Saturday, February 6, 2016

This screenshot of a "Ban Bossy" promotional video shows Condoleezza Rice talking about the campaign. (Photo Supplied/
Can banning 'bossy' really make a difference for women?

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 5:57 p.m.

I like the idea behind the "ban bossy" campaign, but I'm not sure it will work.

"I'm not bossy. I'm the boss."

Those are the words of Beyonce, one of the celebrities endorsing Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's campaign to ban the word "bossy" when it's used to refer to strong women.

Calling girls bossy, according to the campaign's website, makes them shirk leadership positions even as an adult. Girls are afraid of being labeled bossy (or another b-word) so they don't try to lead.

Boys, on the other hand, are praised for asserting themselves, the website says.

I immediately liked this when I saw it today because of these three reasons:

  • Lean In (Sandberg's book on how women can succeed at work) was one of the best things I read in 2013 and now I'm interested in anything she does.
  • The campaign feels like "yes, somebody understands me" to me, and probably to the countless other women who have already responded to it today on social media. 
  • Condoleezza Rice is participating, and my dad thinks she is awesome.

But I wonder if Sandberg's campaign will make a difference.

The "bossy" girls who really should lead will no matter what they are called. Girls and women who have the capacity to influence won't worry about what people are saying — or if they do, they will learn not to worry about it.

It would be cool if people were nicer to women with strong personalities. Maybe this campaign is a step in the right direction. 

What do you think of the campaign? Do you think calling girls "bossy" holds them back? Leave a comment here, or talk to me at

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks