Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, recently spearheaded a campaign called “Ban Bossy: Encourage Girls to Lead” that has received a lot of backlash. A national movement empowering young women to become leaders? Right on, sister. What’s not to like about a campaign like this?
I am completely aware of the lack of respect for women in leadership positions. I go to school in the capital of a very, very blue state. A state that is supposed to be a leader and innovator in the feminist movement, yet I am one of maybe 10 politically active females on campus. Trust me, I get it. I’m sure it’s not the kind of environment that the women of the Seneca Falls Convention had in mind.
I get the concept of and motives behind creating a campaign like this and I love it. The problem that I have with this particular campaign is that it’s just another way to turn girls into victims. I feel the same way about the “War on Women.”
I know we are treated differently. I know that when a man is authoritative he’s a leader, but when a woman’s authoritative she’s a bitch. My issue with banning a mean word- or trying to- is that it gives the word too much power. If your skin isn’t thick enough to brush of a word, you aren’t cut out for a leadership position. You cannot prevent people from thinking or saying bad things about you, but you can shield yourself from the wounds of demeaning words with confidence and esteem.
Banning a word does not encourage girls. It teaches them that words define them. Words only define you if you allow them to. You’re worth much more than the words other people brand you with.
I’m thankful for women like Sheryl Sandberg and I commend her for her efforts in advancing modern feminism, but I’d like her to know that labels don’t matter. Or they shouldn’t at least. I love her “Lean In” campaign that encourages women to be more assertive. I just wish she would use this same tactic with young girls. If little boys correlate assertiveness as being bossy, then be bossy! Take it as a compliment.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that these “bossy” little girls turn into “bitches.” Speaking from experience, you can do one of two things with these labels: allow them to break you or make you. Being a bitch doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing because…