The term ‘BossBabe’ fills me with dread. But a few years back, I tossed that term around like Sriracha. Generously.
What was intended to be a word that inspired empowerment and determination for women aspiring to become an entrepreneur, now makes me roll my eyes (and cringe). It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with being a boss and also a babe, but there are a few reasons why nowadays I’m just plain over the moniker. And you may be too, when you hear why.
“BossBabe” And Other Words I Regret Using In Business
You may have noticed that terms like ‘BossBabe’ and ‘LadyBoss’ seem to be popping up everywhere, specifically in sales copy made by and geared towards women.
Some say that using ‘BossBabe’ type words in business nowadays is the equivalent of using ‘Playlist’ font! (Remember that typeface?)
…But whether that’s true or not, these types of words seem to hit a chord with people.
Some even strongly feel that they are offensive to women.Hashtag ladybossgirlcollectivebossbabeladyfemreneurtribe! ...Sorry... #BossBabe, And other words I regret using in business!Click To Tweet
Are Terms Like BossBabe, GirlBoss, Fempreneur ect, Offensive?
There are heated debates in Facebook groups and online forums about whether or not terms like BossBabe, GirlBoss, Ladyboss and so forth are empowering as intended, or just plain offensive.
Even the term ‘Female Entrepreneur’ or ‘Fempreneur’ get a bad rap.
For one, many people argue that if you are an entrepreneur or boss, male or female, that’s all you are.
You are an entrepreneur and a boss. No need to add anything to it.
Adding ‘Female’ ‘Fem’ or ‘Lady’ to it simply degrades and demeans the woman as less of an entrepreneur than the male counterpart.
This argument goes deeper when you add ‘girl.’ As the word girl implies even less of a woman, but a child.
On this side, we can assume that using the word ‘babe,’ here is even more demeaning.
On the other hand, there does seem to be a need for some sort of differentiation.
Because let’s face it, when you are a woman as well as business owner, you are pretty freakin’ cool.
‘Entrepreneur’ is great, yes. But some entrepreneurs who are female also want a word that offers something extra, that connects us to other entrepreneurs that are also female.
But what is it?
Mompreneurs, Yay Or Nay?
Going deeper into this is the debate over the word ‘Mompreneur.’
A mom who is also an entrepreneur, easy-peasy.
But critics cry foul, because, why does it matter if this entrepreneur is a mom? Surely no man would ever feel the need to call himself a ‘Dadpreneur.’
Side note – #Dadpreneur has 46,000 posts on Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com now has a topic category for Dadpreneurs!
I’m on the other side with this one. Calling yourself a mompreneur? I say hell yeah, own it.
Being a mom who runs her own business does give you a unique difference.
Being a mom, to begin with, is hard work. Add on running your own business?
…How about a business from home where your kids are distracting you every 5 minutes while you are managing ten clients and 3 million deadlines? Holy heck!
Being able to discern that you are not just an entrepreneur, but also a baby-juggling home-managing superwoman pretty much calls for some sort of additional term.
Basically, in my opinion, Mompreneur for the win. Or my personal favorite; MotherHustler!
What’s Wrong With Being A GirlBoss, Anyway?
The term Girlboss, is a word I consider to be a term of endearment, too.
There’s nothing wrong with being a girl. Or a boss. And truthfully, I’m proud to be a #GirlBoss.
If there’s anyone who can prove that statement more, its none other than the woman who coined the term herself, Sophia Amoruso.
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I’ve been following Amoruso since she was a meer Ebay seller back in the ‘Myspace era’ of the early 2000s.
I bought my first pair of Jeffrey Campbell boots from her then-newly launched website Nasty Gal, and have watched her become a multimillion-dollar businesswoman, best selling author and all around, well, #GirlBoss.
The term GirlBoss, at least to me, has some power behind it that terms like ‘BossBabe’ simply can’t rise up to.
Are terms like #BossBabe #GirlBoss #Fempreneur and #Mompreneuer offensive? Are they empowering? ...Or are they just a #marketing sales gimmick to lure female customers? Weigh in here!Click To Tweet
Buzzwords And Marketing
For marketers and advertisers, terms like these are used as a way to reach a desired target audience or customer.
In the case of words like BossBabe, that audience is women in or aspiring to be in business.
That’s how I started using them, regrettably, anyway.
Let’s take a little trip back in time my cringy copywriting past of a not distant enough past…
Becoming A BossBabe
When I first started to dip my toes in business (before HerPaperRoute existed) I knew that I wanted to write specifically to and for women.
I wanted to create an online community of women where we could share business and money advice, and bring each other up in a sisterhood of entrepreneurship.
It was important to me even then that I was clear in my marketing efforts towards attracting businesswomen, and not men.
Using words like ‘female entrepreneur’ in my promotional material and sales copy was one of the most simple ways to reach the gender I wanted in my hive.
While at the same time, ensuring that I wasn’t attracting the other gender.
From a marketing perspective, it’s important to use the words that your target audience uses, and ‘BossBabe’ was an unfortunate buzzword that was trending at the time.
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The term didn’t really sit right with me back then either, and I did feel that ‘BossBabe’ made me sound less professional.
But I liked that it was catchy and light-hearted sounding.
I was creating a fun upbeat community and a non-stuffy word like BossBabe just sort of fit…at the time.
It seemed like a good word to reach women looking to develop their own work from home businesses.
So I started using the term in copy when speaking to my target audience and naming my digital products with it.
And yes, it was helping to attract women into my community.
But now that I look back on it, at what cost? How many amazing women did I miss along the way, because of using that stupid word?
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Taking it another step too far, I even named my women in business lifestyle blog at the time ‘ShesBabely’ with the intention that it evoked female empowerment.
No one got that intention at all.
My husband assumed that my blog was a Tumblr-esque softcore picture gallery of sexy women!
To his, and I’m sure many other men’s disappointment, it was not.
Because the content I was writing was about women entrepreneurs, I had meant the term ‘babely’ to refer to smart being sexy, and that the female brain is the babe.
But everyone thought that the name simply referred to physical appearance – or worse, that the ‘she’ was me, as if I was calling myself a babe!
Needless to say, after a few months I changed the domain name and slowly killed off all the old ShesBabely products.
But even then, I was still using the term ‘BossBabe’ in promo copy, and not thinking too much of it.
It wasn’t until about a year ago that I decided it was just plain stupid.
It wasn’t that I thought it was offensive, exactly (although it might be).
Frankly, BossBabe just isn’t good enough to compliment the smart as heck group of women in my community.
So, that is why I stopped using ‘BossBabe’ in my business.
Plus, the term has been overused and blighted by MLMs in recent years. I don’t ever want my brand to be associated with MLMs.
Removing all appearances of the dreaded term from my website and social media copy took a while.
I also renamed all my products that used the term, such as the newly titled Haute Hashtags eBook. (Which you can get for free now!).
But of course the Internet is pretty unforgiving, and at times ‘BossBabe’ still pops up in my old social media posts or Pinterest pins.
…That, along with older and even more cringe-worthy photos from my …um…roaring 20s. (**shiver**)
Should We Stop Using Words Like BossBabe In Business?
I’m not here to give you the answer. I’m not sure if these words are completely empowering or completely offensive.
I do believe that each person will have their own opinion on it, and that’s cool.
One thing I will say is that in terms of marketing your business, all that matters is that you are speaking to your audience in a way that makes sense to them.
If your ideal customer happily uses BossBabe, then, by all means, go hard on it.
But if your audience is telling you that those types of words are icky or inappropriate, then maybe it’s time to give your sales copy a bar of soap in the mouth.
What are your thoughts on this?
Do you use BossBabe, GirlBoss, and other such terms in your business copy? Let me know in the comments below, and in our Facebook group!
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