‘B-word’ holds women back

While students were enjoying spring break last week, LeanIn.org levied a war against the word “bossy.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her non-profit that supports women through community, education and networking initiated the campaign to encourage women to take on more executive and leadership roles.

Celebrities like Beyonce, Jennifer Garner and Jane Lynch voiced their support for the campaign in a YouTube video that received over two million views. Lifetime TV aired the PSA in a special broadcast lending the network’s support.

CNN Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and UN Women leader Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka shared their support through photos shared on Twitter.

#BanBossy picked up major traction when Google promoted the initiative on their homepage March 10. Social media has responded with mixed support, pointing to the campaigns major flaws in sending mixed signals.

Getting rid of the word bossy does not free society of its poor perception of women in power. Removing a word from our vocabulary does not build women’s self-esteem.

The real threat to female empowerment is other women.

Females have come up with a number of negative phrases to describe themselves in a positive light. To no surprise, most of these sayings include the other b-word, a female dog.

Songs like “Boss A** B****” by Nicki Minaj and unreleased track “Bad B****” by Lil’ Kim and Miley Cyrus perpetuate the idea females are positive b-words, not just bossy.

The “positive” b-word even seeps beyond music into everyday conversation. Some girls refer to their dearest friends as b-words, not knowing they’re reducing their companion to a lower state.

Rapper Lupe Fiasco summarized the phenomenon best in a single off his fourth studio album, “Food & Liquor II.” The first verse depicts a scene in which a young child is riding in the car with his mother, who is referring to herself as a “positive” b-word.

“Couple of things are happening here. First he’s relating the word “b****” with his mama — comma And because she’s relating to herself… [she] skews respect for dishonor.”

The hook drives the point home.

“B**** bad, woman good. Lady better.”

Being called bossy has never stopped an ambitious woman from chasing her dreams. Being called a b-word would make any woman feel less than meritorious of the world.

If Sandburg and her celebrity friends hope to empower women, they should start with a better b-word. Children do not need to be coddled from the word bossy. Young adults should ban the b-word.

Hervey is a senior majoring in journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.