THE BLOG
03/20/2014 06:14 pm ET Updated May 20, 2014

Sheryl Sandberg's 'Ban Bossy' Campaign

This article was originally published on Better After 50.

I look to women leaders for inspiration -- there are plenty for me to watch and read about and learn from: My tops are Arianna Huffington (can't wait to read Thrive, her new book) and Hillary (can't wait to vote for her), two leaders in their fields who I am awed by. I have a hunch, some may consider these two women bossy but, for me, who cares? I don't think name-calling could have stopped them from their ascendancies.

The same goes for Sheryl Sandberg. No one word like bossy could hold this woman back.

In the last week, Sheryl Sandberg, number two at Facebook and author of Lean In and creator of the Lean In campaign which has given women permission to forge their own networks, has launched a new initiative to Ban the Word Bossy.

I'm kind of hoping this latest media blitz by Sheryl to Ban Bossy gets trumped soon by something with substance. Have you heard about it?  Here's the video clip featuring Condoleezza Rice, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Garner to name a few.

I'm really annoyed by this latest roll out from Sheryl. The whole concept of banning this word feels silly -- perhaps juvenile. It sends me right back to the playground. It's like an "attempt" to ban bullying without doing that at all. Seems like once the bully hurls "You are OR she is sooo bossy," the poor victim is eviscerated. But is someone with real leadership skills so easily stripped of power by this name-calling?

I don't think using the word "bossy" rises to the level of a full-blown social media blitz. I can't get behind this campaign. Does anyone else feel this way?

Honestly, do you think that the word bossy interferes with a woman's ability to lead - to rise in the ranks?

What's so bad about bossy anyway?

My personal interpretation of the word bossy may not be the definition Sandberg is talking about -- but frankly, that's the problem with this campaign. The word bossy is subjective -- we each have our own definitions.

I asked a bunch of my kid's friends -- a group of 20-something women -- about this Ban Bossy campaign and they really didn't get what the big deal was. "Isn't it cool to be bossy?" "Of course we need more women leaders but that word isn't going to get in the way of someone becoming a leader -- it's not strong enough to be hurtful -- there are plenty of other words that are way more hurtful."

So we started to brainstorm about words that diminished women -- words that cut their knees out from under them -- what were those words?

Yup you guessed it: "She's such a "B####ch" or "She's so PMS." That's all we came up with -- not bossy!

The only good thing I believe that has come out of this campaign is the social media blitz itself. The masterminding behind the "ban bossy" social media rollout is a genius and there's a lot to learn from her. However, I'm hoping next time around, Sheryl picks a better topic that truly advances women's leadership roles.

Banning words does not seem to be the ticket to creating social change. Hateful, abusive language is not ok -- it's not! But, shouldn't the focus be on how we react to the name calling that truly counts? After all, we can control our reactions way better than we can tell people what NOT to say (which sounds like a Bossy plan to begin with anyway).

Women will rise to the top because they can lead and sticks and stones may break their bones but words will never hurt them -- because if they're really leader material -- they'll figure out how to deal with the name callers.

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