Ban Bossy: Beyonce Blessed

By The Beacon | March 27, 2014 12:13am
Drawing by Ann Truong

Emily Strocher |

“Classrooms are trying to ban the b-word,” the newscaster said, “but it’s not what you think,” and my youth-detecting spidey-senses kicked in. My dad started to guess things like Bieber, but I already knew what that other B-word was. Maybe it was from being an education major, maybe it was from reading a few too many feminist rants on Tumblr, but I called it.

Ban Bossy is the sensation spreading across the nation. Leaders Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and the Girl Scouts, see “bossy” as being a sort of gateway adjective.

Try to think back to your playground days. If one of your female classmates started taking charge of a group, what would you call her? Bossy. When does bossy ever have a positive connotation? More importantly, how often would you use bossy in reference to a guy?

No young girl is going to want to be called bossy, so she’ll stop doing whatever behavior caused her to be called that. The use of “bossy” creates a cycle of fear. It stigmatizes the qualities of female leadership.

According to the Ban Bossy website, between elementary and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’. When you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, you’re hardly going to put yourself out on display for the world to judge.

The effects of this can clearly be seen if you look at women in the world of business. Of the 2013 Fortune 500, women held 4.6 percent of those CEO positions. Bump that list up to the Fortune 1000, and the percentage stays the same.

As much as I wanted to instantly throw my support behind the Ban Bossy movement, I also wanted to make an informed decision. My decision was quickly informed by my frustration with an article against the ban. You’re concerned about the lack of mention of boys and men? Use your 30 more cents on the dollar of pay to buy yourself some therapy to get over it.

My opinion was slightly more swayed by a headline about Helena Bonham Carter being against the movement until I questioned why I was holding Helena up as some kind of feminist paragon. Sorry Helena, loved you in “Harry Potter,” but I’m going to go with the high-power businesswoman.

If you want to make your informed decision based on celebrity backers, Beyonce supports the ban. If it’s good enough for the Queen B, it’s good enough for me. In the words of someone who is actually known for being a strong, independent woman, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.”

Putting politics aside, let’s talk about how terrible of a word bossy is. I’m not talking about the connotations of it. This is purely linguistic. Bossy is a weak word. If you are still using that word today, I’m sorry, but you need to invest in a thesaurus. Bossy is kid language. You can practically hear it in a tiny voice.

Let’s ban bossy because people should have more advanced vocabularies. Let’s ban bossy because there’s nothing wrong with an assertive woman. Let’s ban bossy because anyone can be a boss.

Emily Strocher is a junior secondary education major. She can be reached at