Ban Bossy?


Ban Bossy is a campaign by Girl Scouts of America and Strong women and leaders, including Beyoncé, Condoleezza Rice, and Jane Lynch, all support the campaign.

The campaign is to encourage girls and help them develop leadership skills.Women make up just 19% of the U.S. Congress, 5% of Fortune 1,000 CEOs, and 17% of corporate boards. Instead of using labels, the campaign encourages girls to develop valuable skills to become future leaders. 
Ban Bossy offers some suggestions for girls:
  1. Speak up in class
  2. Stop apologizing before you speak
  3. Challenge yourself
  4. Ask for help
  5. Don’t do everyone else’s work
  6. Speak up in friendship
  7. Trust your inner voice
  8. Change the world
  9. Remeber: it’s not always easy to speak up, but it’s worth it
These are all wonderful traits to have (whether you are a girl or a boy). 
Ban Bossy is encouraging girls to defend and to express themselves. This campaign is teaching girls valuable lessons about interacting with others and fighting for what you believe in.
(You can


The following pictures include some points of their arguments:



Michelle Obama supports this campaign. The first lady’s Instagram, michelleobama, shows this picture below and says the following: “Commit to your education, because every time you stretch your mind, you boost your confidence and add power and credibility to your voice—The First Lady encouraging girls to lead #BanBossy.”

The Ban Bossy video was upload on 9 March 2014. I waited a few weeks to see what some responses were. comments.
It has received over two million views.
However, the dislikes are more than the likes. Why is that?
To my surprise, the majority of comments were made by men (or were at least using usernames that are usually associated with men, such as John or Paul). Unfortunately, YouTube users have made offensive and startling.
Here are a few comments made in the last 24 hours on YouTube.
  • Paul McGuire wrote, “I hate it when women try to sound intelligent when they have much smaller brains than men.”
  • Darragh Tate wrote, “Actually, now that I think of it, of all the words they could start a campaign to ban, they go with bossy?” He then listed several offensive, derogative words and continued, “these are all a-okay, but bossy? Unacceptable! Ban it!”
  • Another user wrote, “Perhaps if your dreams are utterly destroyed by schoolyard name-calling, perhaps your rudimentary dreams are better off buried.”
  • A user named Johnny wrote, “Isn’t it ironic that the strong independent feminist are crushed by name calling If you crumble under the heat you probably shouldn’t be in a position with power.
  • Dingo Egret (sarcastically?) wrote, “Criticizing campaigns to ban non profane words from the english language is practically rape! I’m going to tumblr now to cry about my entitlements and the PATRIARCHY.”
These comments are offensive and narrow-minded. A few, quick thoughts on the comments listed above:
  • These women are intelligent and strong leaders or role models for countless numbers of people (both male and female).
  • Trying to “ban” a specific word is probably impossible. People can teach and preach about not using swear words, but let’s be real—swear words have probably been used since the beginning of time. The point here is that labeling people is unkind. You should not call a person bossy or any other offensive term because it is exactly that—offensive. Maybe “banning” something is too idealistic, but here the focus is on the effort to change how we treat one other.
  • The dreams of these women were not destroyed. Once again, it just goes back to treating people with common curtesy. Don’t be mean; don’t label. Words have connotations. The point here is to encourage and lift each other up, not tear each other down.
  • Ummm. . . these women are not “crumbling under the heat.” They are in positions of power and prominence because they have thrived, despite the labels and names people have called them. They are stronger than that. But it still doesn’t make name-calling, in whatever form, okay.
  • Rape jokes, even went written sarcastically, are not okay. Ever. Got it?
I only saw one positive, non-offensive comment, which was written by a female user.
  • Amy Change stated, “How can there be so many dislikes? they make a valid point that girls who tend to be in leadership are labeled as pushy and bossy while boys are labeled as ambitious. This a culture that we live in.”
I think that, once again, anonymity on the web is often a tool that is used negatively by users who hide behind their computer screens and write terrible comments to try to tear others down or reveal their most offensive thoguhts. Most of the comments, especially those listed above, perhaps emerge from insecurities. 
And guess what. Sometimes girls are bossy. Sometimes boys are bossy, too. Sometimes girls are mean. Sometimes boys are mean, too. Sometimes girls are kind and happy and amazing. Sometimes boys are kind and happy and amazing, too.
Does “Ban Bossy” sound bossy to you? Is that maybe the underlying point?
We label, and we judge. We gossip, and we backbite.
This should and must stop.
The take away message: be careful in the language you use because you never know what effect you can have—either positively or negatively.
See the website if you would like to learn more:


9 thoughts on “Ban Bossy?

  1. Oh for christ sake.. Seriously.. Teach self confidence! Stop censoring people’s language and letting their ”words” dictate your self worth.

  2. I did question (which I think is different than criticizing) this campaign, party without looking at it thoroughly. I think the message they are trying to get through is important, and while I am all for maintaining ALL words in the English language, I think the overall point here is labeling, and considering how and when we are using words. I do think that while speaking up is important, the converse–LISTENING (and thinking)–often flies out the window. Either way, it’s a good dialogue starter…and, sadly, one that is bringing the “trolls” out.

  3. Father of a girl scout here – one who went all the way through to Gold. She’s encountered this prejudice before and over come it, and I SO like this campaign, and your thoughts. I’ve shared them all over!

  4. It’s amazing what people can type while they remain protected behind the screen of anonymity. And it’s true that while girls are labeled pushy and bossy, boys are put into a seat of power and said “ambitious”. What? Girls can be mean, boys can be mean too. I don’t mean to criticize this culture we live in, but that thought of ‘boys are better than girls’ just doesn’t make sense to me. I thought we were over the times of the women civil rights. All thumbs up for the Ban Bossy campaign!

  5. Thank-you for encouraging more positive thought and conversation about this campaign. It’s easy to get disheartened by the waves of negativity pounding through for feminist discussion.

  6. Great post and I agree the traits could and should be applied to all children, girls and boys. We should all be encouraged to trust our selves, to speak up and feel we can change the world and to be respectful and caring to others. There are too many bullies and bigots in this world and it shouldn’t all be about who can dominate and shout the loudest, unfortunately though this is the world we are living in so anyone who is trying to change this has got to be doing a good thing!!

  7. Its all perspective…my daughter won the leadership award every single year in her class and in activity she has ever done. We have expected and trained leadership skills into both of our children one boy and one girl (he won the same awards) however, we also jokingly refer to the award as “the bossy girl award”. Although it is with great pride that we say it, there is no other award I would rather her receive, talent and academics can take you so far leadership skills take you where ever you want to go.

    Second I would actually argue that there is a huge difference between being a leader and being “bossy”. Leaders generally create an environment where people want to follow them are generally looking out for the group and are good mediators.

    Girls who are deemed “bossy” I would view as the girls who were often the playground “bullys”. Not so much leaders as girls who wanted their way no matter what and were going to make sure they got it. Perhaps why the term generates such strong emotions among those who have been bullied by a the bossy girl.

  8. I am amazed by the literal interpretation of the campaign to actually ‘ban’ a word and the defensive response in media discussions. I think its great to think more about how we describe and label children and the reason’s behind the gender gap in leadership roles around the world.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.