LOS ANGELES – Watch out, theres' a new 'B-word.'
Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and author of the best-selling book “Lean In,” has recruited a slew of celebrities to launch a national campaign to ban the word “bossy,” claiming it discourages girls from taking on leadership roles.
“I think the word ‘bossy’ is just a squasher,” “Glee” star Jane Lynch says in a campaign PSA, while Beyonce states: “I’m not bossy… I’m the boss.” Actress Jennifer Garner asserts that “being labeled something matters,” and famed fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg adds the kicker that we “should just ban the word 'bossy'.”
Singer Victoria Beckham, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez and CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour are also involved in the campaign urging the word be silenced. The website BanBossy.com says the 'B-word' sends the message to girls that they shouldn’t raise their hands or speak up, and that “by middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys – a trend that continues into adulthood.”
The campaign has its detractors however, many of who find it ironic that a community that routinely pushes for artistic freedom is instead urging censorship.
“The word ‘bossy’ is more PC gibberish. It demonizes an ordinary word without really putting much thought behind it. Instead of banning, we should be promoting positives like leadership, ambition, faith and self-respect,” Katie Yoder, staff writer for the Media Research Center, told FOX411. “This is not about female empowerment, it’s about indoctrination. Their strategy is to make young women play the role of victims, which undermines instead of helping them.”
According to author and producer Elizabeth Imus, it is entertainment industry hypocrisy at its finest.
“I wish these leftists would stop telling me words I can or cannot say,” she said.
Many of the stars have no problem using choice language in their own work. Beyonce, for one, routinely uses a different 'B-word' -- bitch -- in her lyrics in songs such as “Bow Down/I Been On” and “Flaws and All,” and took her freedom of expression another level with a raunchy opening in the Grammy telecast in January.
Others however side with Sandberg and support her campaign, claiming that “bossy” does have harsh implications on impressionable young minds.
“The word ‘bossy’ is a word that a lot of women are uncomfortable with. It makes them bite their tongue and not stand up for themselves,” explained Los Angeles-based psychotherapist, Stacy Kaiser. “If the word ‘bossy’ goes away there is a hope that women will embrace their strength in a positive way. Celebrities are often role models in some people’s eyes. The messages that they send in this campaign are enough to influence young women.”
Media scholar and Syracuse University Professor Robert Thompson concurred that the star-sponsored campaign has merit, but adds the decision to use the buzz word “ban” may not have been the most appropriate.
“It’s a word that you associate with self-righteous people with red pencils crossing things out of the scripts,” he added. “’Bossy’ actually may have been a pretty good decision when you think about the other options, ‘ban’ not so much.”
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