against ‘ban bossy’

Last week, LeanIn.Org, the organization founded by Sheryl Sandberg (of Facebook and Lean In fame), teamed up with the Girl Scouts to launch a national public service campaign to stop girls from being called ‘bossy’ in an effort to encourage them to lead. #banbossy has been controversial, to say the least. Debra Cole and I are debating the merits of it here, at Brain, Child Magazine.

Lauren writes: ‘Being “bossy” in the playroom with regard to one’s peers and being the “boss” in the boardroom with regard to one’s colleagues are two very different things.’

Deb writes: ‘The purpose of the campaign is to “encourage leadership and achievement in girls,” not inspire them to be obnoxious.’

What do you think?

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Filed under parenting

2 responses to “against ‘ban bossy’

  1. I am actually struggling with this one a bit and I need to read more and understand the issue. Thank you for this post which points me to a few of the pieces that will help me do that!!

    • It’s not straightforward, I agree. I took a hard line in the piece I wrote because, as a mother of small children, I balk against the idea of not calling girls (as well as boys) out on traditionally ‘bossy’ behavior. ‘Bossy’ for me is an inherently gender-neutral adjective. And yet, I see Debra’s point: there is a larger-scale issue concerning how we, as a society, perceive the same traits differently depending on the sex of the person possessing them. Overall, I think the campaign has done a good thing. We are all now thinking about the goal of promoting leadership skills in our daughters, even if we disagree about the means.

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