- - Thursday, March 13, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Before cigarettes became taboo, Virginia Slims marketed their coffin nails to women with the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

It was meant as respectful, admiring acknowledgment of the strides that women have made in the workplace. The best that feminists can find to ban this week is the word “bossy.” Women apparently haven’t come such a long way after all.

A new public service campaign by the Lifetime cable-TV network and the Girl Scouts seeks to scratch the word “bossy” from the language. The idea is this one lone adjective is all that’s holding women back, in the classroom, the business world and society in general.

“By middle school, girls are less interested in leadership than boys,” laments the voice in the ad, which features an array of Hollywood celebrities and political figures, “and that’s because they worry about being called ‘bossy.’”

Actually, bossy women don’t worry much about being bossy. It’s the insecure feminists who hold female self-esteem in such false regard that they think it can be shattered with a single word.

Forty years ago, Helen Reddy’s feminist anthem “I Am Woman” proclaimed: “If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.” Ms. Reddy must feel embarrassed by the “Ban bossy” campaign, featuring, among others, Condoleezza Rice and NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, names you don’t expect to see associated with whiny causes like this one.

The rest of the participants are from the usual crowd of attention-seekers. Education Secretary Arne Duncan implores, “We need to tell [girls] it’s OK to be ambitious.”

This is the patronizing attitude behind everything the Obama administration does. It’s the White House that’s urging girls to be layabouts and slackers, dependent on daddy, particularly the government. It was the White House that came up with the cartoon character “Julia” to promote the cradle-to-grave beneficence of the welfare state.

If a mere word can hold women back from being all they can be, why stop at “bossy”? Why not eliminate other perfectly good words? Surely “pushy,” or “stubborn” or “overbearing” are just as destructive to a fragile feminine mystique, and it’s only a matter of time before these terms must be added to the index of forbidden words, scrubbed from the next edition of Webster’s.

Who needs that old dead white man’s opinion, anyway? We’ll be left with a sanitized vocabulary, bereft of blood and juice and power, and lacking any words capable of conveying negative meaning.

George Orwell first identified the trend, predicting in his novel “1984” that “doubleplusungood” (double plus un good, for the slow to catch on) would be the politically correct replacement for the much simpler word “bad.”

The busybodies haven’t thought things through. They’re not professional wordsmiths. Indeed, they know little about the language at all except how to abuse it. They’re professional umbrage-takers.

If fragile feminists were actually concerned about empowering young ladies on their way to womanhood, they would hold up as role models accomplished “Mama Grizzlies” such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. How better for a girl’s self esteem to celebrate gritty independence.

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