Death of #girlboss, birth of #womanentrepreneur

Anna Sabino
Aug 21, 2017 · 4 min read
photo via unsplash

Sophia Amoruso is the originator of a widely popular hashtag #girlboss. In 2015 her New York Times bestseller #Girlboss was published by Portfolio and since then this popular hashtag has been used by entrepreneurs and working women around the world. If you search on Instagram, you’ll find it used over 7mln times.

If grown women want to be treated at par with men in the workplace, why are we sending a different message by using #girlboss?

Have you noticed a grown professional man calling himself #boyboss? If you search on Instagram for #boyboss, you’ll get just 3,000 results and most pictures feature toddler boys.

On one hand we demand equality and don’t want to be called sweet or cute but on the other hand we use hashtags as if we were little girls. When men start treating us seriously in the workplace, we send them a message calling ourselves “girls.” Would you sign a business contract with a girl? No, a girl is meant to be taken out for ice cream and movie and this is what we’re signaling by calling ourselves #girlbosses.

If being called “honey” or “sweetie” in the workplace is being frowned upon, why are we sending a confusing message to men by saying that we are “girls?” We think that calling ourselves a #girlboss is cute but at the same time we are surprised that few take us seriously and that we loose on promotional opportunities to men. Are you a professional woman? Would you want to do a business transaction with a #girlboss or with a professional man? I wouldn’t trust a #girlboss, I’d choose to work with a man.

Using #girlboss has been especially popular with women entrepreneurs. This may work if you cater to teens, it may be their language but wouldn’t you want to show them a better example and wouldn’t you want to be seen as a mature woman, business owner who is their mentor figure? #Girlboss opens lemonade stands, woman entrepreneur starts a creative career on her own terms.

We want equal pay and opportunities regardless of sex, age and nationality. However we can’t expect to be paid equally if we project incompetence. Girls don’t get paid, they get allowance. How you show up is how you’ll be treated. We may buy a thing or two from a #girlboss but we prefer larger transactions to be handled by women entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurial careers are risky enough by nature. In the early stages of our businesses, we may not get the support we need, we may be hustling alone.

It’s important that we don’t jeopardize our careers by creating another roadblock on our entrepreneurial path. We need to show that we are serious, ready for business women entrepreneurs who can be trusted professionally.

Project this image from the beginning and don’t jeopardize your business woman persona by using any belittling terms. Build your brand and your image elevating yourself as a professional woman.

Don’t go back in time and bring all the girly nostalgia moments into your business. If needed, you have your girls nights out for that. Keep your professional persona, not everyone can relate and think of #girlboss the way you may be, with an image of toasting to life at your girls night out soirees. As a business owner you should carry many facets and use different language depending on circumstances. Career ladder climbing woman entrepreneur has obligations and promises to fulfill. She is trusted with deadlines, money and successful development of concepts contributing to growth.

Don’t mitigate your skills and business acumen by calling yourself a #girlboss. Don’t jeopardize your growth path by presenting yourself in such an unfavorable light.

Your possibilities depend on how you show up and how you’re perceived. #Girlboss puts a limit on what’s possible.

Sofia Amoruso, founder of vintage clothing company NastyGal successfully promoted herself as #girlboss but since then the term has been overused, misused and transferred to too many industries where it may have not been received with equal enthusiasm. Depending on your entourage, this term may not resonate with those who work for you. Would you really respect your boss who calls herself a #girlboss?

It’s up to you how you show up professionally but expect to be treated accordingly to how you are perceived. You have so much to offer, build your personal brand in line with your goals and aspirations. Leave the nostalgia of being a little girl for your family dinner gatherings and girls nights out. You are not a hashtag, drop it and start building your business image evoking trust and professionalism.

We have so much to offer as women entrepreneurs. To grow professionally we need to shine but not with sparkles; shine with a glow of charisma, confidence and business knowledge.

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My book Your Creative Career, with tips on creative lifestyle and career is available for pre-order. I share creative insight on making money as a creative — designing your career, paying yourself, pricing, ways of getting your products made, etc.

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