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The Other B-Word
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece by two very successful women who are not happy with the B-word. No, not that B-word. They don’t like it when girls and women are called “bossy.”
The women are Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating office at Facebook, and Anna Maria Chavez, the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. Here’s why they find the word "bossy" so harmful:
“Behind the negative connotations lie deep-rooted stereotypes about gender. Boys are expected to be assertive, confident and opinionated, while girls should be kind, nurturing and compassionate. When a little boy takes charge in class or on the playground, nobody is surprised or offended. We expect him to lead. But when a little girl does the same, she is often criticized and disliked.
“How are we supposed to level the playing field for girls and women if we discourage the very traits that get them there?”
Let's make a deal, girls: I’ll stop using the word “bossy” if you stop being so damn “whiny.”
First, leveling the playing field for girls and women? Bulletin: It’s not the ‘50s anymore -- or the 60s or even the 70s. Girls are doing quite well in America, thank you. This is from a piece by Lisa Wolfe in the Daily Beast: “Girls are outperforming boys in all subjects except math and science, and even there, they’re closing the gap. There has been a steady 25-year decline in boys’ participation in extracurricular activities as girls take over clubs, newspapers, and yearbooks. For every 100 girls with learning disabilities there are 276 boys. For every 100 women graduating college, there are 77 men.”
As for the supposed pay gap we hear so much about, where men supposedly make more than women for doing the same job: Think about it. If that were true why would an employer hire men at all? Why not just hire women for less pay, cutting your labor costs, and enabling you to make more money? Men make more money when they work on oil rigs and in coal mines and other places where they might get killed – and when they work the overnight shift while most women are comfortably asleep at home.
So stop crying about how bad you have it, ladies. (I said ladies because feminists hate that word.)
And you know what they call guys who are bossy? It’s not always “assertive.” Sometimes it’s the p-word that ends with “rick” or the a-hole word.
You don’t hear us writing boo-boo pieces in the Wall Street Journal about that.
Here’s more from these two victims of our oppressive male-dominated culture that likes nothing more than keeping women in their place: “Despite earning the majority of college degrees, women make up just 19% of the U.S. Congress, 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 10% of heads of state. Most leadership positions are held by men, so society continues to expect leadership to look and act male and to react negatively when women lead.”
Some of that may be because of how we see women. But we see men in a certain way too. When young men turn 18, to use just one example, they have to sign up with Selective Service. Young women don’t have to sign up. Yes, they could go fight -- but only if they choose to. Or they could go to college and study French literature.
I will gladly admit that it must be hard to dance backwards in high heels, but no one is forcing any woman to dance or wear high heels. (Though there should be a law that requires women to wear high heels on Friday and Saturday nights -- at home or outside the house.) But there is a law forcing young men to tell the federal government where they are in case World War III breaks out and the Army needs them to fight.
I don’t hear Sandberg or Chavez complaining about that kind of inequality
If there’s a noise in the house in the middle of the night, a woman might turn to her husband and say, “What was that? Check it out.” Can you imagine a guy turning to his wife and saying, “I think someone may be in the house. Go downstairs and find out what’s going on, it may be a burglar.” I don’t hear Sandberg and Chavez complaining about that, either.
And if Hillary decides she wants to be president, she probably will be. There are plenty of Americans out there who will vote for her – not because she’s ever done anything especially noteworthy … but rather, because she’s a woman.
Sandberg and Chavez have started a “ban bossy” public service campaign. Fine, I promise never to use that word if they promise to stop kvetching. (Look it up.)