Banning the word 'bossy' and other notable proposals to exile words
Corinne Ton That, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014 11:59AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:04PM EDT
Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Victoria Beckham and Jane Lynch are among the celebrities Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has recruited to star in a new online campaign, which calls for a ban on the use of the word “bossy.”
Started by Sandberg’s non-profit organization LeanIn.Org, the campaign seeks to encourage girls to lead and to speak up.
“When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys – a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead,” the site banbossy.com explains.
Other stars in the campaign include Condoleezza Rice, Jane Lynch, Diane Von Furstenberg and NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson.
“I’m not bossy. I’m the boss,” Beyonce says in the clip.
But will Sandberg be successful in her quest to ban the word “bossy?”
Here’s a look at a few other words that institutions have proposed to banish.
Every year, Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan releases their “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness,” based on nominations submitted by individuals. The phrase “man up” made the 2011 list of banished words. “Can a woman ‘man-up,’ or would she be expected to ‘woman-up?,” asked Jay Leslie from Portland, Maine in his submission.
After passing an unofficial citywide ban on the n-word in 2007, New York City Councillor Darlene Mealy introduced a bill that would see a similar symbolic ban on the words “b**ch” and “ho.”
And in 2010, Oprah promised that the use of the word “b**ch” would be banned in her newly-launched OWN network. At Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference in October 2010, Oprah said she wanted the network to be “fun and entertaining without tearing people down and calling them b**ches.”
The Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes proposed to change the name of their housewives committee to the “homecraft committee,” claiming the word “housewife” belongs to a bygone era.