Why Terms Like #GIRLBOSS and #BOSSBABE Are Problematic

Some of you might disagree, and that is fine. I can already feel the weird, misguided comments coming from those that are either going to skim this post or look at the title and draw their own false conclusions.

But at the end of this day, this is still my blog where I can post whatever content I wish.

I am a feminist. I believe in being strong, independent, and fearless. I am all for female empowerment and equality of the sexes. I’m not even going to get into detail with this, because I could go on endlessly and write a whole blog on feminism.

I don’t like the term girl boss. Boss babe, lady boss, all of those terms sound incredibly patronizing and always make me shake my head. You know what I’m talking about, the quotes on Pinterest and the baby pink accenting and Sophia Amoruso. 

Let me make it crystal clear by saying that there’s nothing wrong to aspiring a strong, successful, independent woman. That’s what I aspire to be. There is however, something problematic with specifically labeling the term as a “girl boss.” 

It begs the question, “Why can’t I be a boss? Why do I have to be a girl boss?” Why is it necessary to differentiate between an all-around boss, and a girl boss? It creates this view that a successful woman is not a boss, but specifically a boss. 

Why is this even remotely necessary? Can you imagine if men called themselves “boy boss” or “man boss?” Or even worse… “bro boss?” I believe that we would all laugh uproariously at them. Honestly, it’s patronizing and creates an unnecessary separation between the sexes. Shouldn’t a young woman aspire to be a boss, and not a “girl boss?”

It’s as if we created this term so that women can adopt some sweet and adorable title that isn’t menacing. Something cutesy and non-threatening. And I find that pretty unempowering and pretty sexist

And I think what really bugs me is the conventional femininity of this whole idea. The flowers, the pale pink, the lipstick and the attempt at making a successful woman “cute.” Because the fact of the matter is this. Women shouldn’t be diluting their success or accomplishments by making it “cutesy.”

Because this all creates a belief that women cannot be in charge, but only that they can be in charge and adorable. You can be successful as a woman, without being adorable and cutesy, contrary to what society is trying to shove down their throats. And you shouldn’t ever downplay your achievements or success.

This term is honestly, misguided and sexist, and we are dumbing down the concept of a woman who is successful. I do not admire the female role models in my life because they take cute Instagrams or because their outfits are chic. I admire them because they are powerful, strong, fierce, and incredible women. I would never tell any of them that they are a boss babe or a lady boss. I would just tell them that they are a boss.

Each and every day women are treated differently because of their gender. Whether we choose to acknowledge it, it is undeniable that women are not treated equal to men. It’s upsetting and it’s unfair, and terms like these just perpetuate that continual belief. Because why would you have to specify that you are a successful and driven woman by saying that you are a girl boss? How is that remotely empowering? Please, just say that you’re a boss.

I understand that we are all just trying to empower each other, and acknowledge female success. But we really need to examine why it’s considered necessary to add the “girl” before the boss.

19 thoughts on “Why Terms Like #GIRLBOSS and #BOSSBABE Are Problematic

  1. On point! I guess nowadays equality is ok, but not for some. Especially when you’re position is higher than most male, however, why do they have to label such thing. I agree with you, why can’t it be as simple as a boss.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think in flipping the genders we understand how truly stupid these terms are. Imagine guys calling themselves bro boss or man boss! That would be ridiculous… so why do we use terms like girl boss or boss babe?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I hate the term (and when I do hear it, I usually find a way to gracefully exit the conversation) but I’m going to guess it stems from the whole “find your tribe” thing (another phrase that I’ve come to loath). “Girl boss, Boss Babe, Boss Bitch, etc” are all ways to narrow down your “tribe” and find the people who probably belief very similar, if not the same, things that you do. Also, if there’s a catchy book (or three), people jump on it.

    Quite frankly, if you have the time to refer to yourself as #Girlboss or anything similar, you have the time to do something productive and actually advance yourself.

    The 90 year old at heart

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is freaking great . I myself , as a fucking man gets so turned off when a woman labels herself a “Boss” or “Queen”. It’s something I don’t understand . Why can’t you let your presence speak speak ? Why can’t you let people label you that ? Why can’t you just be humble ? Instead , the women that I get turned off by , and that utilize the title are the same women that are most likely single but yet still ridicule the male . If you have to state something that you are instead of letting your actions speak for yourself , chances are you’re not .

    Good read .



    1. There is NOTHING wrong with a woman calling herself a “boss.” But a “lady boss” or a “girl boss,” THAT is problematic. The fact that you came on this article which discusses feminism and equality and talked about women you’re “turned off” by and “likely single” just displays once again how once again a man has to make this about themselves. The point of this article is that women should be empowered by their own success and not diminish it with frivolous terms that are misogynistic and sexist. NOT that they shouldn’t empower themselves with words or terms that are non-problematic. Your point about ridiculing the male is not only unnecessary but irrelevant, because this article is about women and how these terms ridicule women by belittling them. If you want to discuss our problems with women and what “turns you off” about them or what you consider offensive about woman as a man you’ll have to go elsewhere. Because this article and blog advocates for female empowerment and equality.


  4. This is very true. I thought about this when my little sister had a shirt that said “Girl Boss” on it and it was written “cutesy” just like you described. And I asked myself, “Why does it say ‘Girl Boss’? Why can’t it just say ‘Boss’?” I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who found that weird and sexist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your insight! I definitely felt relieved after I posted this little editorial and so many people agreed! I didn’t want to think I was being too presumptuous or mean, especially since it’s such a widely used term! But they’re so patronizing, weird and sexist… how could I not say something?


    1. It’s definitely an interesting perspective! I was guilty of using the words lady boss and girl boss too! But when you look at it, big picture wise they’re more patronizing than empowering!


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