Please, Don't Call Me a Girl Boss
By Jaylin Paschal
Because honestly, “boss” will suffice.
I understand wanting to highlight womanhood or femininity for the sake of addressing the plight of sexism/misogyny. I understand the sad truth of history having socialized to associate the word “boss” with men. I understand combatting that assumption. I get it, I really do.
Often times, identifying gender is appropriate, respectful or necessary. “But, in the case of ‘girl boss,’ or ‘woman doctor,’ gender appears before the title and the accomplishment. Gender is a part of our story, our struggle, our triumph. But when will women be appreciated for their abilities and feats, without the inclusion of for a woman? It seems that placing girl in front of anything signals, ‘No need to take the following word seriously (Jones).’”
When you’ve reached el jefe status, the accomplishment speaks for itself. It is far more of a statement to simply exist as a powerful woman than it is to gently remind someone of your extra x chromosome. And while I know that #GirlBoss is intended to be a tool of empowerment, at some point we have to accept that “empowerment” is really just an empty buzzword code for “nothing’s changing but we feel better.” Our job titles do not need to be gendered.
“Dr.,” “Professor,” “CEO/COO,” “Founder,” “Editor” are all titles that supersede “girl.” No one would ever call Sec. Hillary Clinton or FLOTUS Michelle Obama a “girl boss.” It just sounds trivial, and silly.
“Plus, women are allowed to be entrepreneurs or bosses or managers or CEOs without those titles and choices necessitating a slogan. Especially since men are those things all the time, and have yet to begin describing themselves with the addition of hashtags (Donahue).”
And while I like movements like Briana Wilson’s “Working Girl” campaign, where there is no gendering of an actual position or the implication of status (working girls can be waitresses or hair stylists or Fortune 500 executives), I don’t ever want to be referred to as a “boss babe” or an “entreprenuHER” or a “She-EO.” Call me what you call the men, without the disclaimer.