Ladies, let’s talk. It’s time to change the way we allow ourselves to be perceived. Here’s why:
Since we are in the midst of small business awareness/trending, I’m hearing this phrase being thrown around a lot; Girl Boss. The first time I heard it was on the streaming show with the same name, about a 20 year old that was establishing her business. I remember thinking “huh, okay, that’s cute, cause she’s so young, and she’s learning about business and her boyfriend’s a jerk, okay, okay title.
Then, Shortly after I opened my own business (much older than 21) I was utterly bewildered when that label was used to describe me, as a compliment. At first I smugly assumed that perhaps wearing my over-priced moisturizer had fooled people into thinking I, myself was 20. My closest friends quickly debunked that theory. When I learned that this is the industry standard term for successful women in business, I. was. Horrified.
I won’t bore you with the statistics (which at this point are common knowledge) that women in 2019 are still struggling to make the same money men are making for the same job. We’re are not equally represented in government and while female C.E.O’s are on the rise (thankfully) we still have a lot of work to do. I, like many other women, have experienced unequal treatment for job performance or missed out on job opportunities because I wasn’t “one of the boys”.
None of those things ever bothered my cause honestly? I’m not trying to be one of the boys, my power as a women is a strength and an asset- not a handicap. I will never be you, cause I’m working on me.
I will say that I have not considered myself a “girl” since I was 19 and at the beginning of my career. And I promise you, there is nothing cute about double shifts, scratchy uniforms, making rent, and a fickle economy. If I poll you other female business owners, I would hazard a guess to say, it wasn’t “being cute” that got you through your career; it was the strength you carried with you as a woman.
Now that I am in a place in my career where I know I won’t be limited to what work people think I am capable of, I find myself a little sensitive to buzz words like this. I (like other women in the workforce) have worked extremely hard to get where I am in my career. It’s hard for me to grimace and accept a label like “girl boss” because it not only discounts me being a mature woman, but also creates a strange verbiage and social norm I do not agree with. It is not “Doctor” and Girl Doctor, the phrase is not “Chef” and “Girl Chef” and you will never hear “Professor” and Girl Professor” because it belittles the credentials of the woman doing that job.
Ergo, I will never correct you if you say it (mostly because I’m Canadian and we’re literally not allowed to be rude, but mostly because I understand people say it with good intentions) but you will never catch me describing myself as a “Girl Boss”. I will not apologize for the hard work I’ve done by putting bows or pigtails on my job title, in an effort to seem less intimidating or softer. If you meet me, I will look you in the eye, shake your hand, and likely not have to mention I am the owner of the company. Why? Because I am a boss.