Facebook, “Ban Bossy” and Cognitive Dissonance (A Response to Hadley Freeman)

So, if you’re like me and like to keep up-to-date on current events, so you can actually know why the world is going to shit, then you have been seeing the story about the Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg and her mission to “ban bossy.”  A campaign that is about as backwards and filled with cognitive dissonance as is possible.  I haven’t really commented on that, because I didn’t have an angle that I wanted to talk about it with.  However, after reading an article in the print version of The Guardian by a very feminist author, Hadley Freeman, I’ve found the angle I want to attack this with.  Here’s a link to her article, so you can see that I’m not just pulling this out of the ether.  Context matters, though don’t tell that to the Tumblr feminist crowd.

Freeman seems to believe that this whole “ban bossy” campaign is a “good start.”  I guess she has the same cognitive dissonance that the people who thought up this flawed idea have.  For starters, it isn’t bossy that they want to ban.  For real, that means nothing.  Not one tiny thing.  The word they really want to ban, and I know this will damage people’s comfort zone, is “bitch.”  They’re tired of girls being called bitches, but are rephrasing it so they can have a clever ad for their new campaign.  Because, after all, it’s hard to advertise not calling girls and women bitches.  Especially since some actually are.  And before you go off on me, it isn’t guys who go after women the hardest.  For real, in all the “patriarchy” and “rape culture” that these women talk about, the people who go after women the hardest and the most viciously are other women.  Neat little fact, there.

However, there is a lot of cognitive dissonance with this idea.  Sandberg is quoted as saying that girls want less leadership positions than boys by the time they reach middle school.  Uh, who cares?  For real, are we supposed to force girls to want to do something they don’t want to do?  Do you believe that enforcing your ideas on to young girls is the correct way to go about this, rather than letting them find their own preferences?  I mean, if the argument is that modern education is flawed in that regard, I’m with you.  Though, not for the reasons you think.  I’m with you in that we are forcing children to take drugs, constantly think about adulthood and don’t teach empathy and critical thinking in the way we teach tests.  We are stripping away the childhoods of the modern youth, because parents think that their little boy or girl staring out the window and dreaming of better things requires ritalin.  By the way, that’s not without context.  One of the biggest drugs selling right now is ritalin.  Sad, but true.  But I will save the best piece of cognitive dissonance for the end, so you all can understand just how flawed this is.  We have another fish to fry first.

As if to make my point, Freeman’s article kind of drives it home.  She has a point-by-point list of things she wants to have in schools.  I’ll keep to her style and debunk them individually.

  • Make feminism part of the national curriculum

Um, how about no?  For real, how about we don’t force an ideological idea on to children.  Here’s what we should do – teach and encourage children to think for themselves.  Get rid of these stupid fucking tests (or at least stop teaching them) and instead focus on actual discussion about topics.  Get English classes to talk about what they are learning and let the kids actually have a voice.  One of the biggest problems in modern education is that children don’t have a voice, in this country and in others in the First World.  Though I am focusing on here in the States.

Bringing in this ideological discussion will do nothing to help your cause.  It’s no better than if we bring religion into the classroom.  If you want a class in high school for women’s studies or feminism, that’s fine, but make it the children’s choice, instead of foisting it on them.  Isn’t that a better idea than having a teacher get up at the beginning of class and saying,

Alright, students.  Today we’re going to be talking about feminism, because we are requiring you to learn it.

Don’t you see how telling kids that we want them to learn something, instead of letting them find their own preferences, is going to be a turn-off.  Now, there are some things that a kid has to know, like history, mathematics, science and the like.  With math, I have met two children in my entire time growing up who liked it.  You can’t do much about that.  But even with history and science, there is room for discussion and to let kids find their own thing to enjoy.  We shouldn’t have this blank-statement of “you must learn feminism!” for the modern youth.

  • Get impressive kickass women to talk to them.

Yeah, I got no problem with that.  So long as we get impressive guys to do so too.  A balance should exist.  Though, and this is speaking from my experience growing up, I hated people just talking to us, unless what they were talking about something that interested me.  I don’t care if they had so much success and were great leaders, unless they did something that I find impressive.  I guarantee you that other kids think the same way.  So yeah, bring people in to talk, but make sure that they have something neat to say, other than “be a leader!”  I mean to end this showing you why that doesn’t work.

  • Nutrition should be a part of the national curriculum

I don’t even get how that ties in.  And once again, how about no?  How about we teach kids about nutrition in science classes and health classes in middle and high school?  Don’t just foist knowledge on little kids.  Trust me, unless you ritalin the shit out of them, it won’t stick.

  • Ban all magazines and newspapers from the school that talk about diets, celebrity body shapes and sex lives, and Kate Middleton

Back in high school, there was this ban on soda and candy, which made a lot of kids angry.  We like our unhealthy things.  A kid who is at school at 7 in the morning wants their caffeine.  Nothing wrong with that.  However, for me and my friends, this started a new market for us – underground candy and soda.  Since my high school was a closed campus, students couldn’t walk down the road at lunch and get some from Carr’s.  We made a killing.  It started an amusing series of candy and soda wars between the various sellers.  The Girl Scouts were a tough opponent who held their own in the wars.  The band was a bunch of little pussies who couldn’t do anything and we let them know where their place was.  I made a very hefty profit from my business and it made my junior and senior years much more interesting.

The point of this story is – don’t ban things!  It doesn’t work!  Just like banning alcohol and drugs doesn’t work, trying to ban students from getting publications about what is popular won’t work.  While your ban won’t create the same kind of black market that the one in my school did (which I understand they lifted a couple years after I left, due to the candy and soda wars), it is just another sad and pathetic means of mind control that students aren’t so dumb that they will miss.

  • Feed them a healthy diet of feminist films and books

Wow, how very 1984 of you.  In fact, this whole “ban bossy” campaign is very 1984.  They want to teach the children what they want them to know and to make it so they can’t say the words that they don’t like.  Big Brother would be proud.  I’ve already covered my refutation of this on the first of her little points.  We shouldn’t force kids to watch things, we should give them options and let them find preferences for themselves.  If you want to have a class for this sort of things, by all means.  Let them decide for themselves if they want to adopt your ideology or not.  But don’t force it on them and think that you did the right thing.  I guarantee you that more than one dictator throughout history has thought the same thing.

I said earlier that I would point out the biggest level of cognitive dissonance about all this at the end, and I am going to do that now.  The biggest level of cognitive dissonance is – this is a campaign that is done in solidarity of young women and girls, yet it is making it sound like they are so fragile that they can’t handle being called a word.  I mean, really?  Are we really making that argument?  Cause if we are, then you are tacitly admitting that they shouldn’t be holding positions of power.  Reason – because they can’t take criticism.

I guarantee you, man or woman, workers will poke fun at their boss.  It’s what employees do.  There is almost no boss who exists who is tight with their people.  There is a good reason for this – they have to tell them what to do.  When you have to be an authority figure, it’s a guarantee that you aren’t going to be liked by many or any of the people under you.  You will have people talking behind your back and making jokes about you.  Trust me, gender means jack-diddle.  John the asshole or Jane the bitch are just little names that will follow a boss around.  It’s a way that employees deal with workplace stress.  It’s a coping mechanism.  If you don’t like that, fine, but don’t go pretending that you have a high-ground position here.

And to Freeman’s article, I am going to close out this post with a quote that kind of puts what she wants in its place from a character who I would think she would like.

Until next time, a quote,

“My goal is not to wake up at 40 with the bitter realization that I’ve wasted my life at a job I hate because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.”  -Daria Morgendorffer, Daria

Peace out,




2 thoughts on “Facebook, “Ban Bossy” and Cognitive Dissonance (A Response to Hadley Freeman)

  1. Dude, this is scary shit. I’m glad you played the 1984 card. She’s talking about indoctrination of children at the cost of tax payers. Worse, she wants to indoctrinate with a doctrine that has yet to be proved good for anything but causing problems. Yikes.

    • Yeah, this shit is pretty whack, and it kills me how the author of this article thinks that the precursor BS with the Facebook COO is a step in the right direction. Modern feminism is looking to start fights, from what I’ve seen. But, if Tumblr has taught me anything, it’s that there are a lot of middle and upper-class women who feel like life is doing them wrong.

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