Yep. There’s a “Bossy Ban” going on, sort of. The Left is once again bossing around the American public limiting free speech choices—adding it to their infamous Banned Words Lexicon. Oh, it’s for noble reasons, as always. This time the ban is for the sake of future women leaders. Would it surprise you that a Christian and fellow Conservative woman supports the initiative but not the word ban? I do. Hear me out.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg started the social movement with her memoir, Lean in (Knopf, 2013). The media campaign to promote it is not insignificant either. In all of 50 states as well as in fifty countries ladies are gathering in over 14,000 “Lean In Circles” to support the effort to stop the underlying messaging by the global culture that women are considered bossy when they try to lead.
Of course, the Left cannot miss an opportunity to promote their ideology every chance it gets. Thus a legitimate movement will be framed in such a way to further divide our Constitutional Republic—more free speech infringement.
The catalyst for Sandberg’s organization was actually seeded in ninth grade when she ran for student government office. The following year a faculty advisor bereted her style by calling her out about it. The counselor advised the class president the following year, who happened to be Sandberg’s best friend, to drop her because, “She’s too aggressive, too bossy”. For Sandberg, the meta-message was “Girls aren’t supposed to lead”.
Obviously, Sandberg did not internalize the rebuke and has gone on to achieve outstanding leadership acclaim. Her memoir has struck a chord with most of us who have been in leadership positions. Condoleezza Rice and Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, have both joined with Sandberg in launching the public service media campaign to ban the word “bossy”.
At first I thought the “word ban” was just the hook to get attention—to drive home the point that women who assert the demands and directives required in effective management and leadership positions are often labeled bossy thereby hamstringing their effort to carry out their obligations. But not so.
Condoleezza Rice, professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business said, “Words matter”. She explains that the move is trying to get at the “subtleties” in messages that keep girls from achieving. I agree. But you do not alter terminology with an oxymoron—especially in a nation whose Constitution has as its first Amendment, Freedom of Speech. But the Constitution hasn’t stopped a Leftist yet.
What further discredits this necessary move for me is the enlisting the likes of Beyonce. Her new music video where she performs Partition (2013 Columbia Records) hardly qualifies her as a healthy role model to inspire young impressible women seeking future professional leadership positions. Yet in the media video promoting the move gave her the final line, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss”. That says to me she was totally responsible for a video that degrades women on so many levels. Frankly, I had to contain my inner counter-garbage culture from running out and painting the word “bossy” all over my car after I saw her in both videos.
I still find myself trying to make excuses for Sheryl Sandberg’s decision to execute the “Ban Bossy” media campaign. I’ve imagined that perhaps it was not her idea, but a far left member of her team—a communist perhaps. (Yeah, I know—I’m fantasizing.)
These three women: Sheryl Sandberg, Condoleezza Rice and Anna Maria Chavez all had support from their family to weather the attacks as they pressed on in their leadership development. As such, they are now in positions to change the debilitating paradigm, thankfully. But will the worthy cause be diluted by a false and corrupt ideology promoted by Hollywood characters? (I had several other adjectives in mind but I’m trying really hard to be polite.) Sure looks like they are on route.
I was not as fortunate as these ladies were in having a support system or mentor during my leadership development. I had to go it alone and figure out my mistakes as I grew. It takes a toll on your perspective and ambition.
I’ve held some sort of leadership position since I was sixteen years old, starting with the election to the presidency of my sorority. I’ve held management and leadership positions in practically every business I worked for and every non-profit organization I’ve been involved in since then. I’ve sat on three organizations’ boards of directors, one as the Executive Director. In all experiences they were preceded by numerous committee memberships and multiple chairing positions. And in more than one situation it was implied I was “bossy” when I simply used declarative sentences to give appropriate directions. This is a needed movement.
The objection I have is due to the pesky allegiance I have to our US Constitution and the manipulation by the Left’s academics, like Drew Weston (The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. 2007) to name one, who want to reframe every ideal or right into Leftist ideology. Every time I see the invisible mallet chipping away at one of our Constitutional Amendments—well it ticks me off. Their campaign is an infringement on my Freedom of Speech—and yours!
Yes, I know this is a social move—but the meta-communication here is more than just an advertising hook to make a point. The Left is being guided by academia’s finest Left leaning cognitive psychologists, linguistics professors, and professors of psychology and psychiatry. So this “word” thing is not only infringing on our Freedom of Speech, censuring the Right and elevating the Left’s ideology as they see fit, but is shaping our culture toward another form of government. They have mastered the arguments with skillful manipulation of word play, deceiving and persuading the low information voter, the undereducated, and the less astute.
As a wordsmith, I agree with Rice that words certainly do matter. However rather than banning, re-interpreting, or replacing them we should be teaching and modeling the change we want. We should teach our young women how not to internalize destructive meta-messages and to assert their leadership prerogatives.
Samuel Adams saw all this coming when he wrote, “How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”