Keep ‘bossy,’ but ban pink ribboning
by Tina Dupuy
March 27, 2014 12:00 AM | 878 views | 2 2 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tina Dupuy
Tina Dupuy
“Lean In” Author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign to cheer young girls to participate launched last week. Sandberg claims little boys get called leaders and for the same behavior little girls are branded as bossy. “Together we can encourage girls to lead. Pledge to Ban Bossy,” reads the site.

It’s only a word that’s keeping women from leadership?

What happens the first time these imagined little girls get called something truly awful? “You know, some people think of you as an inspiring female attorney and mother. Other people think of you as the overbearing yuppie wife from hell. How would you describe yourself?” That’s what a reporter asked Hillary Clinton — when she wasn’t actually running for office — on the campaign trail in 1992. “Bossy” is one of the nicer things Hillary gets called.

So a billionaire has decreed from the bubble of privilege that little girls are negatively affected by the term “bossy”? You know what impacted my self-assurance and kept me from leaning in as a little girl? The fact that I was known as the kid who wore the same (my only) pair of jeans every day. Confidence is a thing people trapped in the hamster wheel of poverty never worry about.

BanBossy is a perfect example of the Pink Ribboning of evils. Instead of a candid assessment as to why there are fewer female leaders than male followed by real world solutions to the inequities in education, lack of opportunities and economic stresses that contribute, what’s proposed is something gimmicky with celebrity endorsements. The Pink Ribbon answer is, in the most literal way, the very least we could do: remember; get a sticker; pledge to ban a word.

It’s less about encouraging girls to raise their hands and more about encouraging armchair activists to log on. “Please retweet.” Change your Facebook avatar and change the world. Put a pink ribbon on breast cancer — buy a couple of pink hair dryers — and be satisfied you’re doing your part. The problem with Pink Ribboning is it alleviates alarm by giving people something easy yet empty to do. It softens the concerned, warding off a real response. Done. Next issue.

“Awareness” is a consolation for actual quantifiable change.

Meanwhile, women still make a fraction of what men earn. Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott said he’s for equal pay, but also stated if elected governor he’d veto the state-level Lilly Ledbetter Act because it wasn’t necessary. Then data out this week shows women in Abbott’s own office make less money on average than their male counterparts doing the identical job.

At the same time, our country lags behind in women leadership. According to “The U.S. ranks 89th in the world for female political involvement.” There are two states in the union that have never had a female governor or a woman represent them in Congress. One of them is the state which holds the first electoral event of the nominating process for president, Iowa (the other is Mississippi).

This is all just a little more deeply ingrained than a not-really-derogatory expression. We’re still fighting over whether the pill will make women into unbridled nymphomaniacs. The jury is still out whether women should legally be public incubators for a “life” or capable of making their own decisions about their reproduction. Women are the majority of food stamp recipients. One in three American women (42 million) are living in poverty or on the brink. There are 28 million children who depend on them. Half of those children are little girls.

The concern transcends any one word — or even an entire lexicon. We still care about what Hillary wears and what work Nancy Pelosi has had done (Vladimir Putin and John Kerry BOTH get Botox and in the dust up over Crimea, that fact has somehow not been a sidebar story on Huffpo).

There are tons of hurdles female leaders must leap all while being thin, pleasing to the eyes of men (but not so much you intimidate women), perfect mothers, fashion conscious, hyper competent, ageless and never angry. And yes, they also have to endure criticism, prejudice and unpleasant things said about them.

But Pink Ribboning tells us all we need to do is very little.

Just buy a pink toaster.

Tina Dupuy is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist, investigative journalist, award-winning writer, stand-up comic, on-air commentator and wedge issue fan.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
John Doe Goes To D.C
March 29, 2014
More misandric gender myth making I see. I thought the old canard of "women still make less than men in similar positions," went out with deck tapes and muscle cars? Get real. Married men have the civil rights and property rights of medieval Russian serfs in this amoral antimale cultural. Suicide of men is epidemic. Alcoholism and drug abuse among men is far more prevalent. The majority of college grads are women but better qualified men are being bypassed so gender affirmative action goals can be met. This legalized discrimination against men is institutionalized in the workplace. There are other examples of bias against men but there are no government programs to address these pressing problems. That is where the real social problem is and it is impacting our cultural negatively.
Laura Armstrong
March 27, 2014
“Awareness” is a consolation for actual quantifiable change." --- Tina Dupuy

Excellent column. Lots to think about. I've often thought the Democrat's fake "war on women" was designed to distract Americans from their own policies, which are so very hard on women trying to raise families and which make it so much harder for young adults to get a good start in life (taxing them so high, putting the burden of Obamacare on them, with the stipulations that they are the ones who will take the brunt of funding the lopsided model). But give them a "3-Day" and tell them they're "changing the world" and it could be ten years before they start paying attention to all the HOPE AND CHANGE you saddled them with.

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