With Sheryl Sandberg’s #BanBossy campaign generating all sorts of debate, two AKHIA employees, Senior Account Executive Olivia Mihalic and Account Executive Amber Christopher penned their reactions.
First up, we’ll hear from Olivia:
#BanBossy is About More than Just the Word
Everyone is a-twitter about the #BanBossy campaign, recently introduced by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, encouraging us to ban the word “bossy” from our vocabulary in an effort to encourage young women to lead, speak up without fear and place their mark on this world.
I’ve been called bossy a few times, and although I’m the type to brush that kind of name off, I believe this is a word, among others, that should be added to the banned list. Women are making huge strides to becoming equal leaders, but let’s be honest—we’re not there yet.
I’m lucky to have grown up in an environment with strong-willed females. My mom’s unwavering spirit has guided me to where I am today, my grandmother is considered the “mob boss” of the family, and I work at a company that was founded in the strong hands of a woman. But there are many girls who don’t have these types of female influences in their lives. There are girls who are made fun of for being smart and being different, and fear stepping into male-dominated industries. This #BanBossy campaign is for them.
#BanBossy and the supporters behind it (Girl Scouts, Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg and Lifetime, to name a few) are trying to do more than just ban a word from our vocabulary. They’re putting a stake in the ground and empowering women to be confident in their abilities.
The campaign should really be called “#BanBossy, Be Confident, Lead with Your Heart, and Never be Afraid to Stand Out from the Crowd”—that may have just been too long a campaign name. So do we have more important things to tackle, such as world hunger, than banning a word like “bossy” from the schoolyard? Yes. But I think #BanBossy and its mission is just another thing that makes this world a better place.
Next, it’s Amber’s turn:
You may have heard of the recent campaign, #BanBossy. Launched by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, it’s all over Twitter, the news – even Beyonce is backing it. Or, maybe you read all the backlash of the campaign, ranging from nighttime television hosts to CNN.
The basis of the online campaign is to encourage girls to want to lead, without fear of being called ‘bossy.’ As a female myself, and one that is strong-willed has often been called bossy (I mean, my dad has had Kelis’ ‘I’m Bossy’ as his ringtone for me for years), I can’t believe we want to ban the term. I mean, really? As a woman in a professional setting, I take it as a compliment. I get things done. And people listen.
The root of the problem of young girls’ self-esteem is far deeper than being called bossy. Remove the word bossy and insert ‘aggressive’, ‘rude’, ‘controlling’ or even ‘the b-word.’ No, removing bossy isn’t going to fix the problem. I’d argue it’s not even going to put a Band-Aid on the problem.
Of everything going on in the world today, I find it hard to believe that banning the term ‘bossy’ is a top priority. Is removing the adjective ‘bossy’ REALLY going to empower women and encourage them to take more leadership roles? I would bet no.
How about we lead a campaign to change images in magazines or on TV? Ban photoshop in images of models. Or provide leadership training as part of the curriculum in schools—but offer it to everyone, because no one should be turned away due to being male or female. Ban gender segregation in schools. Provide more nutrition education to young students, educating them on the importance of diet, exercise and sleep, as well as on the effects nutrition has on self-esteem. Ban vending machines or high calorie drinks in schools. Work to educate children on the impact of their words, helping to ban online bullying.
I guess you could argue any effort toward a positive is an effort well spent, but I tend to think there are other things that should be banned before we put our efforts and dollars into banning ‘bossy’.
Now that you’ve heard from both Olivia and Amber, what do you think?