Relationships

Would You Call Someone a Girl Boss?

Oprah Winfrey

Last fall, I was meeting some female business owners for work drinks — Rony from Catbird, Lanie from Lovely Bride and Jacq from State Bags. As I was sending out the confirmation email, I wrote “Girl Bosses,” as the subject heading. And it looked ridiculous. These women are brilliant and run big brands with teams of employees. They’re decidedly women, not girls. I quickly deleted it.

So, the other day, I was curious to read a blog post titled Be a boss, not a #girlboss. The author, Anna Jordan, argued that the term “girl boss” is patronizing and sets women up in opposition to men.

The author’s husband, who runs a consulting firm, would jokingly call himself “Boy Boss” when he accomplished something at work. “But that self-declaration rings as a little silly, doesn’t it?” she pointed out. Here’s what she had to say:

My husband is a boy — but no one would ever call him a boy because he’s almost 33 years old — so actually he’s a man who runs his own business. No one is sitting around thinking this is nice or remarkable. He is simply the boss.

“Girl Boss” is not the phrase we should tout if we want to be powerful or successful. Female-run businesses are not adorable. Women don’t need to justify their abilities and intellect by making it cute.

In her book, We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful.” Today, we are telling girls — and adult women — that they can be the #Girlboss, but they can’t be “the boss.”

At first, I wondered if she was taking it too seriously. I mean, on the flip side, maybe the term “girl boss” is taking ownership of it, and rejoicing in being female, and creating a cool, empowering club of smart women that we are all invited to join? Emily Weiss (CEO of Glossier), Leandra Mendine (Founder of Man Repeller) and Maggie Winter (CEO of AYR) call themselves girl bosses. Sophia Amoruso wrote the book.

But the more I think about it, the more I find the term “girl boss” grating. It seems fine until you try it with any number of women. Is Oprah a girl boss? Is Hillary a girl boss? Is Sheryl Sandberg a girl boss? Is Tina Fey a girl boss? Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg a girl boss? It sounds absurd.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Thoughts? I’m so curious to hear what you think… (Loved this eulogy for “girl boss.”)

P.S. 15 career tips from smart women, and 10 lessons I’ve learned in my career.

  1. Judi says...

    I’m for WomanInCharge, regardless of age. Even for ‘girls’, it can be a coming of age term, boosting confidence from a young age. How many times have I heard people talk about boys as “young men”! So it’s young women, and and young WIC’s!

  2. I like the terms #girlboss and #ladyboss. I’m proud to shout my femininity just as loudly as my position. I have found that some of my shyer girl boss friends would not have called themselves a “boss,” but they have confidence in saying they are a “girl boss.” The term “girl boss” to me means a strong, passionate and persevering female who sees what she wants and plans on working hard to get it.

  3. Erika says...

    I am proud to be a #BOSS and a #GIRLBOSS at that. Why would I be offended by what I am?

    I believe that being overly sensitive to terms like this is what distinguishes us from men. A powerful woman knows that she is powerful, no matter what someone calls her.

    • Lauren says...

      Also, men wouldn’t so naively undermine the progress their gender has made. This conversation reminds me of the phrase “work-life balance” and the way it’s been painted as a women’s issue. On the surface, it seems empowering and a step in the right direction. Hooray ladies, let’s hop on the bandwagon! Upon deeper inspection, it reinforces the assertion that any responsibilities of home life fall on a woman.

  4. Sally says...

    I appreciate the concept of #GirlBoss because of it’s purpose and intentions to empower others. Whether you like the phrase or not, Sophia Amoruso goal was not for women to bash each other and to belittle one another over #GirlBoss. I believe that it is all about perspective and attitude.

    I will continue to uplift and empower my fellow women and #GirlBosses ;)

  5. Wendy says...

    I think the best term for women in charge is just “boss”, no differences between men and women, “girl boss” for me is a little derogatory, like you are “playing” to be a boss. For me is better just “boss”

  6. M Evans says...

    It’s up to us to empower any form of femininity. If we want to embue “girl” with new meaning, we can do that. If we want to express it in a self-diminishing way to avoid threatening men, we can do that.

    Girlishness as anti-establishmentarianism has a certain magic freedom to it. “I am myself. My gentle, powerful self.” My friend wrote about this amongst women musicians here, http://keithmaillard.com/?tag=girl-power

    And less philosophically, isn’t usage mostly a matter of social/friends-language versus public/professional-language?

    • You hit the nail on the head.

  7. emma says...

    I think it might have to do with age! while 20-somethings certainly aren’t girls, they are more than 30 and 40 somethings. or at least have been referenced as such more recently. Weiss, amoruso and especially medine are all quite young – and were so when they became bosses of their own companies. I think of this more in relationship to “child prodigy” than “female boss”.

  8. Cheryl Wilkinson says...

    Why does it have to be girl boss,? The boss is just the boss – period.

  9. Kelly says...

    What’s the big deal? You’re a girl. You’re the boss. Own it. Too much causes offense in this country lately. We can’t call Ruth Bader Ginsberg a girl boss? I’m sure she’d love it if someone called her a girl. I’m 51 & it doesn’t bother me. I am a girl, a female & yes, a woman. Again, I say, own it.

  10. cathy says...

    Many times when I have seen #girlboss used the author also uses the word #bestie. I think that says it all. I have many dear friends for whom I would do anything, except call them besties!!! I am, after all, over the age of 12!!! Great article.

  11. thoughts says...

    It is what it is. Why are we so fixated on the term “Girl Boss” and not on the actions that drive the term to its meaning? The terms girl and boy simply distinguish two different genders, and there’s no way around that. The connotation we give to the terms is the result of the actions and ideas that surround it. Deliver on the results and the term becomes irrelevant.

  12. I see both sides of it. I agree with the term “girl” in the workplace being bothersome. However I read the book Girl Boss, and as an independent business owner I loved the tone of it and all the advice. Its a catchy tag that got people’s attention and probably helped a lot of young ladies gain confidence and motivation. I think it did more good than harm. I think if you take it for what it is, and not so literal it’s not that big of a deal. To me it’s more of a social media thing and I would not walk into the workplace calling myself or other women Girl Boss. I kinda feel bad for Sophia and other people who were motivated by the book after reading this post and all the comments. Kind of like “oh… should I feel dumb or ashamed for using the term in the past?” Seems a bit counterproductive.

    • Sara says...

      I completely and utterly agree with you, Jessica.

      It feels counterproductive to shame women who’ve used the term girl boss when referring to empowerment or success. I see the term “girl boss” as a social movement rooted in their particular generation, a young, DGAF kind of gal. Use it if you like, don’t use it if you don’t, but still respect the women who are choosing to name their success however they damn well please.

    • Sally says...

      I completely agree with you!

  13. Melody says...

    Thank you for this thought-provoking essay, Joanna! Since #girlboss started trending, I’ve felt an ambivalence I couldn’t quite name until I read your post. I’m happy for and proud of the women who rock #girlboss, but I personally agree with you that it does not honor the aplomb or gravitas of women who are leaders, whatever their role or title.

    When I am in a position of leadership one day, I want to be known as a leader with vision, empathy, and wisdom — who champions both women and men at work.

  14. Natalie says...

    I don’t like girl boss because I’m 33, but people always assume I’m younger. I’m in an exec leadership position, and calling me a girl anything grates because I’ve been doing this work for a decade. I earned my place at the table.

    On the flip side, though, with friends, I love the terms HBIC and Lady Boss/Boss Lady. I love celebrating women in positions of power. I think the road to equality is longer if we don’t make ourselves visible.

    • Leila says...

      Well said Natalie.

      The word girl in reference to a grown woman is and always has been an insulting term. It implies ignorance and inexperience, it is patronising, and it is insulting.

  15. loonytick says...

    I think girl boss originated from young women who were still in that in between phase of life where you don’t quite feel like the word “woman” fits, it somehow feels old, but they were also stepping more forcefully into adult life and business than were their peers. In that specific context, I’m ok with it. It’s a straddling of two phases of life. A transition. But it’s not ok to me as a catchall term for women who are in charge, because we all do settle into being ok with being a woman, and abandon that sense of not being old enough or strong enough (or whatever enough) for the term, and grow into accepting it in all its complexity. And for anyone who has reached that point, girlboss becomes simply twee and silly.

  16. Emily says...

    I’m 28, on the cusp of launching my own little business (after a few months’ hard work, hoping to get my Etsy page up and running this weekend!!), and so not a #girlboss. I like how catchy the hashtag is, but lately the word “girl” used for women has been bugging me a lot, *especially* in professional settings.

    For anyone seeking a new hashtag, I recommend #beingboss. Check out the podcast, it has become my favorite! Smart, sassy entrepreneurs helping to raise each other up. It’s not intentionally female, but the community has naturally skewed that way as it’s grown.

  17. That’s funny, when I read the line of your article the word immediately drew a bit of a negative vibe from me. I thought my opinion would be onpopular.

    Because if you ask me, “Girl boss” might be a cute nickname for a teenage blogger, but a little patronizing to my ears when it comes to women who are starting or running a business. To me these women are simple “bosses”, nothing more and nothing less.

  18. Just, smart says...

    I overheard a middle-aged man on the train discuss a potential female hire, and described her as “a smart cookie.” Should that bug me as much as it did?

    • Jo says...

      I can see how this would sound terrible from a middle-aged man and it would probably bother me too. However, I grew up hearing my grandmother using that phrase as a high compliment, and i think it may have been commonly used in her generation as youthful slang.

  19. Kenzie says...

    We like “HBIC” (head bitch in charge) 😁

  20. Thinking of Hillary and Oprah as “girl bosses”… kind of funny!

  21. catchy marketing phrase that happened to take off. i’m kind of whatevs about it.

  22. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on the term “girl boss”. In an English class once during my undergrad, my professor had to pause the class for a moment and explain to everyone that we couldn’t be using the words “girl” and “woman” interchangeably; anyone under eighteen is a girl and anyone over eighteen is a woman, as she explained it. Since then I’ve noticed that people use the word girl at inappropriate times a lot more that I originally noticed, the Girl Boss phenomenon being an example. I first thought it was a cool and empowering phrase but on the flip side if anyone called me a girl boss I think I would be a little offended. Very thought provoking post – I’m going to read that article now!

    • Tania says...

      I understand where you’re coming from, but what I find quite troublesome is telling a female what she should call herself or what she should want others to call her. If being called a #Girlboss does not make you feel empowered, that’s perfectly fine, but we should not deem it inappropriate. To each her own.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I totally agree, I think people should do whatever feels right and good to them. Emily and Leandra like #girlboss, so that’s great for them to use. But I don’t like it and won’t use it myself.

    • Tania says...

      Thank you Joanna for starting this conversation and for implanting this thought in my head which is now brewing. I try as much as I can to read up on all things relating to feminism in hopes of figuring out what it exactly means to me. Enjoying your blog since 2011. ☺

  23. I agree with the concept behind this blog post. Using the term girl takes away from what the term intends to do, which is to empower and highlight successful women. Let’s stick to the word boss.

  24. The “girl boss” phenomenon drives me up the wall and I completely agree that it’s a patronizing term. Unless you’re referring to a 10 year old with a lemonade stand that is successful enough to file taxes. (See also: “girl” to describe grown-ass women.)

  25. Wendy says...

    We have to stop thinking about our gender, our race and anything else that doesn’t make us a good or bad leader of people. Do we inspire people to do a good job? Are we the best we can be at what we do? Gender is unimportant to doing a good job.

  26. abby says...

    It’s all about context. The title #GirlBoss is aimed at a female audience. It connects to a lot of young women. It’s used by women who work in businesses aimed primarily at women like fashion and beauty – and it works in that context. But it definitely sounds silly when used in a professional context that isn’t predominantly female.

    • Mary Claire says...

      I agree with you Abby.

      I think of the term being used among young, creative women by young, creative women. In that context, I think it is empowering and creates a sense of community. I’ve read Sophia Amoruso’s book and she is speaking directly to other young women to empower them. She uses girl boss as an attitude and state of mind, but when it comes to her business and her interactions with investors and colleagues, there’s no doubt that she is “the boss.” Therefore, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. The idea of being a #girlboss is an attitude that you have about yourself. It’s not for other people to identify you as. You can be a girl boss for yourself, but in a professional setting you should be nothing but the boss (who happens to be a women).

  27. I’d much rather be called a “mom boss” instead of a “girl boss,” and even so I feel like why are we even labeling ourselves that way. A boss is a boss! It’s so funny how women like to label everything! I had a young girl tell me on a flight that my husband & I were #relationshipgoals and I’ll admit I laughed, but I liked it! When I told my husband he said what the heck does that mean!? He feels the same way about “girl boss” and he’s definitely not anti-women he just thinks the labels make matters worse. I agree.

    Xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  28. Madie says...

    Hmm… I’m in healthcare so that’s my frame of reference, but can’t we all agree that calling someone a “Girl Doctor” or “Lady Doctor” is ridiculous and offensive? (And I don’t mean in the way that some people use the term for their Ob/Gyn, because s/he takes care of your “lady parts”.) What if you were in preop and your anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself as your #girlanesthesiologist?? Aye yay yay…

  29. Vicki says...

    I totally agree! I so wanted to read Amoruso’s book, but couldnt make myself do it because the title just seemed wrong to me. I am a boss in a predominantly male industry. My team is 100% women (not on purpose, but it’s worked out that way). We are wives, mothers, daughters, etc. We work hard. I dont want us to be recognized for our femaleness, but for our results.

  30. Finn says...

    Agreed! To me the term emphasizes norm of the man being the boss. Your being a boss should not be a gendered role.

    • Amy says...

      Yes, this. You could be a boss and a girl, so technically it’s correct, but unless there’s a ‘boy boss’ that you need to stand apart from so people don’t confuse the two of you….and even then, that’s why your parents gave you names. Unless you and the boy boss are both named Jamie, in which case do what you want to set yourselves apart ;)

  31. Kate says...

    Women have been trying to be seen as equals (and adults) in the workplace for decades. I have a friend who is the CFO at her company, yet male colleagues will refer to women in the office, my friend included, as “girls.” Clearly, we are still striving towards equality. We are not girls, we are women. And, why is there a need to qualify a title with gender? I am not a #ladylawyer or #girllawyer, I am an attorney, just like every person who has earned the title of Esq. While #girlboss may have started out as an attempt to be empowering, let’s not undo the progress so many women ahead of us have been working toward.

  32. Katie says...

    I prefer “Boss Lady”…

  33. Girl boss = do not like.

  34. Fran says...

    I think the term ‘boss’ is obnoxious & outdated in any form! People who are running companies or managing projects/teams, big or small, should be leaders, not bosses. I’m not even clear on why gender even needs enter the equation??

  35. StartCloseIn Styling says...

    I feel similarly about a phrase I’ve seen here, “girl crush.” What’s the problem with saying “I have a crush on her”? Must the speaker/writer make it clear that she is heterosexual but admiring another woman? Seems silly at best, offensive at worst.

  36. Yes! Thank you!

  37. Girl boss definitely grates. And it is condescending. And it’s pretending. If one uses it for themselves, they are pretending they are owning their boss rights, while keeping all ten toes in Cutesy Village. Like wearing a boss mask and a pinafore.

    • rachael says...

      YES!

  38. bisbee says...

    It is absurd. A girl boss might be a teenaged girl who has a small business making hair ties. A woman in her 20s, 30s or beyond is not a girl – not in the business world, anyway. We can still be girls with our friends, but if we want to be taken seriously, we need to stop seeing ourselves as “girl bosses” and start seeing ourselves as “the boss”.

    And…sorry to bring it up again, but that includes signing emails with “love” or “XOXO” unless it is strictly personal. Same thing…it serves to infantilize a grown woman. There are enough men out there who do it to us, we need to stop doing it to ourselves!

  39. i’m honestly not sure how i feel about this term and am constantly teetering on how i feel about this.. i think that it definitely can be empowering, but why can’t we also just be straight up bosses?

    hammyta.wordpress.com

  40. MJ says...

    I’ve frequently used the term “girl boss”, especially on social media. I like that I have a way to identify my success in the workplace as a female. I should mention that I do work with all men and I am one of the few females in my field.
    On the other hand, I recently started to feel that my use of the term “girl boss” was a humorous cover for my impostor syndrome. So there’s that.

  41. Lara says...

    THANK YOU! My sentiments exactly. It really makes me cringe when I see an awesome woman label themselves in this way. It’s like they are completely undermining their strengths and talents. I wish this would stop, and really appreciate that you’ve started a dialogue.

  42. Lindsey says...

    Definitely agree! It’s the same thing with “mumpreneur” too. I was at a Google-sponsored start-up program and so appreciated when the director (female) talked about how we would never call a dad a “dadpreneur”. Why are we doing that to women?

    • Beth says...

      Yes! It drives me crazy when women are identified as “moms” in contexts that have nothing to do with their family. I remember this headline from last year: “Mom Finds Her T-Shirt Design Sold At Target Without Her Permission.” Replacing “mom” with “clothing designer” or “small business owner” would make far more sense.

    • Rach says...

      YES! I HATE that term. Same with girlboss. HATE it.

  43. Anita says...

    Hm. What about “Boss Lady”? My mother owns a restaurant and is affectionately known as the “Boss Lady” in the community. I think the recognition empowers her. And it sounds a lot better than “girl boss”.

  44. Kt says...

    I read that same article by Anna Jordan last week and agreed with her so completely!!! I think the term “girl boss” is indeed patronizing and demeaning and silly sounding. We are strong, intelligent, independent, kickass WOMEN. We need to fully respect ourselves and what we do. I don’t think “girl boss” fully recognizes that total respect. We need to respect ourselves first and foremost, if we want men to respect us in turn.

  45. Jess says...

    I’m a scientist and no woman I know would EVER say girl boss about herself or anyone else, it would be completely bizarre and insulting. But even if it were an empowering term, I don’t think it would make much tangible progress, because it’s only really intended *for other women*. It’s inward-looking, all about who we are and how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen, and meanwhile the men are just… getting on with things. We should feel free to take ourselves as seriously and straightforwardly as men take themselves, no cute labels necessary.

  46. Love this! I have been thinking a lot about females with assertiveness and boldness. How it is OK to be bold. It doesn’t make you a b!itch. I think depending on the use Girl Boss can be uplifting but it really depends on the context and the person. I would probably never say it to another woman.

  47. Natalie says...

    AMEN.

  48. Mags says...

    I also hate this term. I’m not a boss yet, but *when* I become one, no one better call me a “girl boss.” Also, I’m not a girl. I’m 32 years old, a mother and a woman. I understand these phrases are supposed to be catchy, but in this case it is also demeaning to women and their successes.

    So thanks for this post!

  49. Emily says...

    I 100% agree that “girl boss” is not a productive term. It reminds me too much of comments like, “You run fast…for a girl.”

  50. molly says...

    Depending on the way its used. If someone called me a “Girl Boss” and meant it as a compliment then I would take it as such. I could also see myself saying it my close girlfriends, all of whom are successful in their chosen path. However, if someone I wasn’t familiar with called me that in a way that I couldn’t tell was a compliment, I would be a little weirded out and find it rude.

    Sometimes I think well intended feminists take the whole feminist thing too far and actually end up just making people feel belittled – even other women. I’ve seen people walk on eggshells around certain women and not praise them in fear of offending them.

  51. Yes! Thank you for writing this post. “Grating” is the perfect description for how the phrase “girl boss” feels to me. Glad I’m not alone.

  52. joanna says...

    No. I would not call someone a girl boss. I would be appalled if a client, or one of my partners called me a #girlboss. They would be the immediate recipient of a withering stare and lack of response until they used my name. I am a 41 year old female law firm partner. At work I am the boss of attorneys and staff who are each adult humans. At home I am the boss of a girl and boy whom I am making every effort possible to teach that the ways in which they are special and different are due to whom they are as humans. Not because one is “just a girl” and the other is a “big boy.”

  53. Elle says...

    I am SOOOOOOOO anti girlboss for exactly the reasons posited in the blog post you linked to. In fact, the only times my friends and I (all late 20s with mobile and challenging careers) say #girlboss is when we’re being ironic. Why do you have to be a girl boss? Just be a boss. Men don’t qualify their successes this way– why should we?

  54. Alex says...

    I am in the process of starting up a partnership with a friend and colleague who also happens to be female. We’ve been trying for weeks to come up with a name for our new business and one of the things we discussed was whether to include/celebrate the fact that we are two women in our name choice. And at first we thought – yes for sure! We are 2 badass women! Boom! But the more we thought about it, the more problematic it became…would it feel exclusive to men we want to hire? Would it make clients take us less seriously? Would people think we have a chip on our shoulders? ugh…its so hard. I don’t know what the answer is… Any thoughts?

    • Claire Johnson says...

      I’m in a similar place. I don’t want to develop a business and name it something that would in fact seem exclusive to women and intentionally excluding men.

      And it’s similar with “chick lit.” Or even covers that seem “chick lit.” People don’t take those book seriously or even consider them to be in the same catagory as “literature,” but as something “less-than.”

      Why is it that something associated with the female is often devalued and patronizing?

  55. Michelle says...

    Ugh, I’ve been having this thought lately about the phrase “lady bits.” Like, we even have to make our genitalia adorable?

  56. I prefer the latina term “chingona” or boss-bitch :).

  57. No, I would not. I mean, #girlboss had its place in value since young female bosses are still few and far between, but to continue using it seems to feed into Feminism the marketing strategy rather than just Feminism the human right.

  58. Heather says...

    I had never heard this term before! Seems to me to be one of those things that’s okay for women to say to each other. And more of friend to friend, rather than within a work setting. And I think that’s okay! I think there should be terms that women can just share with women, and WE know that it’s tongue in cheek or silly or what have you. But in any real work conversation/setting, I’d hate this.

  59. Another common alternative to this is “boss babe” which replaces the girlishness with a womanly swagger. But again, must we tie power to gender and sexuality? This works with someone like Beyonce, where her influence is drawn from her allure (among many other things). But, yeah, when you apply the does-it-work-for-a-man test, it’s ridiculous and demeaning.

  60. Brittany says...

    I agree 100% with this. Women are just “bosses”. A boss is not something that requires a gender connotation.

  61. Liz says...

    There are also a lot of wonderful women who aren’t bosses – who have a job with more than one male boss and probably always will – or who are under-priveleged or unemployed/disenfranchised. For the women doing well (“bosses”, “girl bosses”, whatever), great – but the inordinate focus on any kind of boss or position of power causes us to forget the reality that there are many women/people who aren’t bosses and have virtually no chance of ever becoming one. And let’s not forget that one’s career is not the be-all and end-all of a meaningful life, or being a successful woman/person. To teach young girls (or boys, even) to aspire to only the most powerful position in a career – and using terms like “girl boss” or “boss” emphasize this – is to diminish the complexity of feminism/humanity and to idolize only the “winners” of capitalism. This was a grumpy post, sorry!

    • Mary says...

      Thank you. I tried to say the same thing and did so much less eloquently earlier on! The assumption that we must inherit power from men, from bosses… It’s tragic. We have power, each of us, inside of us. It’s always there but how many of us choose to use it, even believe in it. We are not, at least to my mind in competition with men. We are women. Mostly the same of course and well able to be powerful in our way and share this earth with all the men here. Believe in yourself and your worthiness and make your own path in life, one that’s in tune with your own spirit. Forget quotas and glass ceilings and #girlbosses (unless you’re 9 years old!). It’s not the 1950s. We have rights. Time to own them. And don’t get me started on assuming one’s worth has anything to do with one’s job… You are born with worth. Or that your job is what defines you. Be whole. Be you. #femaleandhappy #femalewithselfworth #femaleandproud

  62. Total side note, but I know Anna Jordan – author of “Be a Boss, Not a #Girlboss” – from childhood! I’d followed her personal blog for years as an adult and love her writings on feminism, but she moved on from blogging and I lost her for awhile there – her work is always spot on. It was good to find her again.

    Like most others who’ve commented, I think the term ‘girl boss’ is setting us back again, not propelling us forward. As a freelance photographer who has worked for myself for years, I’ve not once thought of myself as a girl photographer – when crafting my business cards or media kit I simply wrote ‘photographer’ under my name, not ‘girl photographer’.

  63. I’m a business English teacher in Germany, and my students ask me about this all the time. In German, they have two different words for it – Chef (masculine) and Chefin (feminine). Whenever they specify “woman boss”, I correct them and tell them that in English, we don’t have specific words for it because it doesn’t matter. (Or shouldn’t matter!!) Like how we’ve moved away from saying “steward” and “stewardess” in favor of the neutral “flight attendant”, I believe it is important not to differentiate if the person doing the job is a male or a female.

    • Carolin says...

      …have to add to this: This is true and efforts have been made in many fields to use a neutral wording in German as well. But being German, I have to add that it is not as simple in languages which do traditionally differentiate. If we stick to one word, it is often the male form and women are not included (as there would be another word). – Traditionally for a majority of the more powerful roles the male word is used but not so much for the nursing ones, here it would be the other way round. So I do think that it is necessary to use at least both forms in German if there isn’t a neutral one (or use one of the many new forms which include more than one gender in a single word) in oder to open up both sides for men and women.

  64. Abi says...

    Yes! Thank you for using your platform to point this out. Have you read Playing Big by Tara Mohr? Similar message on the shrinking/playing small. I often think, when I experience these absurdities (like being called “sassy” for making a legitimate request/setting boundaries), “would he say that to a male superior? no? why did I let him say it to me (his female superior)?” The last part concerns me more than his misogyny. So important to raise questions about “bossy,” “girl boss,” “just a…” and other gender qualifiers so that we, as women, can also consider if we have become too tolerant of separate treatment, appreciate the implications and support each other in playing a bit bigger each time they present.

  65. Meg says...

    I prefer to just be the boss. Not the girl boss. I feel like the term suggests they there’s something remarkable about being a female boss.

    Likewise, I’m fascinated with women who use “xo” as a sign off in work emails. It feels like there’s something there — a need to make business a friendship? A desire to make things more familiar? The intentions are positive, but I feel like it somehow undermines that what we’re all doing is WORK. Even if our work happens to be — in this case — fashion, blogs, pretty things, “fun” stuff.

    • Isn’t it sort of remarkable, though, that women are bosses? Look how far we’ve come! Our mothers and grandmothers remember a time when this wasn’t possible or even a thought! It sucks that females in power are still out of the ordinary but they are! So yeah! It’s cool!
      But no on the “xo”. All kinds of no.

    • Susan says...

      I have NEVER received an work email where someone signed off XO. Is that a thing? People do that? How unprofessional! Cheers is as casual as I will go.

  66. How much can we inflate and be big compared to who? Let us all follow our passions passionately and leave what should bes and shouldn’t bes aside. Let us all be happy so we can emanate joy to others around us