3/11/14

Ban Bossy . . .

"Eh! If I'm being honest - some of the backlash is deserved on this one."
Oh no. No. No. No.No. Sheryl Sandberg, you may be a brilliant business thinker and the "change agent" du jour and I really didn't mind your wildly stereotyping, callously simple, and male/female/self-minimizing "Lean In" (seriously an amazing read - if you've not read it, check it out immediately) even though I disagree with the core of your argument that ALL women are one person and ALL men are the other person (yes, defenders, that IS what her book says) but you've gone too far with this #BanBossy thing.

Why? It's divisive garbage. And. You. Know. It.

Why? Let's look at the core of you and your buddies over at the Girl Scouts of America came up with in the ban bossy movement . . . that little boys that establish themselves and that can motivate themselves and their peers and that can get other children to do their proverbial bidding are "leaders" (that is the only term we call them - all of us - all boys . . . just one word "leader") and girls that do the same are "bossy" (that is the only term we can collectively use to describe the collective them).

Ge-dafugouddaheeeeeah!

A) We call those girls bitches. I kid. I KID. (That was a horrible joke - I'm not even sure why I made it.)
B) You are boiling back childhood in era, tone, content, direction, and intent.

I happen to have a daughter. She happens to have a brain in her head. She is being encouraged to be confident and engaged and to be a good person and to live, act, and interact the right way for the right reasons. To be respectful. To be kind. To help. To figure the world out. If someone calls her "bossy" - oh well. Sticks. And. Stones. If someone calls her a "leader" - WHAT? She is SEVEN! Seven year olds don't lead . . . they just don't FOLLOW!

Want to ban words? Pound sand.

Want to ban mindsets and behaviors? I'm with you, Ms. Sandberg.

Here are some personas, that start with the letter B, I hope my kid never is . . .

Bully
Boring
Backstabbing
Bed-bound-because-of-depression
Bitchy

Here are some B words I hope my kid never puts too much weight in or value on . . .

Beautiful (unless it is on the inside)
Bitchy
Bad
Blithe
Broken
Bosomy

Here are some B words that I hope she aspires to fit the definition of . . .

Blessed
Beloved
Believable
Brave
Broadminded
BOISTEROUS

I hope that WHEN referred to as "bossy", my daughter just ignores them or the potentially negative intent - or gives them an even less exciting job within her fiefdom (I kid, I kid.). If she's living life right - it won't matter anyway. (SIDEBAR - I think you should be a little more concerned about your employer's policies on cyber-bullying, hate speech, and censorship than what the kids are saying to each other in the second grade.)

I get the Girl Scouts/Sandberg's intent with this campaign. I vaguely applaud it. She wants to end the gender discrepancies that might set kids on diverging paths at an age too young for them to part ways. I don't even know that I really blame Sandberg for how angry this stupid "Ban Bossy" thing makes me.

If I'm being honest - I blame myself and my ilk . . . the marketers. The ones that decided a decade ago (or a thousand years sooner) that for an idea to stick it had to be short, succinct, and unique. More over I blame the rise of social media where everything has to have a FRIGGIN HASHTAG TIED TO IT!

Ge-dafugouddaheeeeeah!

By boiling this movement down to three syllables and nine characters (leaving plenty of characters for your own deep thoughts on the matter) you are just repeating the same mistakes you made with establishing the program on the presumption that all kids were so delicate that a word like "bossy" could harm them and with your book "Lean In" where all men are booming, confident, grabbers/takers, etc. and all women are anything but the prior traits. More over you are simply repeating the same false echo that your own success and clout and achievement shows that "girls" and "boys" have changed a lot over the years and we can all rise above any gender stereotype or adjective or presumed response to any of the above to be INDIVIDUALS that know, value, love, and respect themselves. ADULTS that survived childhood's slings and arrows and gentle hugs and crust-less sandwiches.

PEOPLE that live life the right way for the right reasons.