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Banning Bossiness and “Ban Bossy”

Perhaps the most bothersome aspect of the modern world is its relentless bossiness. It’s not just an increasingly authoritarian government that dictates individual choices on everything from health care plans to the light bulb in the living room lamp, or the organized do-gooders who would bully the public into eating its vegetables and wearing bicycle helmets and espousing the most up-to-date opinions regarding homosexuality, but the annoyingly prevalent opinion that one person is perfectly entitled to tell another how to live his life.
Now we are even expected to encourage this infuriating tendency in young girls, lest they be oppressed by the patriarchy or something. This outrageous notion is being aggressively promulgated by a sinister coalition of Facebook and the Girl Scouts, with help from various celebrities, who have joined forces to “Ban Bossy.” They don’t mean banning bossiness, of course, but rather banning the word “bossy” from the English language. We suppose the word will once again be permissible if a Republican ever gets back in the White House or the anti-abortion movement starts winning political victories, but “Ban Bossy” insists that in no event is the term to be applied to even the bossiest little girl.
According to the “Ban Bossy” campaign’s propaganda, this is because “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.” This is utter nonsense, and makes one wonder how long it’s been since the “Ban Bossy” movement got out of the house.
When a little boy asserts himself these days he’s less likely to be called a “leader” than to be pumped full of Ritalin and sent off to some public school re-education program to discover his feminine side. If little girls are so intimidated by the prospect of being called “bossy” that they are fearful of raising their hands or speaking in school it somehow hasn’t prevented them from graduating at higher rates than the boys, earning most of the college degrees, and finding better employment prospects at the end of the process. There’s still a distinct difference between raising one’s hand or speaking one’s mind and being bossy, too, and while boys are as always more likely to have the lesson beaten into them on some remote corner of the playground it strikes us as downright sexist to assume that a little girl can’t figure it out on her own.
We have no objections to little girls growing up to be assertive, hand-raising, mind-speaking women, as we will be far too old to date them by that point, and we will welcome their leadership so long as they lead us in the direction of freedom and individualism and red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism. “Ban Bossy” will only encourage bossiness, however, and there’s no need for more of that from either sex. There’s no shaking a suspicion that the movement hopes to raise a generation of women so effectively bossy that they will at long last realize the left’s cherished dream of telling others how to live their lives, and it makes us shudder.

— Bud Norman

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