Ban Bossy

Sheryl Sandberg's Word Police: Have You Banned Bossy Yet?

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Erin Patrice O'Brien for the Wall Street Journal

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of the "sort of feminist manifesto" Lean In, is fighting the good fight once more with her campaign to "ban bossy" from our lexicon. Her campaign's website states:

"When a little boy asserts himself he's called a 'leader.' Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded 'bossy.' Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead."

I have mixed feelings on Sheryl Sandberg, and her recent feminist activism has surely stirred up controversy (see here, here, here). On the one hand, it's laudable that Sandberg has focused on changing culture through persuasion rather than petitioning Congress for another law. (For instance Norway's absurd and somewhat insulting law that requires 40 percent of a public limited company's board be comprised of women.) It's commendable that she focuses on the individual, as she encourages women to "lean in" to the workplace, take more risks, speak up, and take on leadership roles. These are praiseworthy goals.

However, Sandberg's latest idea may create more problems than it solves as she pivots from individual action to societal obligation. Beyond the general absurdity of trying to ban words, it also places extra emphasis on the role outside forces have on the individual. I'm not saying that outside forces don't matter, clearly they do, but accentuating them can be problematic.

The campaign to ban bossy is in a way telling women that they are dependent on the society around them for their achievements. It implicitly suggests that women can't be successful until society stops saying mean and hurtful things to them. Alexandra Petri provides a good analogy when she writes: "This is like dealing with the Sleeping Beauty curse by removing all the spindles from the land. The trick is not to remove all the spindles. The trick is to teach you how to handle a spindle safely so that it won't sting you."

Emphasizing external factors that impact a women's success can also encourage individuals to "externalize" what happens to them, which can be demotivating and frankly demoralizing. Social psychologists have identified this phenomenon called the locus of control, describing the extent to which individuals believe they influence what happens to them. Those who de-emphasize environmental factors, but instead believe they can control their lives are more likely to have higher expectations of themselves, perform better in school, have better health, and take action rather than wish for change.

Perhaps a better solution would be to treat boys and girls as individuals rather than members of groups in need of filtered language and gender-specific treatment in order to succeed. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's own success may be in part due to the fact that she was not hyper-focused on gender and the external and cultural barriers she faced.

Reflecting upon her computer science classes at Stanford, Mayer says her lack of gender awareness was "actually healthy." She goes on to say, "I think if I had felt more self-conscious about being the only woman along the way, I think it would have actually stifled me a lot more." Mayer also pointed out in 2012 when she was still at Google, "I'm not a woman at Google; I'm a geek at Google. If you can find something that you're really passionate about, whether you're a man or a woman comes a lot less into play. Passion is a gender-neutralizing force."

Most women don't want to feel like people are treating them with kid gloves or are in need of gender-specific treatment. Growing up it never occurred to me that I could accomplish anything less than men. I had assumed the time had long passed since society systematically held women down. It wasn't until recently when older feminist sages brought it to my attention that I began to notice some of the problems they mentioned still existed. However, noticing these things arguably made things worse, and I found it—like Mayer said—"stifling."

Check our Marissa Mayer's talk here:

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  1. How about we replace “BOSSY” with “LIKE A BOSS”… 🙂

    1. I prefer Shut Up Bitch:)

  2. When a little girl asserts herself she’s called a ‘leader’. When a little boy asserts himself, he risks being branded an ‘asshole’.

    See I can speculate about risks too Sheryl

    1. When a little girl asserts herself she’s called a ‘leader’ trendsetter/rising star/empowered.

      Because little girls and women alike can’t achieve anything without some armchair postmodern philosophizer slapping the imprimatur of feminism on her actions. It’s the converse of belittling women who don’t achieve with opprobrious terms like “beaten down,” “hedged out,” or “false consciousness.”

      1. where is all this microaggression coming from?

      2. And when she’s called ‘bossy,’ she’s a victim.

    2. When a girl participates in a class it’s “contributing”, when a boy does the same thing it’s “interrupting”.

  3. Are there poll results in here somewhere? Or is reason that hard up for lady contributors that they’re forcing their pollster to do double duty. Blow the dust of your binders full of women, Welch, you misogynist.

  4. Mike Bossy was one hell of a player for those powerhouse Islanders teams back in the ’80s.

  5. How’s about some alt text, huh?

    1. You should post your daily mail links in this thread.

        1. I’m working from home today. Snowed in. Daily Mail doesn’t work over the VPN. Too many pictures. So no DM links today.

  6. Oh Sheryl, bossy is a euphemism.

    1. Stop being such a bitch bossy person, PRX.

    2. Sheryl Sandberg doesn’t understand the difference between “Boss” and “Leader”.

      1. She must have gotten *something* right, rising as far as she did. But she didn’t make herself an expert in the applicability of certain words.

        I bet she herself was called bossy as a child. Because I bet she *was* bossy.

        1. She must have gotten *something* right, rising as far as she did.

          Sure, I think we agree that bossy assholes can rise quite far.

  7. words like ‘bossy’ say more about demeanor than ability. Banning a word is not just stupid, it also changes nothing. Using challenged instead of retarded does not make the person in question any more able to do things that he/she cannot do.

    Most women don’t want to feel like people are treating them with kid gloves or are in need of gender-specific treatment.

    that is a hell of an assumption based on the actions of people like Sandberg and the repeaters of the war-on-wimminz meme.

    1. Progressives are always more interested in words than results

      1. +1 thoughtcrime.

  8. “When a little boy asserts himself he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’

    I think this is partially a function of how youngsters of different genders express themselves.

    Picture a group of kids trying to take apart a toy car and put it back together again. One of the kids is doing it wrong.

    To correct him, a little boy will very often say, “It doesn’t go like that.”

    But a little girl will very often say, “You’re not supposed to do that.”

    If you express yourself the first way, you will get called a “leader”.

    If you express yourself the second way, you will get called “bossy”.

    You will also deserve it.

    1. That is so accurate and insightful that I’m curious from where you lifted it.

    2. Isn’t telling people to stop using the word ‘bossy,’ bossy?

  9. Leadership and “bossiness” are two different things.
    People who are “bossy” are generally either bullies or people who are trying to lead without having earned a legitimate leadership role.

    You get to be a leader by first winning the respect of your peers and then proving that you can reliably make the right decisions.

    It’s a trust issue. “Bossy” people are those who are giving orders that you don’t trust and don’t want to follow. Leaders are people that you trust and are willing to follow.

    1. And Hazel nails it. A boss and a leader are not necessarily the same thing.

    2. and who among us has not met real life examples to back up this comparison.

    3. Yes. And generally a leader is doing something or going somewhere.

      The bossy person isn’t. S/he is just telling you where to go and what to do.

      1. Good point. A leader is part of the team and is actively engaged.

        A boss is someone who shows up from nowhere, orders people areound, and then disappears while the actual work is getting done.

        1. A boss is someone who shows up from nowhere, orders people areound, and then disappears while the actual work is getting done.

          And then reappears in time to take all the credit.

        2. We call these type of bosses “pigeons”. They fly in, shit everywhere, and then fly off.

    4. Exactly. And since when is “bossy” a word only applied to girls?

      1. That surprised me too. I never thought of it as applying particularly to females. The last time I can remember saying “bossy”, it was to describe the proclivities of shitzus. I might think of a young child as bossy regardless of sex. The last time I used it as a description of an adult human, I think it was a he.

      2. My guess is Sheryl has been called bossy in the past, and rather than admit to herself that her leadership style wasn’t working, she just blamed it on sexism, then assumed that since it was sexism, all women were getting called bossy all the time, as opposed to just her.

  10. I think you leave out an important point. “Bossy” is actually a thing. It’s a word we use to describe a specific set of behaviors, behaviors not really associated with strong leadership. And, yes, both men and women can exhibit such behaviors. To discourage the word is to discourage recognition of the behaviors the word represents. But, the behaviors remain. And the frustration with those behaviors remains. It’s just that we as a society have intentionally made ourselves dumber and negated our ability to address such behaviors in a meaningful, constructive, way.

    1. Its kind of like a certain book where words were removed from the dictionary in order to stop people from thinking undesired thoughts.

      What was that book called?

      1. Twilight?

      2. Don’t be niggardly with the hints.

      3. I dunno, they removed the book’s name.

  11. Don’t tell me what to do, Emily!

  12. boss?y1 [baw-see, bos-ee]
    adjective, boss?i?er, boss?i?est.

    given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering.

    I don’t like bossy women and I never will.

    1. I don’t like bossy women people and I never will.

      FTFY

      1. Well, yes, but this post in particular is all about bossy women.

  13. To quote Brett L

    No, see, bossy is very specific. It refers to certain girls who give orders without any proved authority or qualification. So the five year old who says, “Jimmy, you’ll be the farmer and Johnny you’ll be the coachman and Jane will be the wicked-step-sister and I’ll be the princess” without asking anyone if they wanted to play or whether they wanted their parts. Boys don’t get that way because about age 5 or 6 a bossy boy will make a statement like that to a larger and/or older boy and get an object lesson in what happens when you attempt to assert authority without establishing credibility. At the very least, he’ll have to answer the threat, “make me”. When a girl gets told this, her recourse is often “I’ll tell [adult of authority].” So yeah, it is totally gendered because boys can’t borrow adult authority and maintain leadership positions, for the most part.

    1. Yup. Good quote.

    2. Once again, random commenters on Reason provide a better logical argument than real life “Leaders”. Pity the human race. Stupidity rules.

    3. Yeah–it’s telling that when boys are bossed around, their first instincts are to either go along to get along, or stand up for themselves and force the bossy person to prove their authority. When a girl acts bossy and is told off, she either resorts to shaming tactics (“Why are you so mean?”) or threats to report the other kid to an authority figure(“If you don’t play nice, I’m telling teacher!”).

      It’s little wonder that so many feminists have favored ever-increasing government authority in people’s lives, because they know on a sub-conscious level that without it, they’d be social pariahs and unable to make people do what they want.

      1. Smart girls charm boys into getting what they want. Stupid bossy ones simply throw orders around and when they don’t get what they want, run to their feminist teacher for backup.

        1. The most dangerous women are the ones who are adept at manipulating/directing men without the men realizing it.

          The most dangerous men have large weapons which are easily identified at a distance and can be avoided.

          Which has more “real” power in out society today?

          1. Well, hasn’t that always been the case?

            Not just today, but throughout history as well.

      2. This is why there are no female libertarians!

        I’m surprised it took that long…

      3. Girls and boys do have different mechanisms to resolve conflicts. The physical way isn’t necessarily better.

        It’s sort of inevitable that girls are going to resort to passive aggressive methods since they are unlikely to win a physical contest with a boy.

        The schools should probably be discouraging boys from resolving differences with violence, anyway.

        There’s got to be some other means to establish one’s authority besides either beating people up or being a tattle-tale.

        1. There’s got to be some other means to establish one’s authority besides either beating people up or being a tattle-tale.

          It’s called earning their respect.

          Now, *how* you do that will depend on the person seeking authority and the audience. Every sub-culture will have it’s own rules for pecking order. The chess club will be different from the track team, but the overall criteria for the ‘leader’ will be the same; one who expresses mastery of their particular skill and isn’t a complete and intolerable douchebag, without any other redeeming qualities.

          1. This is, to say the least, an extremely optimistic view of how leadership qualities are judged in the real world.

        2. Rather than advocating changing the way we label, I suggest we change the way we socialize our children, if we want different results, not different words. I think that there are some deeply ingrained, perhaps even genetic, predispositions for boys to lead by doing and girls to lead by telling, and conversely for boys to be more accepting of taking orders from a doer and girls to be more accepting of taking orders from the person who appoints themselves the arbiter of social acceptance. But if men and women are going to work together and lead mixed-sex teams, women are going to have to demonstrate skills beyond being willing to cast out others and enforce their castigation.

          I’ve had female bosses for 6 of the last 7 years. Neither of them are bossy, although the first definitely had the reputation as being “a bitch”. She was awesome to work for because unless the orders had come from her, I was free to disregard them. And if someone was unhappy with my performance, they could take it up with her. She could chew my ass with the best of them, but never when I didn’t deserve it. That is everything I want in a boss. Competence, clarity, concern, consistency. The second is more consensus seeking, but provides me with the same traits. I have and had no problems following their directives because they made me believe they were going to make good on the leadership contract of never purposefully leading me into a bad situation and never leaving me hung out to dry.

    4. And let’s be honest–this stupid little “ban bossy” campaign is just the latest iteration of the progressives’ manic obsession with social engineering. It’s a “First World Problem” that isn’t nearly as bad as they’re trying to make it out to be, but progressives are emotionally incapable of not obsessively seeking a moral or social crusade to promote, no matter how superficial. They get off on the idea that they can bend society to conform to whatever flight of fancy happens to cross their mind.

      1. I think this is about right. The aim of eliminating the use of the term “bossy” is to eliminate the identification of the behavior. If the behavior isn’t identified, it will implicitly be accepted (or at least the proponents think).

        Personally, I’m willing to go along with it. But I doubt Ms. Sandberg will be particularly pleased that I’ve substituted “bossy” with “whim-worshipping douche”, “self-entitled fuckwit”, or the ever-popular “bullying cunt”.

        1. I like “self-entitled fuckwit”. I’ll use that today. Thank you.

        2. Excellent suggested alternatives for “bossy”.

        3. It’s settled then. The new ‘bossy’ will be ‘nagging quim.’

        4. How about “nigger”? A totally arbitrary substitution that’ll be sure to turn heads. 2nd choice: kike.

        5. I tend to call women bossy when they are very large breasted, and have four of them.

      2. They’ve had a good deal of success replacing “sex” with “gender”. Surveys now ask me my gender rather than my sex. Sex is biologic, gender is cultural.

      3. A lot of this commentary about “progressive manic obsession” and liberal victimhood shows that people aren’t too familiar with Sandberg’s work.

        In Sandberg’s defense, MOST of her stuff is around setting good examples and setting high expectations for women. She took a lot of flack from the Aggrieved Victims Clubs because in “Lean In” she explained that women do need to sacrifice some stuff to win, and that they should hold themselves to a higher standard than the world expects of them. Basically, her entire thesis was “Yeah the world looks differently at women, but you aren’t going to change the world, so change yourself.”

        Likewise I think this bossy ban stuff has been blown out of proportion. She is about setting good examples and that is all this article was about.

    5. Boys don’t get that way because about age 5 or 6 a bossy boy will make a statement like that to a larger and/or older boy and get an object lesson in what happens when you attempt to assert authority without establishing credibility. At the very least, he’ll have to answer the threat, “make me”. When a girl gets told this, her recourse is often “I’ll tell [adult of authority].” So yeah, it is totally gendered because boys can’t borrow adult authority and maintain leadership positions, for the most part.

      Nailed it.

      I also think he summed up my entire marriage.

  14. Another purported distinction I read about somewhere is that women generally ask “Would you do such-and-such?” when making a request; whereas men generally ask “Could you do such-and-such?”, implying possible inability.

    So, if a *woman* asks “*Could* you …” — BOSSY!

  15. “We’ve always been at was with bullying anti-bullying

  16. An effective leader knows how to lead without coming off as “bossy”.

  17. That chick needs to learn not be so bossy.

    1. Oh, and would.

  18. Don’t want to be called bossy? Don’t be bossy.

  19. When a woman like Sheryl Sandberg goes around telling people which words they should and shouldn’t use, isn’t she being kind of bossy?

    Oh, and I think we don’t use “bossy” to describe the equivalent behavior in little boys, by the way, because when little boys are overly assertive, society’s prescription is generally much more brutal than it is with little girls.

    With overly assertive boys we use various words for “rebellious” and “undisciplined”. The response to overly assertive boys is supposed to be to break them in various ways–otherwise it’s thought that they will become criminals and outcasts.

    Little girls get off easy for just being called “bossy” in comparison.

    1. We do have an archetype of the “bossy boy”. Mostly in British writing. Think Percy in Harry Potter or Piggy in Lord of the Flies. They are depicted as officious little pricks who lack the personality to be true leaders.

      1. Heck, you even see it in children’s cartoons. There’s a good reason that no one likes Brainy Smurf.

        1. Is Brainy Smurf like Sweaty Spice?

      2. We have it in the U.S. too, but he’s typically thought of as the rebel or the bully or someone else who has problems with authority–and is supposedly in need of breaking.

        It’s all about conditioning children to be subject to to authority, and if the girls get off by being criticized for being “bossy”, then they’re getting off easy. Where I came from, it was “Spare the rod, and spoil the child”.

        Sandberg should be criticizing society for training both boys and girls to be subservient. Few of us will ever be subject to dumber rules than the arbitrary rules we’re supposed to live under as children–or lamer justifications for them.

        In a better world, when children disobeyed after their parents justified whatever decision with “because I said so”, the general consensus would be that their parents should go get some counseling.

        1. Few of us will ever be subject to dumber rules than the arbitrary rules we’re supposed to live under as children–or lamer justifications for them.

          lolwut?

          The laws the mewling morons of the legislatures pass are far worse then anything I had to deal with in my parent’s house.

          1. There was a rule in our cafeteria.

            You can have three milks.
            You can have one juice and two milks.
            You can have two juices and one milk.
            But you cannot have three juices.

            When I asked why, I was told “Because we said so!”

            There are no rules more arbitrary than the rules people make up for children, and there is no other time when they justification for them will be more absurd.

            Resentment against our parents’ rules is the beginning of all libertarianism.

            1. So this was a government school cafeteria?

              I dealt with a lot of stupid shit as a kid, and almost none of it was from my parents. I read what I wished, played the games I wished, watched the TV I wished.

              Plenty of crazy bullshit from the public school system of course, but that just proves my point.

              1. I remember when my folks decided that I had to eat butternut squash.

                1. Yeah I mean, personal history varies. Personally I never had any issue with my parents at all. Granted I wasn’t a wild child crazy kid at all, but I had my share of drinking, drugs, and girls that my parents knew about.

                  It helped a lot that their reaction to finding weed or booze wasn’t something silly like “It will ruin your future” but more along the lines of “if you get caught by the cops then they will ruin your future.”

                  So I guess what I’m saying is that some of us have bad parents, but we all have a bad government.

                2. Damn…I just finished lunch, already ate twice what I’d planned, now you’re giving me an appetite for butternut squash. Or even buttered nuts and squash.

                  1. We were mostly vegetarians back then.

                    I was eating dozens of other vegetables!

                    I’d rather eat bugs than butternut squash.

                    Trying to make me eat that crap was absurd.

                    Respect my authori-TAY! That’s all it was.

                    1. I’d rather eat bugs than butternut squash.
                      Trying to make me eat that crap was absurd.
                      Respect my authori-TAY! That’s all it was.

                      That reads like a passage of poetry from Suess. Next line:

                      When I didn’t, they said, “You eat like a bird!”

        2. Bossy girls though tend to be bossy supporting the status quo. “You’re not supposed to do that! I’m going to tell Mom.” When a boy is rebellious he is not supporting the status quo.

      3. Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC KCB KCIE

    2. Medicate bossy boys, empower bossy girls?

    3. When a woman like Sheryl Sandberg goes around telling people which words they should and shouldn’t use, isn’t she being kind of bossy?

      They’re way ahead of you.

      1. I guess we’re talking about the definition of the word “bossy”.

        If she’s saying that the word has a negative connotation, then she has to concede that there’s something negative about the behavior the word is referring to.

        Is she trying to change the meaning of the word; or is she trying to stop us from using it?

  20. I’ve always thought a bossy woman just needs a good spanking. *runs out of room*

  21. I have a question. Is there a bright line distinction between “bitch” and “cunt”? Meaning-wise, not getting slapped-wise.

    1. I think it’s a matter of degree. You can come off as a bitch unintentionally, but it is impossible to be well-meaning and come off as a cunt. Cunt behavior requires intention. Everyone has their bitchy moments, but being a cunt is special.

      1. Ah, I see. So there’s a mens rea component to the state of cuntishness. Are there any affirmative defenses? Can one act cuntlike yet not be liable for true cuntliness?

        1. Well, maybe if the guy is being a prick, acting cunty to him would be sort of self-defense.

          But if he’s just being an asshole, I don’t see it.

      2. It’s a top shelf word. Use it sparingly or you’ll blunt its power.

        1. I dunno, “fuck” seems to maintain power, even as its shock value decreases.

          1. I do wish that we used it asexually as the Brits do, along with twat, which is a stupendous slur. The whole gender-targeted use here really deprives it of its proper application.

            Calling a guy a ‘dick,’ just isn’t the same as calling him a ‘cunt.’ Anyone cal laugh off ‘dick.’ It has no real power any more.

            ‘Cocksucker’ still seems to carry some steam.

      3. No, I’d say vice versa. You can be a cunt by your nature, poor thing, but bitchy is something you have to try to be.

      4. No, I’d say vice versa. You can be a cunt by your nature, poor thing, but bitchy is something you have to try to be.

        1. They got here early today? Or are they on Iceland time?

    2. I think the slap is slightly harder for “cunt” , possibly with some fingernails thrown in.

      1. Surely some scarring of the male is required. In the event of a female, deep shunning forthwith.

  22. “When a little boy asserts himself he’s called a ‘leader.'”

    Depending on how he asserts himself he may be called a bully. Shall we ban that word from our vocabularies? These words are criticisms of asserting yourself in ways that are demeaning and hurtful to others. Sandburg is suggesting that you cannot call out a girl for asserting herself in an inappropriate manner.

    1. Sandburg is suggesting that you cannot call out a girl for asserting herself in an inappropriate manner.

      For Sandburg, or at least those running with this campaign, that’s the wle point. z

      1. I understand, it is also rather sexist, as it means that there are no ways a girl asserting herself can be inappropriate.

    2. he may be called a bully. Shall we ban that word from our vocabularies?

      No, just switch to “cowy”.

    3. “Depending on how he asserts himself he may be called a bully.”

      Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner.

      And notice that progressives are actually encouraging the spread of the word bully, while bemoaning bossy? For them, there’s no possible equal application of any principle, it just boils down to “when we do it, it’s good…when you do it, it’s bad.

  23. By middle school girls are less interested in leading than boys

    My high school SGA was probably 90% female, 9% gay guy, 1% straight guy with a girlfriend in SGA.

    1. I got elected vice president of my high school after only being there for 6 months.

      Mainly because the guy I was running against made it known that it was his life’s ambition to be president of the US, would constantly wear blue and red ties to school, and practice his signature when he was bored in class.

      I, on the other hand, put my campaign posters above the urinals and in the stalls of the bathrooms with comic strips and short Darwin awards on them for reading material.

      1. Back then, I probably voted for the hottest girl running.

      2. He probably ended up on the local HOA board. Bossy little fucks.

        1. HOA boards, the local destination for all would-be tinpot dictators.

          1. Along with historical district councils.

        2. He dressed up whenever he could (with a blue or red tie of course), and practiced the art of loosening the tie and rolling up his sleeves as the day went on as if he was working hard on a political campaign or some shit.

          1. His name wasn’t Barack Obama (or Barry Obama, or Barry Soetoro) was it?

    2. Girls definitely are more clubby by that age, and they’ve got a pecking order all set up and within their various cliques, they’ll all support each other.

      When I was in 8th grade, I kinda figured that out, so I got the guys together at recess, and we all knew there were three girl cliques in our class, but they’d all vote for the girl if it were one on one in an election–and they had us way outnumbered.

      So, when it came time for nominations, we nominated three girls (one from each clique) against one pre-agreed guy, and, obviously, splitting the girl vote won us all the offices we wanted. Guys nominating girls against each other wasn’t something they’d planned for.

      After a bit, the teacher figured out what was going on and started threatening to nullify the results, so once I got the gavel and a few top offices, I stopped calling on guys for nomination purposes, and girls won secretary and other lesser offices…

      Girls are so clubby at that age, they can’t even go to the bathroom without bringing all their friends with them, and that makes it easy for them to get voted into offices at that age, but I’m not sure that’s demonstrating leadership. It may just be demonstrating their willingness to follow the most bossy girl in the clique.

      Little boys don’t follow that “well”.

      1. This is awesome. You were preparing yourself for your future as the ultimate vote-splitting libertarian.

        1. The other thing take from boys vs. girls at that age…

          Girls can’t go one on one with authority figures when they get in trouble at that age. For some of them, you might think it’s experience–they’ve just never been in trouble before.

          There was firecrackers at school incident when I was in the 6th grade, and they brought every single guy in the class into the principles office and gave us a grilling as to who brought the firecrackers. Fifteen guys! One on one with the thumbscrews!

          No one would tell! Not one of them! So, in the end, they decided to suspend us all!

          As unified as the girls are at that age, they can’t stand up for the group when they’re singled out from the rest of the group. They’ll start crying and they’ll the rest of the group down the river if they have to go up against an authority figure one on one.

          Again, I’m not convinced that their clubbiness is an indication of leadership. Sheep cluster together in groups for protection, too.

          1. Or maybe they just don’t see the logic in letting the 15 suffer for the one.

      2. After a bit, the teacher figured out what was going on and started threatening to nullify the results

        Typical. Talk about the teacher blowing what should have been an abject lesson in the self-destructiveness of tribalistic behavior.

  24. Even if it’s true that people instinctively want women to be nicer than men (which I think is at least partly true), how the fuck does it help to go on a national stage and dictate that people should pretend you’re being nice when you’re not.

    This is my 2 cents: Accept the fact that “bossy” is a thing and that people don’t like it. If you’re a woman who wants to be bossy, just go do your thing and quit bitching. If you can’t help but care what others think, don’t make it worse by acting even more like the stereotype you’re trying to shake.

    This whole uproar illustrates why nobody likes bossy people. They aren’t content with leading. They also want to control you.

    1. Wait, from where do you know my wife?

  25. The campaign to ban bossy is in a way telling women that they are dependent on the society around them for their achievements. It implicitly suggests that women can’t be successful until society stops saying mean and hurtful things to them.

    But… history HAS shown that women can’t be successful until society stops saying mean and hurtful things to them – like “sweetheart” and “mami”.

    Because if that is not the case, then what was the purpose of all those “Sexual Harassment” courses that everyone had to take?

    1. “Not too much fun, all right? I already gave my big sexual harassment speech today.”

    2. I had to go through the mandatory harassment training after I got hired. I learned not to talk to women in the workplace because anything I say can be misconstrued as harassment.

  26. It’s also about learning from peer pressure. If you tell someone to do something, they don’t do it, and call you bossy, what are you going to change to better influence people the next time?

    Getting rid of the word ‘bossy’ won’t really affect this, but having the vocabulary to accurately describe a problem is a big step towards fixing the problem.

  27. We’ve had our fun, but in a few years, I suspect the word “bossy” will be rooted out of polite conversation, and banned from the playground and the classroom.

    The people who roll their eyes at this campaign will end up going along with it, simply because fighting it will be too much hassle.

    1. That’s fine. “Ma’am” is a very suitable stand-in for bossy or bitchy or whatever.

      “Perhaps you didn’t understand me, ma’am

      It’ll be hard to ban “ma’am.”

    2. Maybe. How much traction does this silly thing really have, though? And how much do people really use the word “bossy”?

      People have been trying to get people to stop using “retarded” for years and that doesn’t seem to have gotten very far.

      1. Here’s how I see it. On the one hand, some powerful people (including educators) who think they’re saving little girls from the tentacles of the Patriarchy, versus some eye-rolling skeptics who post snarky remarks on comment boards.

        Which side has more commitment and staying power?

        I’m not endorsing the campaign, just doing some political analysis.

        1. You’re right but that’s because education is dominated by women and most guys don’t want to take teaching jobs because the pay sucks. That and kids are annoying.

          1. But you do get lots of time off. I thought of being a math teacher for a while and the main reason I didn’t (besides already having a decent job and getting some pay rises) was stupid political crap. And that kids are little shits. If I could find a way to teach only AP calculus or something I could still see doing that. As long as I don’t have to deal with the little shits who don’t want to learn.

        2. But you also still have the broader society which for the most part still seems to not like the ultra-PC crap and uses whatever language they like.

          Words like “retard” or “gay” are still widely used as insults despite years of schools and bossy busy-bodies telling us not to.

          1. Not only that, but as long as the root word “boss” stays in use, the derived terms “bossy” and “bossiness” will keep flowing from it easily.

            People might stop calling cows that, though.

          2. Note that retarded is the PC word that replaced the older word idiot which itself was a scientific definition. The pejorative grew up from it being viewed as bad.

            1. That’s a fairly predictable pattern–euphemisms becoming dysphemisms. Often several such have been cycled thru. People never get that it’s the thing itself that’s bad, not the word for it. Well, actually they do get it, which is why the euphemism becomes a dysphemism, and a new euphemism is sought.

            2. I’m pretty sure we used “retarded” as an insult in school while it was still an OK word to use for actual retarded people.

  28. When Sheryl Sandberg opens her mouth she reveals the true level of her ignorance.

  29. Dear Sheryl, & Co:

    You’re not the boss of me.

    STFU.

  30. Instead of “bossy”, call Sheryl Sandberg “cunty.”

  31. If I were a Facebook shareholder, I’d be asking the Board why their executives are running around spouting a bunch of social justice bullshit when they should be concentrating on the jobs they were hired to do.

    1. It’s a sign that the bubble is pretty much fully inflated now. Along with: Tim Cook’s environmental concerns and Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation (Will-I-Am),

    2. Considering it’s a social network site, being socially dependent and petty is probably part of the “office culture”.

  32. I still don’t get what “lean in” is supposed to be.

    1. Stick your head in the mix and boss people around.

    2. Confuse’em with cleavage?

      1. I vote for that one.

    3. I borrowed her book from a former manager and I couldn’t finish it. From what I could tell, “Lean In” means ignoring your family so you have more time at work to get offended by everyone you work with.

  33. When my little boy starts trying to boss people around, I don’t praise him for being a leader, I tell him, “don’t be bossy”.

    Put a cock in it, Sandberg.

  34. Sheryl Sandberg’s Word Police: Have You Banned Bossy Yet?

    I dunno. Have you stopped being bossy?

  35. Perhaps a better solution would be to treat boys and girls as individuals rather than members of groups in need of filtered language and gender-specific treatment in order to succeed.

    Blasphemer! Apostate! Heretic! How DARE you suggest we’re treated as if we’re not part of a greater whole?

    Don’t you know that gender and race politics depends completely on a collectivist view of humanity? How else can you expect social justice to be achieved?

  36. The purpose of the ever-shrinking vocabulary of Newspeak is that certain ideas could not even be expressed verbally, and thus could not even be thought. The objects to which those words could have been applied would still exist, of course, but without any means of expressing the concept, people would not be able to recognize it.

    Or

    fucking

    wellian

  37. That little blond girl looks really bossy. You never see that look on a little boy’s face. I think it does have a lot to do with the different ways that boys and girls tend to play (of course it is not universally the case, but I think it holds pretty well as a loose generalization). Girls like to imitate adult behavior (e.g. playing house, telling people what to do like mom does) and boys like to pretend to kill each other (way over simplified, but you know what I mean).

    I think it’s great that it is more acceptable to break out of conventional gender roles, but unless you want to deny reality and pretend that the genders are mentally exactly the same (on average), it is stupid to expect that most people (or any particular individual) will.

    1. Resting bitch face.

    2. That little blond girl looks really bossy. You never see that look on a little boy’s face.

      If a little boy stared at another little boy with that look, he’d be in a fight soon after more often than not. Probably a good reason boys don’t usually do it.

      1. I never got in fights as a kid and few people I was friends with did either. And you still never saw that shit. I think what you say is part of it, but boys also seem to be a lot less concerned with social standing and pecking order. They just want to fuck around and have fun.

        1. Interesting – I got in quite a few fights as a kid and so did a lot of other kids I knew. Maybe it was just the times (people didn’t worry about kids getting in fights much in the 1960s and 1970s) or maybe it was just growing up in New Jersey. Or maybe a little of both.

          1. I’d say the era and the location had a lot to do with it.

            I’m 27 and I got in two fights as a kid, both self-defense. Probably should’ve gotten into more, looking back, but I was afraid my dad would kick my ass for forcing him to take time off work to come get me.

    3. No, to me the bond girl in pink looks bored. I often imagine models, especially if they’re children, to be bored after a long time shooting; at least I often seem to see that in their faces.

        1. Here’s the littlest one today:

          http://www.columbia.edu/~csl2137/

          And although I meant “blond girl” above, that one does look a little like a Bond girl.

          But the pix I linked to remind me of the most arbitrary rules we impose on children: bathing & dressing. And cutting & combing hair.

      1. I may be reading too much into it, but it looks to me like affected boredom to show displeasure. There is a reason they chose that photo in particular.

        1. Do you think they actually shot it with one model leaning on the other, or pasted 2 separately shot pix together? If the former, then they may have been more limited in their choice.

  38. I’m guessing she must have overheard an underling refer to her as “bossy” and got all butthurt and upset about it. Since even successful business women are apparently still fragile little snowflakes or something.

    1. “Sorry I called you bossy, boss. Please don’t fire me!”

  39. “Don’t call us bossy,” say two little girls that look absolutely insufferable.

    1. Let’s ban “insufferable”.

  40. I’m guessing she must have overheard an underling refer to her as “bossy” and got all butthurt and upset about it.

    Less risk of not knowing who’s behind Door Number 3, in the Men’s Room.

  41. I have mixed feelings on Sheryl Sandberg

    I don’t. She’s an asshole.

    She wants to ban words, sounds bossy to me.

  42. To do my bit, I endeavored to at each juncture where I might be enticed, motivated or inclined to utter the word “Bossy” to replace it with either Bitch or Cunt.

  43. This kind of stuff is getting so tiresome. Will it never end?

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