#GirlBoss: Empowering Or Demeaning?

ncs 12/03/2019
Girl Boss - NCS Grad Taja

Girlboss. SheEO. Mumpreneur. These are all terms used to refer to strong women in the hope of empowering them. But, as NCS grad Taja explains, maybe it’s time to question if they’re actually a sign of society regressing.

‘Girlboss’ was coined by author Sophia Amoruso in 2014 and popularised in her book #girlboss. The book has since become a Netflix show and spawned a global social media movement that’s racked up millions of hashtags, with more than 14 million posts tagged with the term on Instagram. 

‘Girlboss’ typically refers to a female boss; someone who’s in charge and who knows how to take control. However, I think it’s time we question why we’re creating empowering language for women, when we could give women the same empowerment through our usual language.

Now, I know that in the usual instances terms like ‘girlboss’, ‘SheEO’ and ‘mumpreneur’ are empowering and hold a sense of belonging. However the problem is that sexism is often within the language we use, and the visuals that words conjure. 

Think about the image you get in your head when I write the word ‘boss’. You think of a business man in a suit, probably in a skyscraper in New York, whilst his assistant rushes around, trying their very best to impress him. However, when I say ‘girlboss’ you probably think of a woman who runs her own struggling company, making just enough money to pay the bills. It’s stereotypes like these that are negatively impacting how we perceive women, and perhaps why sometimes it feels as if society is regressing.

Why is it necessary to be a ‘girlboss’? Why can’t we just be a boss? Why can’t we be branded with the same title as men? A boss is a boss. The title isn’t gender-specific and does absolutely nothing to show the progression that women have made in the world. 

Of course, everyone holds language like this differently in their hearts. Some women don’t like these terms, and some do. Some women want to be a boss, and some want to be a girlboss. Some women see this as empowering, and some see this as patronising. And that’s fine. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing in this world: equality. 

Our generation can be the catalyst for change. We have the choice to move forward in society, and choose how we refer to women. So next time you say Girlboss or SheEO, think about why you’re saying it, and whether or not you think you’re having a positive impact in society by doing so – because if you are, say it as much as you like!