No, Don't Ban the Bossy
“Ban the Bossy", a campaign overseen by former Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, is the new feminist push. The implication of the “Ban the Bossy” campaign is that girls and women are getting criticized because they are female, rather than because they are (some of them) occasionally rude, just like men can easily be.
It all went wrong in the 1970s when feminist leaders picked male jerks as their role models. Feminists did not copy behavior that men admire in other men or behavior that stimulates cooperation and encourages other men to follow leadership. Instead, feminists used the worst of men as models. For decades, feminism has been teaching women to act like the scoundrels whom other men don’t like. Women then wonder why reactions are not as desired.
‘Bossy’ behavior is bad whether by women or men. But feminists have made a mess of American society and culture. That’s what liberals do. Liberals wreck things.
The new campaign is based on the thesis: “When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.’” False. Well, you could drive an oil tanker through the loophole qualifier “risks.” Maybe what is being “risked” will happen, maybe it won’t. Probably not.
Now, asserting oneself -- pleasantly -- is good, whether one is male or female. Many readers will assume I mean “Be a doormat.” I want a “No Doormat” doctrine, for men and women. I am usually called bossy (pushy) when telling someone to stop treating me badly. These days it is usually a woman wanting to boss me around.
Starting in the 1960s and 1970s, maybe earlier, feminists launched a massive campaign to teach women to behave like men in order to win equality in the work place. I remember personally reading about this national campaign in the 1970s in my aunt’s copies of New Woman Magazine and indeed everywhere. Their theory was that to be accepted in the business world, what was then “a man’s world,” women needed to act more like men in the office. Women were not advancing in corporate America because they were not acting the way successful men act.
Trouble is: Feminists did not study successful men. They didn’t bother to carefully identify the behaviors by men that actually lead to success. Instead, obnoxious men stick out like a sore thumb. Female observers of “a man’s world” assumed that the loud and pushy ones were the powerful men. And then two generations of American women were taught to copy those bad examples.
Ronald Reagan had a quote sitting on his desk: “There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That is real power. Men who are truly influential are not bossy. Assertive, strong, and decisive, yes. Obnoxious, no.
“Winning” for men means coming in first, but then being able to buy the other team a round of drinks afterwards and cheerfully remain friends with those who came in second. For men growing up (at least it used to be this way) you haven’t truly won in competition, fair and square, if you cannot go out for lunch and swap jokes with the other team and slap each other on the back.
Feminists who set the tone for their movement did not understand what they were looking at within the man’s world of business. Boys and men are socialized (traditionally) to play sports as a team. Yes, everyone tries to do their personal best. Yes, winning is the goal.
But a man trying to win at the expense of his teammates has violated the norms of male culture. A boy or a man who will not work together for the good of the team is an outcast. One who is only in it for himself reaps hostility. (Note, though: A team is not about serving the leader’s personal interests, but about pursuing common goals together. The team’s leader could be the offending prima donna.)
True male culture is dominated far more (or at least was back then) by good-natured competition and “good sportsmanship.” While men are competitive, it is a good-natured game. The man who forgets that competition is all in fun has violated the rules. Boys used to be ordered off the field for “unsportsmanlike conduct” by old-school coaches.
Of course there are exceptions. But those men who don’t conform do not win the admiration of support of most men. Ruthless men and women do sometimes get ahead. But their behavior does not win them any friends, mentors, sponsors, or supporters. It is not a successful strategy if you are playing the odds.
Those men who violate the norms invite other men to teach them a lesson. Other men will trip them up and take them down a notch. They will sabotage a bossy man when no one is looking. So why is there a backlash against bossy women in the workplace?
Enter women into the workplace. They were taught in a massive media blitz starting in the 1960’s to behave like the men whom other men despise. They were sloppy about picking their role models.
Today’s “Ban the Bossy” campaign includes a “Public Service Announcement” (meaning you are paying for it, ultimately) featuring Beyoncé, Ellen Degeneres, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner, Sheryl Sandberg, Jane Lynch, and others. It is sponsored by the “lean in” movement for women. The video has 2,095,062 views on YouTube, in addition to massive news media coverage.
Obviously there is a right way and a wrong way to say anything that needs to be said. People should say what is on their mind or in their heart. But your author has frequently had to repent and change for saying things badly. And there is nothing male or female about learning those lessons from having made the mistakes that all humans make. Learning and growing by realizing one was wrong is more important than political correctness. Personal growth is being lost within politics.
But overall, liberalism is the problem, not the cure. Liberalism, including feminism, has made things worse, not better. Liberalism always proposes new distortions of society to respond to the previous problems they already created earlier.