Beyoncé and Jennifer Garner are just a couple of the celebrities to join Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to help with her new Ban Bossy campaign. But what exactly is it all about?
Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, is spearheading a campaign which aims at encouraging little girls to embrace their natural leadership. The campaign urges people to ban “bossy” – a word often used to describe strong-willed and boisterous little girls. Sheryl claims that the word carries negative connotations and can disparage a young girl from asserting herself socially and, later in life, professionally.
Sheryl claims that when she herself was young, one of her junior high teachers said to her friend, “Nobody likes a bossy girl. You should find a new friend who will be a better influence on you”. That may be one of the most unprofessional anecdotes I have ever heard! I hope that no teachers out there today are teaching such archaic values!
It’s certainly true that there is a dichotomy between how strong-willed young girls are treated and how strong-willed young boys are. Girls are labeled “bossy”, while boys are “assertive”. Girls are encouraged to remain feminine, play with Barbies and have pink bedrooms, while being bold and self-assured can be seen as ‘unbecoming of a lady’. Sorry to briefly transport you all back to the days of Jane Austin and ‘gentleman callers’, but sadly things haven’t changed that much in regards to how little girls are supposed to behave.
The Ban Bossy campaign, which comes with its own hashtag #banbossy aims to put an end to this. Sheryl says:
“We need to recognize the many ways we systematically discourage leadership in girls from a young age – and instead, we need to encourage them. So the next time you have the urge to call your little girl ‘bossy’? Take a deep breath and praise her leadership skills instead.”
Sheryl has managed to get some pretty high profile women on board the campaign to help her out. Amongst them are Beyoncé, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner, Michelle Obama and Jane Lynch. In the promotional video for the campaign, all of the celebrity women get together to briefly outline what it is they are trying to achieve. Beyoncé, unsurprisingly as she probably holds the most influence, has the most powerful lines, “Be brave, be you” before ending the video “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss”.
The campaign is already spreading like wild fire across various social media channels, and is indeed a brave and inspiring venture which we sincerely hope succeeds.
Do you think that collectively these women will be able to change the way that the world treats assertive and headstrong little girls? Or is it futile to attempt to ban a word?