Girl Boss: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
May 24, 2023

"Girl Boss" is an idiom that signifies a woman who takes charge, particularly in business or other professional realms. Often, the term refers to women who have forged their own paths, creating and running successful enterprises. This term promotes female empowerment and leadership, signifying a woman who does not only excel in her field but also who leads with strength, innovation, and determination.

In short:

"Girl Boss" refers to a powerful, successful woman who leads in her professional field.

What Does “Girl Boss” Mean?

The term "Girl Boss" carries a few distinct connotations, primarily centered around female empowerment and leadership. A "Girl Boss" isn't merely a boss who happens to be a woman; she is a woman who has carved her own path to success, often overcoming obstacles and barriers along the way.

Here's a closer look:

  • A "Girl Boss" is often a business owner or leader.
  • She is frequently associated with entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • She displays confidence and strength in her leadership.
  • The term implies a measure of defiance against traditional gender roles.

Other variations and related expressions of the idiom include "boss lady," "female CEO," and "woman of power," though none have the exact same cultural resonance as "Girl Boss."

Where Does “Girl Boss” Come From?

The term "Girl Boss" was popularized by Sophia Amoruso, founder of the online retail company Nasty Gal, who wrote a book by the same name in 2014. In the book, Amoruso detailed her journey from an eBay store owner to the CEO of a multi-million dollar business. Since then, "Girl Boss" has been used widely in pop culture and business circles, often with reference to women who demonstrate a similar journey of success.

Historical Example

"In the age of the 'Girl Boss,' women are not only working for companies; they’re starting them."

—The New York Times, 2017

10 Examples of “Girl Boss” in Sentences

Here are 10 instances of "Girl Boss" used in various contexts:

  • As the team leader, Jane confidently embraces her role as a Girl Boss while signing off her emails with kind regards.
  • Ever since she was young, she wanted to be a Girl Boss.
  • As the newly appointed CEO, Sarah embraced her role as a Girl Boss and confidently told her colleagues, "Don't patronize me; I know exactly how to lead this company."
  • She aspires to be a Girl Boss and run her own tech company.
  • After a brief setback, Sarah, the determined entrepreneur, is back on track as a true Girl Boss in her business ventures.
  • When it comes to negotiations, our Girl Boss always comes out on top.
  • As a Girl Boss, she's no stranger to long hours and hard work.
  • As Jessica embarked on her solo backpacking trip across Europe, her friends wished her well, saying, Girl Boss, have a safe journey!
  • The tech industry needs more Girl Bosses.
  • Emily knew she could rely on her best friend, Jessica, to always have her back as she confidently took on her new role as a Girl Boss in the company.

Examples of “Girl Boss” in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of "Girl Boss" in various popular culture contexts:

  • In the TV series Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso's journey is depicted, celebrating her transition into a successful Girl Boss.
  • The song "Girl Boss" by Lucy Spraggan features lyrics about breaking glass ceilings and becoming a Girl Boss.
  • The podcast "Girlboss Radio," hosted by Sophia Amoruso, features interviews with successful Girl Bosses.
  • In the movie The Devil Wears Prada, the character Miranda Priestly is often referred to as a Girl Boss in discussions and reviews.
  • The book Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba is a guide for aspiring Girl Bosses.
  • The documentary Miss Americana showcases Taylor Swift's evolution into a Girl Boss in the music industry.
  • In the reality show Shark Tank, Lori Greiner is often celebrated as a Girl Boss.
  • Girlboss, a popular online community and professional digital network, is a hub for ambitious Girl Bosses.

Other Ways to Say “Girl Boss” in Sentences

There are different ways to express the same sentiment as "Girl Boss."

Some of these include:

  • She's a powerhouse in the business world.
  • As a female trailblazer, she's paving the way for other women in tech.
  • She's a woman of influence in the corporate sector.
  • Her entrepreneurial spirit is truly inspiring.
  • She's an empowered woman leader in her industry.
  • As a chief executive, she's making waves in the finance world.
  • She's a self-made woman with her own business empire.
  • She's a leading lady in the field of digital marketing.
  • As a pioneering female entrepreneur, she's broken many barriers.
  • She's a dynamic woman executive at the helm of her organization.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Girl Boss”

  • What does "Girl Boss" mean?

A "Girl Boss" refers to a strong, successful woman who leads in her professional field, particularly in business or entrepreneurship.

  • Who popularized the term "Girl Boss"?

Sophia Amoruso, founder of the online retail company Nasty Gal, popularized the term "Girl Boss" with her 2014 book of the same name.

  • Are there similar expressions to "Girl Boss"?

Similar expressions include "boss lady," "female CEO," "woman of power," "powerhouse," and "female trailblazer," among others.

  • Is "Girl Boss" a positive term?

Generally, "Girl Boss" is considered positive as it highlights female empowerment and leadership. However, some critique it for potentially perpetuating harmful stereotypes or diminishing women's accomplishments.

  • Why is "Girl Boss" sometimes criticized?

The term is sometimes critiqued for its potential to infantilize women or imply that female leadership is a novelty. Critics argue that successful women are simply "bosses," without need for a gendered qualifier.

  • Can "Girl Boss" be used outside of a business context?

Yes, it can be used to describe any woman who shows leadership, strength, and independence, even outside of a professional setting.

  • Is "Girl Boss" used globally?

While the term originated in the US, it has been adopted in many different countries, often in discussions about female entrepreneurship and leadership.

  • Can a man be a "Girl Boss"?

Typically, "Girl Boss" specifically refers to women, as the term is rooted in female empowerment. However, the qualities of a "Girl Boss"—such as leadership, strength, and innovation—are not gender-specific.

  • Is "Girl Boss" used in popular culture?

Yes, the term has been featured in books, music, TV shows, movies, and more, usually to celebrate strong, entrepreneurial women.

  • Can "Girl Boss" be used in formal writing?

While "Girl Boss" is more commonly used in casual or conversational contexts, it can also be used in formal writing, particularly when discussing women's entrepreneurship or leadership.

Final Thoughts About “Girl Boss”

"Girl Boss" is more than just an idiom; it represents a cultural movement toward acknowledging and celebrating female leadership. As conversations around gender equality in the workplace continue to evolve, the term "Girl Boss" stands as a testament to the strides women have made and the barriers they continue to break. As the use of "Girl Boss" in various sectors of society demonstrates, there is a growing recognition and appreciation of female strength and entrepreneurial spirit.

  • "Girl Boss" signifies a powerful, successful woman leader, particularly in business or entrepreneurship.
  • Originated by Sophia Amoruso, it has been adopted widely in popular culture and professional circles.
  • While its usage is primarily positive, "Girl Boss" also faces critique for potentially perpetuating certain stereotypes.
  • Despite this, the idiom remains an influential part of the discourse around female empowerment and leadership.

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