I love that LeanIn.org and the Girl Scouts have partnered to help empower girls and encourage them to lead. I love what they're doing. I just don't love how they've chosen to word their message. I don't like the decision to build the campaign around "ban bossy."
My number one problem with the campaign is that being bossy is not a bad thing. Being a leader is a good thing. Thus, banning a word like "bossy" trivializes the effort in recent years to stop (not "ban") people from carelessly using words in a way that is truly derogatory, offensive and cruel.
Actress Jane Lynch, who is part of the "ban bossy" campaign, is also one of the most visible members of the end-the-R-word effort. And, quite honestly, I think that's unfortunate. If you look at the two campaigns head to head... Well, one seems quite silly in comparison to the other.
And what does "banning bossy" mean? Is a student supposed to raise her hand and complain to the teacher if someone calls her "bossy"? Are we going to hear about some 5-year-old kid getting kicked out of kindergarten because he called a classmate "the B-word"?
The "ban bossy" campaign features bossy AND amazing women like Condoleezza Rice, Diane von Fürstenberg, Jennifer Garner and Beyoncé. (Condoleezza Rice is the former Secretary of State. I assume she's quite bossy. And I mean that in the best possible way.)
Instead of having the powerful women talk about "banning bossy," I would have liked a still simple and hashtag-able campaign such as, "#IAmBossy" or "#ThisIsBossy" or "#DontYouWantToBeLikeBeyonce?" or "#BossypantsIsOneOfMyFavoriteBooksEver."
It's easier to change how WE react to a word than to change words that OTHERS use. The message I would have preferred is: take "bossy" as a compliment. Hillary Clinton is bossy. Oprah is bossy. Tina Fey is bossy. Sheryl Sandberg is bossy too. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
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