It’s late on a Saturday evening and I should be heading to bed but I found one of the funniest videos posted originally by Vanity Fair and through Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook page all about how tough it is being a #girlboss (the hashtag is mandatory to feel included).
Girlboss is defined in the urban dictionary as:
A woman in control, taking charge of her own circumstances in work & life. Someone who knows her worth and won’t accept anything less. She is not a “mean girl” in fact, she hates “mean girls.” She is empowering and inspiring to those around her. She kicks ass!
Nice definition for future girlbosses to aspire to…. but what does it mean for professional women?
Women have fought to be seen and heard in the world from the suffragettes to bra burning and even running a marathon. Women now have equal rights (in most cultures) although for many, there is an inner battle to fight. When I started out building my business, my bible was “Lean In” and it sure did inspire me that I can make my business work. That I need to sit at the table and talk with the big boys in business. I was brought up knowing this anyway and worked with men at the top of their game in huge multinational companies, but at the same time the book was a comforting reassurance for me at the time taking that leap into business; especially on my own.
As women, we do tend to be our own worst enemy. We put ourselves down too regularly and rally around to encourage other women to be the best they can be, before believing it for ourselves. We fight to sit at the table with the notion at the back of our minds that we shouldn’t really be there. This is human nature. I know men who are equally as insecure.
After looking at the video, it occurred to be that I truly don’t like the term “girlboss”. After fighting for rights for so long, why are so many women still distancing themselves from men just to rally around other girl bosses? To me that is hiding from the real world and too many opportunities. I may easily unleash the wrath of many women for saying this, along with going against my Spice Girls girl power mantra but one thing the 1990’s taught me was that we all have our own opinions and this is mine. To join a woman’s only networking group or just attending women only seminars or workshop; is that not just instilling the notion of that you are just a “Woman” and asking, “why cannot I be treated the same?”? Or perhaps that the women are initially thinking that they should be treated differently from the start? Inner battle.
In the video, albeit very funny and true at times, I felt sorry for the character Derrick who just wanted to be heard. Is poor Derrick being put through some sort of shunning because he is a “just a man and what would he know?” Therefore, what makes such women any different than “just men in excluding others?” To learn how we can grow professionally, we should be gathering around those who inspire us from every background, every gender and every education.
My own message for my business in personal branding is to embrace that we all unique and hence we all can inspire, no matter who wears the pants or what table is it. So, I do question why other women like myself feel that they must be “one of the girls”. We should all embrace the idea that we are who we are and that we can become part of or even start something incredible with hard work and a driving passion. Isn’t that what girl power is truly about? We are not just women (or men); we are trying to progress through life and work while also trying to figure out what to wear that is appropriate….
Link to Video Girlboss