Blazoned on mugs, t-shirts and totes, #Girlboss has over 10 million posts on Instagram. It has become the banner of a generation of female entrepreneurs. The confident young women who takes names & makes history, that so many of us aspire to be. So why does the phrase ‘Girl Boss’ make me cringe as often as is makes me proud?
My love hate relationship with ‘Girl Boss’ starts with the first word. In specifying girl, I can see the esteem of the position or the business fall in peoples eyes. All that society has deemed feminine and consequently negative is then associated with it. A thriving small business becomes a trivial hobby, superficial because of the gender of its owner. The irony being that the backbone of many economies are built from these very same female businesses and industries. Beauty, events, public relations, communications, fashion, education, hospitality all have elements that makes them traditionally feminine and often are ignored in favor of their more testosterone heavy counterparts.
I desperately wish for more recognition of women in business, but #Girlboss can be a double edged sword. It can shine a much needed spotlight on the incredible women that are small business owners, who break glass ceilings and create whole new industries from scratch. The blogging industry itself is a testament to the incredible creativity and drive of women, who make up 68% of social media influencers. At the same time, Girl Boss has been overused. Thrown around in Instagram posts or tweets describing the nth cup of coffee she managed to drink before noon. Girl Boss shares photos of glamorous client lunches but not the sleepless nights or the dreaded creative block. For some, the question that then follows is: does Girl Boss work at all?
Thus begins the pressure to prove that you live up to the moniker. Girl Boss means constantly hustling, being one step ahead of the curve. Pouring all of your time and energy into these businesses because you know that in order to be recognized even half as much you have do to twice the work. Girl Boss is the one that is fighting tooth and nail for a place at the table, only to be dismissed because of that first word. Girl. It’s exhausting and it drains all of the positivity out of a phrase that was meant to celebrate women in business.
So while I may still use Girl Boss on occasion, I find myself gravitating more towards others movements. She Can She Did, recognizes women who have started their own businesses in the United Kingdom. Founder Fiona Grayson aims to demystify entrepreneurship and business by truly going behind the scenes in her interviews. The platform not only celebrates female business owners, the original ‘Girl Bosses’, but also emphasizes their drive, creativity and hard work. A truly refreshing look, and one that enables aspiring female entrepreneurs to take action, and turn ‘She Can She Did’ into ‘I Can I Will’.
I’ll take that over a Girl Boss coffee cup any way of the week.
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