A hilariously predictable social campaign has kicked off in America. It is to ban the usage of the word “bossy.” Apparently, what holds girls back from pursuing their dreams of becoming 1%er’s is being referred to as bossy when they are growing into adulthood.
To properly understand this social idiocy, understand the ideological posture that leads to censorious campaigns such as these. Proponents of this avenue of thinking think they that words greatly matter and effect oppressed populations in ways that their oppressors cannot understand. Further, they make the assumption that you can glean what a person thinks of X, Y or Z simply based on usage of one word alone.
Usually, the afflicted believers will lead commentary on “Banning Bossy” with the glib assertion “words matter” and then go on to cite studies they never have read nor considered their statistical methodology. Usually, as seen in the video above, inherent sexist bias that values male leadership at the expense of female leadership results in the usage of the word bossy. This is to dissuade females from becoming the leaders they would have been without being violently verbally assaulted by the word bossy.
These sorts of campaigns are based out of female political narcissism: feminism. Feminists think that any reason they or other females never became the millionaire space-cowgirl rock stars they thought they would become while growing up is because of anything but themselves. The most alluring and most used social fiction is the folder of male misdeeds towards women: sexism, misogyny, patriarchy, sexual harassment, rape and anything that women only understand as coming from men towards themselves. “Banning Bossy” utilizes this framework, as the untold assumption is that this is done from men towards girls. Even if they are to admit that women do this to girls, the default retort would be that those women suffer from sexist “Stockholm Syndrome” and are just reflections of male sexism.
To fully understand the ignorance and narcissism behind the movement, consider these points:
1. There Exist Real Biological Differences Between Men And Women
Ideologies like feminism usually assume that men and women are not different biologically at all—aside from their genitals—so they assume any perceived difference in the behavior of the average man or woman to be a social fiction. This mindset has a limited but useful approach in certain professions—namely, psychology. Psychologists often assume their patient’s issues are resultant of social forces in their lives; assuming this means they believe every person that walks through their door can be healed. Naive? Yes, but necessary to avoid morally judging clients and writing off seriously damaged individuals.
That being said, any social movement aimed at “equalizing” males and females that ignores biology is completely deluded. The “Ban Bossy” movement isn’t chock full of neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists or anything at all. It is dominated by celebrities, businesswomen like Sheryl Sandberg and female college students. You think these people are familiar with basic evolutionary theory? You think they understand what the Baldwin Effect is? From a pop culture standpoint, have they read Steven Pinker’s brilliant book “The Blank Slate?”
No, they have little desire to pursue the hard sciences like biology, ironically proving Pinker’s views on gender. They consider life to be a social construction, so that any individual woman has the desire and ability to compete with the top dogs of men. Not only does this deny simple genetic differences between humans (IQ, for instance) but also assumes that men and women do what they do simply because of socially enforced norms. Yeah, that’s why lesbians in America place less emphasis on physical appearance than heterosexual females, and gay males place a hyper-emphasis on physical appearance that heterosexual men do not.
Still, while they ignore biology, they also have a massive blind-spot on who socializes boys and girls.
2. The Campaign Ignores The Supreme Primacy Of Females Raising Children
As I observed in my post “A 3 Point Primer In Female Privilege,” women have the privilege of dominating the homes of America. Women run most all homes, have a level of control over children that men do not enjoy. Media reinforces this, often portraying men as latter day Elmer Fudd’s, stumbly and befuddled man-children, not fit to tie their own shoes. Men who are not men until they have the approval of a woman and are not considered civilized until they exist under the watchful and morally superior yoke of a female.
However, this is just the beginning. Women overwhelmingly dominate the compulsory educational system and are increasingly making up the administration of said institutions. They are the social workers, babysitters and other family members that usually help care for children are female. The feminist rebuttal would be that this a social construction, but the Mosuo of China suggest that women—even when free of patriarchy —are incredibly interested in raising children with other women, with fathers as an afterthought.
What this means for the campaign isn’t just that women are biologically predisposed to want to care for children, this influence means that women have a greater impact on the future of children. How can the campaigners speak truthfully about girl’s self-esteem being harmed by the word with the not-so-implicit premise that this comes from boys and men? Either the harm comes from mostly women, or the harm isn’t there at all. If the campaigners truly wanted to help women, they would need to narrow this campaign’s scope to women. Yet, they don’t do this and they refuse to address the real concern the women are increasingly becoming the only influence in children’s lives.
3. The Educational System Has Been Promoting Girls For Many Decades
Narcissists love to pretend that the world starts and ends with their lives. What most of these “Ban Bossy” believers don’t understand is that the school system has been promoting girls for decades.
We can fudge with the dates a bit, but I think it would be clear by the 1960’s, the school system has been obsessed with turning women into better capitalists. Women overtook men as enrollees in college in the early ’80’s and TV shows have been shaming men for decades for thinking any profession or undertaking isn’t for girls or women. The system—for almost a half century– has been doggedly and ruthlessly promoting girls into every profession. As a side note, I cannot understand why girls and women need so much encouragement, support and resources to do what they want. People do what they want—the heart wants what the heart wants, after all—if anybody needs so much assistance, something is amiss. And, no, it’s not patriarchy, sexism or misogyny.
“Ban Bossy” adherents don’t seem to understand that girls have been strenuously promoted for over two generations now. Maybe, just maybe, the reason there aren’t as many leaders (translation: women wanting to climb the corporate level till they reach their level of incompetence) is that women either don’t want to be “leaders” or they wisely realize it to be the rat race most men realize. To pretend that the reason that girls and women haven’t risen up the ranks as Beyonce and Sheryl Sandberg would want them to is because the system doesn’t want them to is hogwash.
4. “Ban Bossy” Is The Narcissistic Apogee Of Female Egos
If you think the reason you didn’t reach your potential is due to the usage of one word towards you as a child, you need a long, hard look in the mirror. More specifically, if you are a woman and didn’t get to wear snappy black Prada heels with your Dolce & Gabbana dark azure power suit at your high-status job — not too manly, but creative and expressive — where you do really important stuff on things is because of sexism, well…
First, that so-called retrograde sexism died long ago. As previously noted, schools and media have been beyond vigilant to police and smoke out any notions that women shouldn’t do things men do.
Second, and most importantly, this isn’t about girls. You see any girls in the video? All I saw were grown women, women with powerful careers, money and status. What are they complaining about – do they think they deserved more than they have acquired in life? No, this is about the women and mothers watching. You know, those stuck in a crappy, low-effect marriages, with a clutch of disoriented kids and a boring job that they wish would appreciate them more, you know, as a human.
“Banning Bossy” is no more than disaffected female egos who thought they were going to smash the glass ceiling of capitalistic, creative or any sort of high-status endeavors. They thought they would be Sheryl Sandberg, Beyonce or Jane Lynch — a CFO, famous musician or actress. Those narcissistic dreams didn’t get burned off in college, nor dashed by reality in their later 20’s. No, they ended up surrounded by the normalcy of middle class, not the high-brow world of money, power and fame. They have to suffer the utter indignity of marrying a regular man, having regular children, and having a regular, middle-class job where they know they are increasingly expendable.
Campaigns like this serve two confluent purposes: one, to give purpose they are going to change the world for the better (read: forcing their daughters to become the women they couldn’t be) and also assuaging their own ultimate narcissistic wound of not becoming everything in a world where they were taught they could be anything.
Trapped in a world far more interested in exploiting them via gaining an income and blowing it on media-created wants, girls and women pass not from father to husband, but from schools to corporations and government, with the ever-present eye of the media guiding and influencing them. Girls and young women justify all this with the vainest of all hopes: that they accede into the 1%. At best, they land in the comfortable and privileged aspirational 14%, but that is agonizingly close to their dreams. They may brush elbows with women whose lives they think they should be living. At worst, they mire away in the banality of a middle-class life. The height of their boring day job might be gossiping about whose marriage is collapsing or if that ugly bitch from HR is cheating on her husband with the head of Legal.
In sum, the “Ban Bossy” campaign is little more than repackaged narcissism through the lens of gender and male-blaming. The lonely hearts that take up with the movement are young women beginning to spin a defensive web of why they will never become CEO of a fashion company. For older women, it is those who want to use girls and young women as objects to act out their own failed lives, while pretending it was untoward socialization that they never got to wear sexy but tasteful suits as the head of HR at Goldman Sachs.
TL;DR: Women to Sheryl Sandberg: “You stole my life!!!” Also, blame patriarchy. And men. And words.