Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg got it all wrong

Ban #TomBoy instead of #Bossy


According to the Urban Dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tomboy the definition of tomboy is:


A girl who dresses and sometimes behaves the way boys are expected to, often into more masculine things like “stronger” sports, computers, or cars. Stereotypically wears jeans, baseball caps, and denim vests/jackets. Often brought up with a lot of brothers or a child of a single father.

Lina likes gun shooting and plays hard to get. She’s such a tomboy!

By Broody December 24, 2003


I commend Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg for the great intentions she had in trying to create a launch pad for girl leadership empowerment. She has a lot of influence and the followers of this world have done their duty diligently without stopping to weigh the connotations and implications of her message. She even went as far as getting superstars like Beyonce to sing and promote the Ban Bossy fanfare.


Out of ten, I give Sheryl ten for her effort and intention. I for one share the same intentions but will not be cowed into participating in a misguided campaign.


As a result of the negative marking I am employing in scoring Sheryl (she never retweets or favourite any tweets I mention her), I am forced to take away nine marks because her choice of the punch-word was totally off-side (If you watch soccer you will know what I mean). This means the balance of marks out of ten is ONE.


Looking at the wayward and discriminatory definition given by Broody above, one can tell that the word tomboy is generally derogatory towards girls who exhibit a liking of those things that have always been reserved for men and boys by whoever made the rules. How can one be judged by their dressing? How can one place someone in a category because of one’s suspicion that a girl might have been raised by a single father or had many brothers? Who is that person who came up with the rules?


In some parts of Africa it is easy for girls who are labelled as tomboys to be associated with homosexuality (lesbian) which might lead to worse consequences such as corrective rape and/or imprisonment. This is sad as it tramps on the individual liberty, the power to choose one’s path in life, a basic human right. It is a pity that society still plays judge on innocent girls who are expressing themselves and being who they are meant to be, being true leaders of their destiny without infringing on anyone’s rights.


Being Bossy gravitates towards dictatorship and is not a desirable trait in both boys and girls. It is independent of sex but TomBoy was directly manufactured for girls who dare to be themselves. No one wants a Bossy leader, I hope Sheryl you are not one. We are trying to level the playing field here, trying to redress the past ills where girls and women were oppressed and not given enough room to manoeuvre.


So Sheryl, Beyonce and all the other who had joined the #BanBossy bandwagon kindly switch over to #BanTomBoy.


Let’s work together to empower the girl child. Sheryl, you can follow me on twitter @edzaizvobwo

Edzai Zvobwo is the CEO of MathsGenius Leadership Institute (MGLI) in South Africa.


2 thoughts on “Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg got it all wrong

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s