This Entrepreneur Says the #Girlboss Movement Is Holding Women Back

October 6, 2016, 7:14 PM UTC
Paperback Launch Of #GIRLBOSS With Sophia Amoruso And Brit Morin Of Brit + Co
Photograph by Kimberly White Getty Images for Portfolio Books

An Australian entrepreneur and marketing expert is taking a stand against the term #girlboss.

The phrase exploded after American fashion startup founder Sophia Amoruso used it as the title of her memoir/management guide, which she describes as “Lean In for misfits.” The bestseller chronicles Amoruso’s rise from a dumpster diver to the CEO of her edgy clothing company, Nasty Gal. While the book has garnered such a large following that Netflix is using it as the basis of a show, entrepreneur Franziska Iseli says she’s tired of seeing #girlboss pop up as a hashtag at her speaking events.

Iseli—who started a branding agency called The Business Hood and more recently headed up Ocean Lovers, an environmental social enterprise—told the Sydney Morning Herald she dislikes the term because it glosses over the difficulties of being a businesswoman.

“It almost portrays a false image of what it means to be a leader, or a female entrepreneur; it makes it look easy… I think it’s important we celebrate women but also celebrate the ups and down…and [admit] we make mistakes,” she said. (Amoruso has not responded to Fortune‘s request for comment.)

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Iseli also says the gender definer is not necessary. “We don’t say ‘girl employee’ or ‘girl teacher,’ so why do we need to justify ourselves with this title,” she says.

On that point, Iseli is in line with other high-profile women who are fed up with the use of gendered adjectives in the workplace. Women at Google held “Lady Day” to protest a shareholder referring to CFO Ruth Porat as “the lady CFO.” The tongue-in-cheek demonstration saw male and female employees temporarily change their titles to reflect their gender, such as “Lady Creative Engineer.” Nike and Serena Williams, meanwhile, made a powerful statement by doing just the opposite; airing an ad that removed the word “female” from a phrase characterizing the tennis star as the “greatest female athlete ever.”

The words “women” or “female” are often used as a way to recognize the accomplishments of women who operate in workplaces and a wider world where they are not treated as men’s equals, but Iseli, for one, is over having her achievements qualified this way.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the company in which Sophia Amoruso was CEO. It is Nasty Gal. The article has been updated.

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