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Theoretically, I understand how calling a little girl bossy could possibly deflate her willingness to speak up, however how much does this actually play out in reality? (Because in general, bossy people don't like being told what to do!) More importantly, I see a much bigger culprit against women's leadership flourishing amongst us, the other B-word -- Barbie.
For starters, the word "bossy" is just one in an endless list of putdowns directed at women who look to stand out from the crowd. Know-it-all, controlling, pushy; all words meant to discourage someone who gravitates towards leadership. Is the next step to ban all these words as well? Instead of fighting an unwinnable battle to eliminate words, we should be promoting their antonyms.
Although the campaign execution and commitment to girls is grand, I was disappointed that of all the words chipping away at our self-esteem everyday, that "bossy" was being sentenced to exile by powerful and recognized women. Unfortunately for all of us, banning words only mutes the systemic and cultural norms that are actually responsible for social inequalities.
Believe me, I get it the message behind Sheryl Sandberg's "Ban Bossy" campaign. I get the importance of empowering girls to speak up and follow their leadership talents all the way to the top, baby. What I'm saying is, it shouldn't be an excuse to allow bitchiness off the hook.