#BanBossy and the War on Free Speech

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and leader of the Ban Bossy movement

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and leader of the Ban Bossy movement

By Christie Maggard

 

So there are a few simple principles our country was founded on. The basis for all of this is freedom. It’s an incredibly amazing thing that many of us take completely for granted these days. Freedom to celebrate whatever you want, freedom to express yourself, freedom to practice your religion. Freedom abounds. Or does it? Recently I’m seeing everywhere this “Ban Bossy” business. What does that mean? I’m confused. Bossy? First of all, since when is that an offensive word? Why are we so offended by everything all the time? I grew up thinking this country was the greatest nation on earth. Home of the Free. But are we really free anymore? The bombardment seems constant. Articles and postings about things you’re not allowed to do or say anymore because this one time this one person was offended by it. I’m starting to wonder how I ever made it! Why didn’t I think to start a movement to ban all of the things I got called for a long period in my life?

 

Now before you get upset (because lets be honest, you probably already are), hear me out. I’m not saying it’s okay to be mean to people. I am saying it’s a part of life. I got punched in the stomach hard by some girl in 5th grade for literally no reason. Was that bullying? Yes. Did I tattle? Yes. Did I fall into a pit of despair and self loathing? No. I got punched, I got called names – shoot I’ve even been bullied as an adult. Is it right? Nope. Does it happen? Yep. What happened to “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”? We are so ready to take up arms to battle anything that bothers or offends us (like words, but not ready to take up real battles like Human Trafficking, poverty, or genocide). Where are all the strong women now? All I read about is kids being mean to other kids online. What is going on?! Are we more concerned with protecting our children than letting them live and learn?

 

Some will take me out of context (it’s what they do), but don’t misunderstand me. Being mean is not right. But there will always be that one person who is. Do we need to make a movement to stop each and every one? I’m not sure. I think having mean things being done to us is a part of living life. It builds us as human beings and develops character. How we handle ourselves during those times of being harassed are what make people great. Didn’t you ever think your parents were being “mean?” Was it wrong? Did it build you? I have a 3 year old – only child – girl at home. She’s bossy. No way around it. She tells me where to sit and when, what to read, what to eat, where to stand, what game to play, if I can sing or dance. She’s bossy! Does that make her bad? No. Funny, yes. Bad, no. It’s what she knows right now. It’s not my job to give in to everything she wants and tell her that’s okay. To create a self entitled, self centered monster. (Take for example, the girl who sued her parents for money after she left home of her own accord. What? She lost by the way) Some girls are bossy. It’s a word and I’m allowed to say it (for now). Some girls are pretty, some girls are nice, some girls are mean, some girls are sparkly, shall I continue with the adjectives or are we good? There are thousands of ways to describe people. Bossy is one of them.

 

If you don’t want to be called bossy, then don’t be. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t call you. That doesn’t solve anything and it strips away the most basic civil right of freedom of speech. America is a wonderful land where people can say what they want, and the rest of us have the complete and total unalienable right to agree or disagree. You do not have a right to not be offended. You have the right to not like what I say. I don’t like the “Ban Bossy” movement and I have a right to say that. My dad taught me lots of strange little lessons as an adolescent, (including how people needing debt management services could live in such nice houses with nice cars: that’s how they got in debt – buying things that they couldn’t afford). He also taught me that everyone is entitled to their opinion – even if it’s different than yours. Does that mean I have to go around bowing down to what everyone else tells me I have to because 3 people had their feelings hurt? No. Does that mean those people have to like me? Certainly not. But neither of us can tell the other what to do. Period. (Love my dad … such wisdom.) If we want to stop all the bad things in the world, we need to stop telling people what to do and start raising people right.

 

As a parent this is pretty much first and foremost on my mind these days. When I was pregnant, I was in the grocery store being stalked by a mother and her daughter Bella. Its been over 3 years and I still remember the name. Why? Because this sweet little bundle of crap was running all over the store yelling and being a total heathen in general. The mother? “Bella! Come here baby! Baby Bella! Come here Bella! Bella baby want a cookie? Bella! Bella! Bella!” I went home knowing exactly what I would not be naming my child. This little girl was acting absurd and the mother was positively reinforcing that behavior with rewards like cookies and toys. Of course she’s going to grow up bossy and I’m going to get in trouble for calling her what she is. There’s something that doesn’t seem right about that.

 

With all that being said, can you be a leader with out being bossy? Of course and we should encourage all girls to be strong confident women with excellent leadership potential. Can you be bossy and not a leader? Yes. Can you be a bossy leader? Of course. There are all kinds. That’s not the point. The point is, don’t infringe on my rights to make snotty, bratty girls feel even more entitled to act like the “bleepity bleeps” that they are. That’s not the solution. The solution my friends, is to not raise self centered Kardashians. We don’t need more movements. We need more good parents willing to tell their kids no.

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