I hate the term girl boss. Like, hate. I cringe every time I hear it, and I want to break every millennial pink mug that I see flaunting the phrase. Yeah, I know, I probably seem irrationally cynical and bitter if you've never given this phrase much thought, but let me explain: being called a girl boss feels like a slap in the face when you are a young female entrepreneur carving out your way in the business world.
When I first started working on Deco back in 2015, I was convinced that my biggest professional obstacle would be my gender. Well, I was half right, and I quickly discovered that my gender and age were wrapped together into one even taller hurdle. When you're 20-something and tell people that you're starting your own business, they look at you like they want to pat you on the head and say "that's cute of you". Why? Clearly if you're in your 20's, you have no idea what you're doing. (Cue the eye roll.)
The challenge of the YFE (young female entrepreneur) is that she has to convince others that she's a legitimate business person. How does she achieve this? Hard to say, but it's definitely not showing up to a bank meeting with this notebook. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of overindulgent sparkly stationary, but part of being a deft YFE is crafting a professional persona that minimizes the fact that you are young, and emphasizes your competence. In the business world, you don't want people to think of you as a girl, just plain old boss is better.
As I type this post and stare at the picture of that pink #girlboss notebook, I wonder, do I subconsciously hate feminine things? But the more I think about it, definitely not. My issue is that mainstream #girlboss seeks to empower women in business by focusing on superficial qualities, like having a highly Instagrammable office space or consistently posting about how busy you are on social media with hashtag girlboss. As someone who doesn't value keeping up this kind of business appearance, I suppose being called a girl boss makes me feel lumped into a group that does, which devalues my accomplishments to me. Entrepreneurship is a dynamic career path, and there is much more to being a successful YFE than whatever the #girlboss movement entails.
So just to reiterate, please don't call me a girl boss. Yes, yes, I am young, female, and a boss, but I would prefer to just be called an entrepreneur or boss if you need to put a label on it. I loved Nasty Gal and was always pleased to see Sophia Amoruso in the internet news until things, um, crumbled, but I wish that the phrase would have died with (the first iteration of) Nasty Gal.