Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It’s sexist to call a girl bossy, even if she’s pushy, arrogant, and bossy

Sexism sells, apparently. You have figured that out and are milking it for all it's worth, Matt.

Matt Walsh writes:

If I were to name the four most irritating things on planet Earth, the list would look something like this (in no particular order):
-The modern leftist obsession with manipulating language, subjectivizing words, arbitrarily (things must seem really arbitrary when you are ignorant) declaring certain terms to be offensive/racist/sexist/homophobic, and then working to ban them, stigmatize them, and bully I bet this is the only time you complain about bullying everyone else into adopting their interpretations of these newly vulgar phrases.  What does "subjectivizing words" even mean? Here's a little linguistics lesson, Matt (I know you happened to skip college, and I happened to teach this to college students at one point, so you're welcome): language is arbitrary. The meaning of words is complex, vague, multifaceted, contested. Always. That's just the nature of human sociality. I'm sorry if this reality is upsetting to you, but we all have to deal with it.
-The modern leftist obsession with creating cultural problems where they don’t exist, ignoring them where they do, and using completely fabricated statistical data to steer the conversation in their favor. In other words: people who have different priorities than you, people who experience things differently than you, people who perceive things differently than you and to top it off, cite data that conflicts with what you believe. THE HORROR! It is not surprising that you detest situations that require mutual understanding and a re-examination of your thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions.
-The modern leftist obsession with encouraging self-esteem in our kids even to the point of embracing and excusing arrogance and self-absorption. Why is this a "leftist" obsession? Evidence, please?
Now imagine the sudden onset migraine I’m experiencing after coming across a news story that incorporates at least three of the items on this list, all at once.
Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook executive, has partnered with the likes of the Girl Scouts, Condoleezza Rice, Beyoncé, Jennifer Gardner, and Google to promote the “Ban Bossy” campaign. Calling it the new “B-word,” Ms. Sandberg claims that women — especially young girls — are typically dismissed as “bossy” when they attempt to take charge and assert themselves, whereas men and boys are praised as leaders.
She says that “bossy” has a specifically female connotation, and the word is partly responsible for holding women back and making them feel timid and self-conscience.
Now, as much as I appreciate Ms. Sandberg, Beyoncé, and the Girl Scouts chiming in to tell us all what we mean when we say things (kind of bossy of them, actually), I still prefer to consult the dictionary on these matters.
According to that old misogynistic book of lies (hyperbolic construction of false opposing view)bossy means “given to ordering people around, highhanded, domineering, overly authoritative, dictatorial, abrasive.” 
I also have a dictionary definition for you, Matt. Connotation means an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning. As in "'bossy' has a specifically female connotation." The "femaleness" is in addition to its literal or primary meaning. Remember? The meaning of words is messy, complex, layered, and hard to encapsulate in a dictionary definition. (That is one argument against the vocab focus on the SAT; when students use flashcards to memorize words rather than encountering them in context, they do not really know the meaning of the words.) No, I am not saying that the dictionary is misogynistic or false (though you can't argue it's old), I'm saying you know nothing about linguistics.

Hmmm. Could it be that girls are called bossy when they’re… well, bossy? Once again you have missed the point. The point is not what words we use to describe behavior; the point is how the same behavior is perceived differently based on whether the doer of said behavior is male or female. The words we use to describe the behavior is only a manifestation of that perception. So, no one's complaining that the word "bossy" isn't applied accurately. They're saying that we perceive and evaluate assertive behavior differently according to gender. In other words, a double standard.
Could it be that boys are also called bossy for the same reason? Why don't you stop asking rhetorical questions and do some actual research, if you're really interested in this topic?
Indeed, through my investigation haha! I'm sure you "investigated" of the etymology of this word, I have not found even one slight bit of evidence to support the idea that “bossy” is or ever was an insult used exclusively against females. Once again, "connotation" is supplementary to dictionary definitions and etymology.
And it’s patently foolish to pretend that males are always admired for their assertiveness. On the contrary, often people like Ms. Sandberg will call them “angry,” “chauvinistic,” “paternalistic,” “abusive,” “hostile.” Do you really think it is mere assertiveness that garners these labels? Really? Are you really not able to discern the difference between assertive and aggressive? The real problem is the precise opposite of what Ban Bossy supposes. The real problem is the continued emasculation of men, and the dedicated effort to eradicate every aggressive tendency in boys, even to the point of psychiatric medication. Good lord. More whining and hyperbole unsupported by any evidence.
Besides, do these women have any proof that assertive girls are more likely to be unfairly labeled as bossy, while assertive boys are more likely to be lauded as leaders? Of course not. Did you even bother to look? Of course not. 

In fact, there IS research to back that claim up. For example, this.
This is a maneuver right out of page 1 in the Progressive Playbook. It’s a very simple play, really.
It goes like this: make things up.  HAHAHAHA!!!  Pssst! Matt! I don't mean to embarrass you, but that's a page of your own playbook that you're holding up there. (See above comment on "there is no proof...")
Want to prove your point? Easy, just come up with a thing that you want to be true, and pretend that is true. Then, when someone comes along and says, “hey, that isn’t true,” just call them sexist or racist. See? Simple as pie.  And this is the page from the Matt Walsh Playbook:  "Want to prove your point? Easy, just come up with a thing that you want to be true, and pretend that is true. Then, when someone comes along and says, 'hey, that isn't true,' just call them Progressives or liars. See? Simple as pie."
Specifically, simple as a pie baked by either gender, because women aren’t anymore likely to bake pies than men, you sexist pig.  Have you had any contact with really feminists? Or are you just going off of caricatures of the 1960s and yell-y people on the tv?
Speaking of which, Ms. Sandberg builds her case by citing some startling figures:
“If you look at the world, women do 66 percent of the work in the world. Woman produce 50 percent of the food. Women make 10 percent of the income and women own 1 percent of the property. We are 50 percent of the population. We are 5 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs.”
Wait, women do 66 percent of the work in the world? Of all the work that is done, 66 percent is done by women? According to international bodies liked the World Bank and UN, based on research (that thing you have an aversion to). What does that even mean? What qualifies as “work”?  Ohh! Suddenly Mr. Dictionary realizes that meanings are complicated! I assume we aren’t just talking about paid positions here, particularly if we’re including poor countries where few people have jobs at all. It would not make any sense to only count paid work, since so much work that is necessary to the maintenance of society is unpaid. So we must be referring to work in the general sense, which means “effort or exertion directed to producing or accomplishing something.” Mr. Dictionary is back, being a bit too literal. No, in this context, work clearly means tasks that are necessary to maintain society (if you were looking into this, doing research, you would understand that).
So, out of all the exertions directed at accomplishing things in the entire world, 66 percent of it is done by women? Which means only about 34 percent of the men in the world are doing any sort of work? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!  *Shakes head*  No, it does not mean that only 34% of men work; it means that men, collectively, do 34% of all the work that is done. Was that willful misinterpretation? I can't believe you're really that stupid. Fascinating. Out of the roughly 3.4 billion men on the planet, according to this figure, about 544 MILLION of them aren’t doing ANYTHING.  Oh man, you're a riot. I hope you are homeschooling your children in statistics.
Two questions: how in God’s name did she come up with these figures, and why have I missed out on this sweet deal that so many of my fellow bros are apparently enjoying? How can you even calculate, down to exact percentages, something as broad as “work” done anywhere on the globe in any particular day?  There is a thing called "research." You might find it helpful in answering some of your questions.
Why am I harping on this? Because I’m tired of people just pulling numbers out of thin air, presenting them as fact, and using it to enforce some new progressive cultural dictate they dreamed up at a cocktail party one evening.  Well, you know what? I'm tired of you pulling accusations out of thin air without bothering to do any research, presenting your accusations as fact, and using them to misinform your gullible audience and destroy any hope of productive discourse.
Oh, but she isn’t done.
On the Ban Bossy website, we’re told that the “confidence gap” between girls and boys “starts early.” Then they hit us with this statistic: between elementary school and high school, a girl’s “self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.”
Hold on. WHAT? How can you possibly quantify some immaterial psychological concept like “self-esteem,” measure it, and then compare it, not just between two individuals, but between genders? What does it mean to say that one person has “more” self-esteem than another, and how can you assign numerical quantities to that perceived difference?  Ask the entire field of psychology. Seriously, you are attacking the entire discipline of psychology right now (because everything you just mentioned, that's what psychologists do). You are free to reject psychology; I just want you to be clear that's what you're doing. 
This is nonsense. Complete and total nonsense that cannot be supported, proven, shown, or demonstrated. Says the Guy Who Rarely Researches Anything.
On the other hand, I’ll tell you one statistic we can measure: suicide.
If boys generally feel better about themselves, why do they commit suicide in astronomically astronomically? Really? higher numbers? Depending on where you look, US males kill themselves at a rate between 3 and 10 times higher than females. Males may be successful more often, but females attempt suicide more often. And girls have a much higher rate of depression.
I’m not saying women have it easy, but I am saying that, in this country, men kill themselves more frequently, end up in jail more often, and die sooner.  Also, fun fact: men are socialized to be more violent. Besides, I don't think you want to play this game with me. 
But, hey, at least nobody calls us bossy.
Except when people, you know, call us bossy. Which they do, just as often, along with a host of other unpleasant adjectives. Hey Matt, are you - gasp! - making something up out of thin air because you want to believe it is true?

If not, then evidence please.
As far as I can tell very scientific, kids are called bossy when they behave in a dictatorial and domineering fashion. They’re called bossy when they try to order people around and refuse to listen to authority figures.
Here’s a suggestion: instead of telling us not to refer to them as bossy, why don’t we teach them not to be bossy? Once again, the issue is not with bossiness. The issue is with how the same behavior is perceived differently. We can teach all children, boys and girls, not to be bossy, but that won't change the problem of gender-biased perceptions. We concentrate so much on eradicating negative words while forgetting to address the behavior that the words describe.  The issue is not words or behavior, it is perception.
Ms. Sandberg tells the harrowing tale of being labeled as bossy by a teacher in ninth grade. She says this experience damaged her emotionally and caused her immense grief. Poor thing.
A very tragic incident, no doubt, but one thought occurs to me: what if the teacher called her bossy because she was pompous, arrogant, and pushy? What if she wasn't? (See, these questions are not helpful.) After all, this is the woman who would grow up and attempt to ban innocuous her whole point is that it is NOT innocuous phrases from our vocabulary. It would appear, ironically, that her teacher has been vindicated. No, it would be appear by your very words that she has been vindicated.
Really contemplate the arrogance here. The propagators of Ban Bossy have universally declared, without a shred of proof or coherent reasoning actual proof and reasoning can be ignored because we are in Because Matt Walsh Says So territory, that the word “bossy” is sexist, and that it’s only used against girls wrong - "female connotation" does not mean "only used against girls"; that's more distortion, and that it causes self-esteem issues, and that it has some connection to the lack of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, and that the behavior typically described as bossy is heretofore considered acceptable and admirable, and that nobody is allowed to feel otherwise.
This is hubris so extreme it dances close to lunacy. Do you ever ponder how well your attacks against other people describe yourself?
Finally, there’s one more idea that I can’t seem to shake.
I’m warning you, this one is bad.
Turn back now. I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings and send you into a mental tornado of anguish that eventually ends with you becoming a chief operating officer at Facebook.
Still with me?
Brace yourself.
Ms. Sandberg cited the lack of female CEOs and politicians. She blamed this on girls having their self-esteem damaged by misogynistic words like “bossy.” Maybe she’s right. But maybe there’s another factor at work.
What if — and this is a big if — what if there are fewer women CEOs and politicians because fewer women want to be CEOs and politicians? Is it possible?  Could this have, perhaps, something to do with the disparity? What if fewer women meet that particular end because fewer women choose a path that will lead to that end? We've been through this before. I've given you mounds of evidence to look at, but you ignore it all and continue with these silly questions.
And what if — again, HUGE if — what if women are less likely to be outwardly aggressive because that’s just not a personality trait some women possess? How do you get from some women to "women" in general? Sure, some women don't possess that trait. And some men don't possess it either.
And what if — remember, massive, enormous if — what if we are all called to be leaders in some fashion, but there are different types of leaders? What if it’s actually a really horrible idea to try and force everyone to be Alpha dog, Type A personality, take-charge head honchos? I have no problem with that, so long as the "types" of leadership don't correlate perfectly with gender.
What if it’s insulting to women to label the scarcity of female CEOs as some kind of objective evil because it implies that becoming a CEO is a superior goal to which all people should strive? Fair enough point. What if you’re not only criticizing society for erecting imaginary barriers imaginary Because Matt Walsh Says So to keep women out of the corner offices with the nice desks and the big windows, but you’re also insinuating that women who don’t want those things are somehow selling themselves short or shamefully submitting to the paternalistic structure of our male-dominated society? Once again, that is a valid point that should be discussed - and in fact, I do see women discussing this. Too bad you are too mired in nonsense and sexism at the moment to have such a serious discussion.
And what if women are called bossy more often (if that’s even the case) because other women are the ones most likely to unfairly wield that term?  Doesn't matter. Just like it doesn't matter if the racial-profiling cop is black. We're talking about a huge, complex, material-ideological system here. What if the lion’s share of negativity towards women comes from women themselves? What the hell kind of question is that? Once again, do you have any evidence? Is it okay to make stuff up out of thin air if you put it in the form of a question?
What if the campaign to “Ban Bossy” succeeds in rationalizing the narcissistic attitudes of bossy people while also, yet again, shoving everyone into a certain box and telling them what sort of personality traits they ought to exhibit?  Listen, Matt. You have never been a young girl (or a female of any age). You really don't understand what it is like, so you have no valid basis for speculating about the psychological outcome of this campaign.
What if I’m at my wit’s end and I seriously can’t take another PC progressive assault on reason and vocabulary?  Well, I'm at my wit's end with your irresponsible distortions and attacks that contribute to the destruction of public conversation.... so even?
And, Dear Lord, what if Jeff Dunham jumps on board with this campaign? The four most annoying things in the universe, converged together to create an Apocalypse of Irritation, just as the prophecies foretold.
I shudder at the thought.
But I can’t tell anyone to stop trying to ban bossy.  I will just throw a big hissy fit and personally insult them.
That would be pretty bossy of me.

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