not to be women, or who the hell knows.

Actress Jennifer Garner, singer Beyonce and designer Diane von Furstenberg are all in on this new craze. Even NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson is part of the action.

They claim that girls are discouraged from taking on leadership roles in society for fear of, “name calling and labeling.”

The website goes further:

When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” 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.

There are so many moving parts to this kind of politically correct victimhood. First, do those involved – Beyonce, Garner, Johnson, actress Jane Lynch, Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan, First Lady Michelle Obama — not think that boys say other boys are bossy? It doesn’t have just one gender context. It just doesn’t.

Second, is there no recognition that kids — as they are learning right from wrong — can sometimes be cruel? Is there nothing to be said for parents who need to take the lead (not a part, but the LEAD!) in teaching their children right from wrong? In teaching their daughters (and their sons) how to deal with such words and the people who use them?

And is anyone going to complain about Tina Fey’s book “Bossypants,” or any of the other uses of the word not in a “demeaning girls” context? is a project of Lean In, put together by Sandberg. Another person involved in the BanBossy team? Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Yes, BanBossy is a cross section of politics, with women coming together from all walks of life to better the lives of girls.

Except, they’re not. They want to ban words. They don’t want to teach girls to not give in to name calling, to not accept the labels being thrown at them nor to stand up for themselves. They want to “ban” words. What, exactly, is the strength shown by this?

If we want our children to exhibit strength, and if we want them to grow up to be resilient — something wholly lacking in today’s generation of college graduates who can’t go on a job interview without bringing their parents — we must teach them to be resilient.

We don’t ban words, we stand up to those who use them and we do not let those words define us. No matter their good intentions, the people involved in this crusade are on the wrong side of the argument. We defend free speech, even when we hate the words. We don’t ban the word, we stand up to the user.

I think the girls of America are up to the challenge. They just need the proper role models.


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