Banning Bossy, Thigh Gap Obsession, and Barbie

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Two headlines getting lots of talk this week: the campaign to ban bossy and teen girls obsession with having a “thigh gap.”

At first you may think the two have nothing to do with each other, but they really have everything to do with each other: girl self-esteem.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has started a campaign and website to ban the word bossy. Beyonce and Jennifer Garner agree. Sandberg reasons that bossy is a word pinned to decisive, strong-willed little girls that suggests they are pushy rather than passionate, ridiculous rather than ambitous.

As “bossy” girls grow older, Sandberg suggests they tend to shy away from their natural abilities as leaders because of the derogatory presentation of the word bossy … as in “Nobody likes a bossy girl.” (Though I get where she’s going, bossy usually means someone is being dictorial, and really no one likes a bossy person, male or female.)

And then there’s the thigh gap! Teen girls are getting caught up in the hype of having a gap between their thighs. It’s a new body-image thing, and it’s being tweeted under #thighgap and #thighgapthursday as well as Instagram and Tumblr photos all over the place. 

Another example of how girls’ self-esteem can be marred by social media, and images of models and superstars that girls compare themselves too. It’s ashame that girls have so much to worry about. They can’t be leaders without being called bossy, and if they are they better look good while they are being bossy or somebody will probably throw their picture up on Instagram and slam them.

Oh and it starts early, there are headlines suggesting that girls who play with Barbie may limit their career choices. Don’t get me wrong, I think Barbie is a very odd shaped doll, but I do not think because I played with Barbie my career choices were affected.

So what are we as a society to do to help girls grow into the best women they can be? I don’t think it’s banning Barbie, nor do I think it’s banning bossy, though I’d be OK with banning the thigh gap!

It starts with women respecting women, showing the girls how to respect themselves, and how to not take things personally. Stand up and be confident moms. Be a leader and represent what that means.

Though I’m guilty for over critiquing my body shape and size from time to time, it’s better that we embrace healthy and well and instill that in girls. As moms, and women, we need to talk to girls about images in the media and how makeup and airbrushing alters images. We also must stop comparing ourselves to each other and trying to look alike because it’s not possible.

And before we let Barbie decide our daughters’ careers, how about talk up how you can be anything you want when you believe it’s possible, put your mind to it, and strive to achieve with passion and dedication. Of course it doesn’t always work out as planned, but you never know until you try!