'Ban Bossy' campaign for women won't workMarch 11, 2014 @ 12:55 pm
The Jason Rantz Show.
A group of notable female celebrities, female public officials, and businesswomen have joined together in support of a campaign called Ban Bossy, meant to make young girls less afraid of going after leadership positions.
"When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a 'leader.' Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded 'bossy,'" says the campaign message at banbossy.com.
I hope you understand that they're using the term bossy but they really mean the other b-word as well. They're interchangeable in the context of how they're discussing it.
Good Morning America spoke to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, a supporter of the movement, about the issue on Monday.
"We [women] are 50 percent of the population. We are 5 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs. We are 17 percent of the board seats. We are 19 percent of the U.S. Congress. That's not enough for 50 percent of the population," she said. "I was called bossy. When I was in ninth grade my teacher took my best friend Mindy aside and said you shouldn't be friends with Sheryl. She's bossy. And that hurt."
Yet Sheryl, who was called bossy in the ninth grade, turned into a COO of Facebook, and a best-selling author.
In the interview, they were also joined by the head of the Girl Scouts, Anna Maria Chavez. When asked why the word "bossy" matters, she said:
"Because words matter, we need to start naming girls with words with positive attributes like strong, confident, resilient, with grit, not bossy."
Now she's right. Words do matter, including the c-word: censorship. This is a form of self-censorship, the kind that doesn't ever work.
It seems to me their issue is with how women are perceived. And you can take out a word, but they'll still be perceived the exact same way, they'll just come up with a different word.
Do they have a point when they say women are labeled bossy or the other b-word when they're just being authoritative? Yes. I think they have a point.
But there's also this misperception on the part of women who make this claim that men who are aggressive in their leadership world, they're seen as a great leaders and women seen as bossy or bitchy. I think that that is not an accurate reflection.
We have a language for men that are like that. We call them a jerk, a narcissist, a sociopath. We hear about Jeff Bezos being called a tyrant. We hear that about Mark Zuckerberg. If you've ever seen the movie "Social Network" you realize, he's kind of a jerk. He's a cold, heartless person who is also a leader in his field. We hear unflattering labels about Steve Jobs, regarding his relentless desire for perfection.
Aren't men who are a certain way also labeled? It's not that we don't appreciate what they can bring to the table as a leader, it's that they're not leading in an effective manner.
So maybe the conversation should be how to be an effective leader whether you're a man or a woman. How about highlighting some of the qualities of being an effective leader? A quality we don't want, whether you're a boy or a girl is to be bossy, to be rude, to mean, to be dismissive, to be a control freak.
Now if you want to change how girls view themselves, tell them that sometimes words are just words, that they don't always matter. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." There's some truth to that. You allow yourself to become a victim if you allow a word to hurt you.
You can't just remove the word "bossy." The concept is always going to be there until you change the minds of the people who use that label on women or girls. If you ban bossy, people will just come up with another word to be labeled against them. So what do you do about that?
You instill some confidence. You tell girls it is OK to be leaders, and why it is OK to be leaders. And show them examples of good leaders that are also women. You tell them not to be afraid to be labeled anything.
Taken from Monday's edition of The Jason Rantz Show.
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