March 14, 2014
JAMES TARANTO: The Big Shes: The paradox of the “Ban Bossy” campaign.
Perhaps an aversion to “bossy” people–and a sensitivity to being perceived as “bossy”–is simply a corollary of that attraction to those who are “helpful.” As Benenson observes: “Girls’ and women’s friendships are intense and exclusive and strictly egalitarian, so no one gets ahead.”
But if boys have a natural affinity for hierarchy, that doesn’t mean they’re born leaders. Functioning in a hierarchical group requires the ability to follow as well as to lead–and such a group typically includes a lot more followers than leaders. Perhaps girls’ distaste for “bossiness” arises in part because they, more than boys, dislike being told what to do.
In which case, paradoxically enough, they may be put off by the imperative mood of the “Ban Bossy” campaign.