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Ban "Bossy": Promote girl leadership around the world

Kelsey Fowler

When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.

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  • Kelsey Fowler

    This is not an actual, literal ban on the word bossy. It's not. It's a catchy alliterative title to get the attention of a cause. Do I think "Ban B*tch" or "Cancel C*nt" would be great titles? Yes, but not only is that besides the point, we're not going to have a campaign aimed at the development of young girls use the word c*nt.

    This is a campaign that is aimed at getting teachers, parents, and others to think and change the way they (and other children) describe young leaders. There are actual, scientific studies that show that young women are discouraged from being leaders while at the same time young men are encouraged. Ban Bossy comes from the fact that boys are told that they're being strong, while girls are told they're being bitchy. The point of the campaign is to have girls EMBRACE their leadership skills, not to be constantly put down by them.

    And those who embrace bossy or b*tchy are great— but let's talk about how long they had to endure that to gain the confidence that they have now. For a 7-year-old girl who gets told she's bossy, or should let someone else lead the activity, she might not last long enough to embrace it one day.

  • Gabi de León

    We don't need to BAN bossy. We need to reclaim it. I'm "bossy" sometimes...because I know how to do my job, for example, and I know how it NEEDS to be done, and I'm going to direct my team so that it gets done correctly. Bossy has developed negative connotations, but it's really another word for being a leader.

  • THyde

    I'm trying to educate my kids (girls and boys alike) not to be bossy.
    I had enough with all these gender-oriented campaigns.
    We and our parents didn't fight to empower women, but to empower people and stop talking about gilrs vs. boys!

  • Richard Starr

    Because banning words "always" solves the problem. *rolls eyes*
    Leadership is not telling people what to do, its convincing others to do it.
    There is a significant difference here. Banning the word is a simple feelgood
    shortcut that will not serve the stated purpose of encouraging leadership skills.
    Instead, why not actually take the time and effort to teach the difference?
    And hopefully not in a way that discourages leadership among the boys as its
    price. Too many programs designed to eliminate a problem do so by harming
    those who did not cause it.