Labels are never fun. Unless of course they are labels on designer shoes, bags or dresses. Then labels are pretty amazing.
But in society “labels” are a way to categorized, describe, pigeon hole or Square-Peg-in-a-Round-others and it’s oftentimes not in a kind or flattering way. Labeling a female as “loose” or “flighty” has nothing to do with being flexible or able to sprout wings, but more along the lines of insinuating a “woman-only” character flaw. Labeling is something everyone in the world is guilty of, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously, and something that all of us as womenpreneurs need to avoid at all costs.
It seems that women take their fair share of hits when to comes to “labels” and though some like “driven” or “she’s a go-getter” are favorable, just as many are not. It’s time to throw these labels on the table call them what they are; some overused (and not always accurate) words that need a little freshening up.
Bossy: We may be mistaken, but men in the same situation are called “authoratative.” To be a bossy woman is not usually a good thing and oftentimes this label goes hand-in-hand with “know-it-all” or “queen bee.” Personally, I prefer the phrase Supreme Commander as in “She was the Supreme Commander of the Monday morning meeting…” Discuss.
Bubbly: This catchy little label describes an attractive woman with a butterflies-and-unicorn outlook on life. Though bubbly people are wonderful to have around to keep moral high and life interesting, the word “bubbly” reminds us too much of the trip to the candy store as a child. Again, personally I prefer the word Effervescent.
Cold: This term is sometimes used to describe a woman who does not seem to show much emotion or seems to possess much joy in life. I would like to point out that sharks, some of the most effective hunters of the sea, are also cold (albeit physically cold) and there is no shame in be a hunter and opposed to a guppy.
Exotic: Exotic is often used by mainstream media to describe a multicultural woman who is also beautiful and alluring. We feel this term would be better suited if we could expand the meaning to include things like, “bilingual” or even “left-handedness.” In some dictionaries “exotic” simply means, “from out of town” so basically we are all exotic in some way.
Hot Mess: In many social settings (ok, the world) a “hot mess” is a beautiful woman who just can’t get it together and keep it together. Though basically a back-handed compliment, I feel that “hot mess” could also refer to what many of us endue on the average work day in summer as we struggle to keep our thighs from sticking together and our makeup from sliding off our faces.
Intense: This label applies to women who boldly express their feelings, opinions and expectations freely and with robust passion. Intense can also mean a few fries short of a happy meal as in; “Whoa! She was getting really intense about committing to life in a Bio-Dome” or “intense” as in “Wow, she’s a master negotiator. She was intense!” I think “intense” equals laser-focus and attention to detail that allows us to hone in on critical details like gaping man zippers, the unnecessary display of muffin tops, undetected spit-up stains and the fact that our file folders are clashing with our legal pads and letter head. If you are Intense, own it, but do so without going all honey-badger on someone.
Prude: A “prude” usually refers to a woman who isn’t willing engage in any behavior, sexual or otherwise. It can also mean the same as “stick in the mud” referring to the non-team player who refuses peer pressure on participating in unusual body positions, nether-region piercings or buying into the “this tastes like shit…try it!” game. With the popularity of the iPhones and the “forever-ness” of social media, I think that refusing to pole dance with coworkers on a Friday night, minus most of you wore to work, is not only good common sense, it savvy business sense. Prude away, my Mompreneurs.
Quirky: When someone comments “She’s a tad quirky,” it’s hard to not get a vision of a Nanny-McPhee-meets-Pippi-Longstocking-type character who sports mismatched clothes, a adoration for two wheeled shopping carts and need to practice collecting cats. Quirky to me means Individuality and the refusal to Conform to the Norm. Both positive traits of a leader who is more apt to blaze through the jungle to find a new path, niche or career than take the Road Most Traveled.
What labels would you love to see banished from the earth for women-kind?