Thursday, 22 June 2017

Is the term 'Girl Boss' problematic?

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I've been planning this post for a little while now yet every time I come to write it I feel even more conflicting emotions. It's hardly a ground breaking issue but it's been on my mind more and more lately and I thought it was about time I put pen to paper (so to speak) and just shared the ramblings of my mind. I first thought about the term 'girl boss' and it's meaning when I was at Scott's house last summer and saw a copy of Fabulous magazine brandished with the cover title 'The Female Boss'. At the time I thought this was odd, mostly because the term female boss is used far less commonly than girl boss and it made me fully notice the added gender specific noun used. If the cover star of the magazine had been male, would the title have read 'The Male Boss'? I suspect not. I said this to Scott at the time and received an eye roll in response, making me wonder whether me picking up on such subtle and otherwise insignificant choices of words was just me being especially pedantic. But as I've considered the issue more, I've come to the conclusion that although it is just a choice in words that most people wouldn't see a problem with, it feels to me like part of the underlying yet constant issue that men are more advantaged and superior to this day within our society.  Realistically why do we feel the need to add a feminine word prior to 'boss' when celebrating women's achievements and successes? Predominantly I think this is because the structure of our society and general theme when it comes to those in positions of power and authority is that men come first, women second. Feminism is a hugely important part of my life and I feel so passionately about championing the movement which I think is one reason I was so keen to share my thoughts on the issue today and hopefully get people thinking a little. 

Perhaps in addition to positions of power being dominated by males, women that do have authority are not celebrated enough in the mainstream media and recognised as equals. Adding the term girl or female in front of 'boss' could therefore be a means of creating greater representation for women in male dominated spheres and acts as a voice for those who aren't typically seen as the obvious when it comes to being in charge. I personally use the term girl boss frequently, and I find it so empowering to do so. There's something about it that just makes me feel super positive and successful, but now when using it I do consider that adding the word girl just isn't necessary. In no other sphere would a female pronoun be added; doctors, teachers or come to think of it ANY other profession doesn't add an extra word to make it gender specific. Part of me loves the term girl boss, and I truly embrace anything that makes women feel empowered, but another consideration I'm trying to make is whether or not we need to label something femininely. I think it’s SO important to encourage women to be independent, fearless, confident and successful, and ultimately maybe terms like girl boss help with that. I just wonder whether we’re subconsciously contributing to an issue of putting women in a separate category when in reality we should all be striving for the same goals regardless of being a male or female. Like I stressed at the beginning of this little ramble, I am potentially overthinking an issue too deeply and although it seems insignificant, I think it's often society's norms that can be discriminative without us even realising which in the end all add up to create bigger and more widespread issues of inequality. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject whatever they may be and like I said, I'm 100% still figuring this out for myself! Feminism is a very complex issue but I think the more open discussion that is promoted the better. With that said I hope this post has provided you with some food for thought!
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