The Hypocrisy of #BossBabe
UWN Contributor – Sarah Hawco – Co-Founder, Hawco Peters and Associates Inc., Founder Hawco Fitness | UWN Universal Ambassador | @hawcofitness
Boss babe. God I hate that term. I cringe anytime it is used, be it in reference to me, or doled out as a compliment to another woman. It seems to have been coined by women themselves, maybe a take ownership thing? A celebration, a collaboration, a unifying roar. And yet to me it seems like an asterisk, a pat on the head. I work really hard; I have earned the title boss. Just boss. Lose the patronizing sexualizing babe part thank you very much.
I had a spirited discussion about this recently with my friend Almin. He is a marketing guru. I trust him implicitly in this foreign (to me) space. He was advising me to use #bossbabe in my posts. Indignantly, I refused, explaining that I don’t need to diminish my Boss-ness with babe. But social media, tracking, content, branding, presence, reach he said. #bossbabe means something, it matters, he strongly recommended I change my stance. I heard what he was saying. And yet, it felt out of alignment. Isn’t that my brand? Isn’t alignment my goal, every damn day? With the choices I make, the words I speak, the steps I take, I want to ensure that they are in alignment with my values, with who I say I am and want to be. Something about #bossbase was out of alignment. For me.
So, what to do? Almin countered that the use of #bossbabe was in fact in alignment with my goals which include expanding my reach to others and helping them find their own alignment. My goals of seeing women succeed are very much captured in the spirit of this #bossbabe phenomena. There is no offense to be taken by the term, rather I should embrace it for the power it is intended to promote. With that, begrudgingly I agreed to use the hashtag, while asking that my strong dissent be noted.
Weeks later it is still under my skin and I realize I can’t get onboard. I take it back. Why are women asked how it feels to be a “female” CEO, coach, president, partner…? We know nothing else other than how it feels to be in our own bodies. Enough of the qualifiers, we just ARE. I just AM. Full stop. Buffering my title, my role, my taking up space, with gender makes it an exception, not the norm. It feeds into the very misogyny I am fighting against, it is saying that I am doing great, for a girl. I support the spirit of #bossbabe if it is in fact meant to lift women up and support those efforts. However, words matter. Patronizing, sexualizing, demeaning words desensitize all of us. Sorry Almin, I will not be a #bossbabe. But I like the sound of #badass.