Readers sound off on the ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign

Posted Sunday, Mar. 23, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Every Monday, All Points features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. Each week’s responses also bring the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, mnorman@star-telegram.com.

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Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer and author of the best-selling book Lean In , recently launched a campaign to ban the word bossy , which she argues sends the wrong message to little girls who assert themselves. She has support from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and mega-star Beyoncé.

Is this a worthy endeavor to end a problematic word association that can lead to timidity in young women, or is it political correctness that fails to tackle the real issues that disempower women?

The “Ban Bossy” campaign is in itself bossy.

Bossy is not a detrimental term, except in this campaign. In fact, everyone I’ve ever known who was bossy has had high self-esteem and considered themselves to be in control.

Now, slutty is a word that should go by the wayside.

Beyonce could begin the demise of that disparaging term by encouraging young women to empower themselves by uplifting their behavior and dress instead of the downgrading image she currently espouses.

Instead, she should encourage young women to become bossier.

— Beth Mullens, Bedford

It is not a worthy endeavor but silly and insignificant.

Not only little girls, but also little boys can be assertive (or bossy).

Adult men and women can be assertive or bossy. Even animals can be assertive or bossy. One may have two dogs. One dog may me more assertive or bossy toward the other dog. This is true of other animals.

There is and will be more serious issues in life as children grow and age.

Adjustments will have to be made throughout life, even starting very young.

As is sometimes said: “Roll with the punches,” “Suck it up,” “It’s all part of life.”

— George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

I think “Ban Bossy” is a catchy way to attract attention to the problem of women thinking less of their selves, but banning the word bossy in and of itself is not the solution.

Education and outreach can be the answer.

Instead of focusing on the negative connotation of the word bossy, we should teach our children the positive aspects of the bossy quality: a can-do attitude; a take-charge person, detail-oriented, or “getting things done.”

We can change our thinking and attitudes by changing the connotation.

Banning the word bossy is another form of political correctness that has swept this country.

Embrace bossy, like it!

— Peggy Werner, Hurst

Sheryl Sandberg wants to ban the word bossy?

Ironic. It seems to me she herself is being a little bossy to Webster’s dictionary and the public at large.

Religious people say “WWJD” (”what would Jesus do?”). I say “WWSS” — “What would Shakespeare say?”

In the realm of words and language, instead of banning words, we ought to be expanding them and articulating specific definitions for those words of meaning.

I think the only word worth banning starts with an “n.” Bossy falls nowhere near the demeaning stature.

I would imagine feminists and Hillary Clinton or Gloria Allred. They ought to ban, if any word, bitchy or that c-word.

Banning words is actually more dangerous than banning whole books. Extremely unwise! I think William Shakespeare would agree.

— David Howard Elton, Colleyville

As they say, “... if the shoe fits, wear it.”

— Dwight Heard, Benbrook

Before deciding whether the “Ban Bossy” campaign should be taken seriously, consider other recent feminist actions and statements:

• They have outlawed standing up to urinate in Germany’s men’s rooms.

• They’ve said that not wanting to hear about feminism is worse than rape threats (Rebecca Watson).

• Said that when a man and woman have sex, and they are both drunk, the man is raping the woman.

• Want legislation in Massachusetts that outlaws upskirt photography when committed against women and children, but not men.

• Support federal charges for violence against women, but not men.

• Claim that the difference in strength between men and women is social conditioning not genetic (Anita Sarkeesian).

• Ended the career of a Harvard president and federal reserve nominee because he said the difference in male and female success might be partly genetic.

• Repeatedly claim that the difference between men’s and women’s pay is the result of discrimination, even when the study they cite says it isn’t.

• Disrupt a men’s rights meeting by pulling a fire alarm.

• Repeatedly held men and women to different standards, and supported discrimination against men.

Maybe there is a reason some people are called bossy.

— Tom Glenn, Fort Worth

Banning the word bossy to describe a little girl seems like an inane idea from someone who has little else to do.

If bossy describes the actions of a little girl, then so be it.

How else are little boys supposed to learn to be submissive and obedient if not exposed to bossing?

Oh wait, girls are the ones delegated to be submissive and obedient. My bad!

— Kenneth Pickett, Arlington

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