Ban Bossy
TypeEducational charity
PurposeAwareness and elimination of derogatory vocabulary among youth toward women
  • Palo Alto, California, U.S.
OriginsSheryl Sandberg
Area served
United States
ProductPublic service announcements and campaigns
MethodOnline, radio, television, and print campaigns, Field organizing, Entertainment community

Ban Bossy is a self-censorship campaign launched in 2014 by The campaign criticizes the use of the word "bossy" to describe assertive girls and women, proposing that the word is stigmatizing and may discourage girls and women from seeking positions of leadership.[1]


Sponsored primarily by the then chief operations officer of Meta Platforms and World Economic Forum member Sheryl Sandberg, and operated by Ms. Sandberg's NGO and the Girl Scouts, the campaign features prominent women and various sponsors urging people to pledge not to use the word.

Featured advocates who appear in Ban Bossy promotional material in addition to Sandberg include Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Diane von Fürstenberg, Condoleezza Rice, Jimmie Johnson, Sinéad O'Connor, Arne Duncan, Anna Maria Chávez,[2] Victoria Beckham, and Beyoncé, who stated "leadership is more important to boys than girls."[3][4][5][6]

The campaign website also features training material designed for schools, teachers, parents and children to further the project.


The campaign has received criticism since its launch. Joan Rivers commented that she found the online movement to be "so stupid" and added, "I find it outrageous and I find it petty ... and I find we're so damn uptight in this country that this whole country is being divided."[7] Phil Mason has drawn parallels between the banning of words and authoritarianism, observing that telling people what words they can or cannot use is inherently bossy.[8]

In The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot criticized the campaign itself as bossy and instead suggested reclaiming the word, much as has been done for "nerd" and "queer".[9]


  1. ^ "Dad: I'm Going to Keep Calling My Daughter Bossy". Time. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  2. ^ Sandberg, Sheryl; Chávez, Anna Maria (8 March 2014). "Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez on 'Bossy,' the Other B-word". The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Beyonce Backs Campaign to 'Ban Bossy': Watch". Billboard. 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  4. ^ Jolie Lee (2014-05-10). "Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join 'Ban Bossy" campaign". Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  5. ^ "Facebook COO Sandberg's ludicrous crusade against bossy". New York Post. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join prominent women in #BanBossy campaign". New York Daily News. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  7. ^ "'It's so stupid' – Joan Rivers isn't a fan of 'ban bossy'". SiriusXM. 25 March 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  8. ^ Thunderf00t (2014-03-29). "Epic Feminist Fails of our time: 'Ban Bossy'". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-18.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Talbot, Margaret (13 March 2014). "Don't Ban "Bossy"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 April 2016.