The campaign promotes female empowerment in young girls, and seeks to overthrow the word “bossy,” a term often used to undermine the prowess of strong female leaders. The tagline, as said by superstar Beyoncé, is: “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”
Ban Bossy is headed by Lean In, a nonprofit founded by Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook, and the Girl Scouts; two powerful organizations with ample resources to comprehensively address female empowerment and leadership skills.
Although I am supportive of the motivations behind the campaign, I have my doubts. For one, I personally never associated the word bossy with overwhelming negativity. I always connected it with “boss.” I always used the word in the most definitive way; a term for someone who tells someone else what to do, irrespective of gender. But that’s just me. And I recognize how the word can be construed to target female authority.
But, I don’t know if the overwhelming majority of people use the word bossy to specifically target women. I find the term gender-neutral.
Wouldn’t Ban Bitchy be a more effective cause?
Unlike the word bossy that is open to expansive interpretation, bitchy is unarguably a term used to undermine female authority. Bitchy is so inundated into our culture, that, for some, it’s actually a term of endearment. Women frequently call themselves and their enemies bitches. Men refer to their wives, mistresses, girlfriends, and whatever else in between as bitches. How perplexing.
I never had much use for the word. I don’t refer to myself as a bitch. And I honestly cannot understand why anyone would. The word is ugly and unnerving. To call a female a bitch shows a lack of respect. It can never be associated with anything positive, despite various attempts to make it so.
It pains me when I see women on social media referring to themselves as “bad bitches.” Being a “bad bitch” is not a compliment. It is nothing to aspire to. It does not validate beauty. All it shows is that women are willing to degrade themselves for an inkling of male attention.
In the workplace, there is even less wiggle room for calling a woman a bitch. Here, the sting of patriarchy is more harmful. In the workplace, there are codes of conduct in which authority, no matter what gender it’s doled out from, is to be respected. Authority is what keeps offices running, and if authority is compromised, then the entire professional structure is at risk. The word bitchy should ESPECIALLY not be tolerated within the engines that run the entire economy.
A Ban Bitchy campaign would’ve been more useful. But obviously, given the key players, it’s impractical. The most recognizable face of the campaign is Beyonce, and we already know she is not shy about calling herself and others bitches. After all, these bitches need to bow down. And of course, with husband in arm, she’s a bad bitch from H Town.
Besides the inherent Beyonce hypocrisy, Ban Bitchy couldn’t be targeted to young people considering its profanity. Ban Bossy is geared towards very young children. I get it…
But, just imagine how thought-provoking this campaign would be if Ban Bitchy were at the forefront. Imagine how inspirational it would be to see her take a stand against a word that’s sole purpose is to diminish her very female existence. Imagine what a compelling narrative could be told from a woman who revolutionized pop music all without degrading herself to a basic bad bitch. And think of the young men who would finally question his choice in referring to females as “bitches.” In the 21st century, males need to be positively engaged in the female empowerment cause.
So, the Ban Bossy is a great first step into getting us to question the words we use and the genders we assign them to. But, it lacks the muster that’s ultimately needed to empower our young girls.
Bad bitches don’t run the world, but bosses do.