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New Ad Campaign Urges A Ban On Calling Girls ‘Bossy’

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — What goes through your mind when you hear the word “bossy?”

As CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported, a new campaign featuring Beyonce and Jennifer Garner said the label is holding girls back.

Some high school students said they do indeed take offense at the term.

“I think ‘bossy’ — you know, it’s, like, offensive,” said high school sophomore Natalie Gomez.

“It’s just like saying you’re controlling,” said sophomore Brianna Dzierzanowski. “I think it’s a controlling word.”

And Brianna and Natalie are not alone. In a PSA titled, “I’m Not Bossy. I’m the Boss,” Garner, Beyonce, Condoleezza Rice, Jane Lynch, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan – among others — emphasize how damaging the term can be.

“I think the word ‘bossy’ is just a squasher,” Lynch said.

The celebrities ask people to ban the word “bossy” when describing girls.

“By middle school, girls are less interested in leadership than boys, and that’s because they worry about being called bossy,” the participants say ins sequence.

Sandberg’s Lean-In nonprofit, the Girl Scouts, and Lifetime Television teamed up for the “Ban Bossy” campaign.

“Let’s just ban the word bossy and encourage girls to lead, to be strong and be ambitious,” the participants said in the video.

Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere said girls and boys are treated differently when it comes to encouraging leadership.

“When young boys are assertive, they’re given a lot of positive reinforcement,” he said. “When young women at times are assertive, we tend to see them as being aggressive, as being pushy; as being bossy.”

Campaign organizers hope that girls like 6-year-old Taryn Merrill always strive to teach their full potential no matter what. Taryn said told CBS 2′s Grymes wants to be a doctor or a nurse when she growing up.

The campaign encouraged girls to speak up in class, stop apologizing before they speak, let their voices be heard on issues they are passionate about, and remember that each of their voices is like no one else’s – but won’t be heard if not used.

The campaign also noted that women also make up only 19 percent of Congress and 17 percent of corporate boards.

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