Why I Dislike “Girl Power”

Girl power was accepted long before feminism was made popular by Beyoncé, HBO’s Girls, and Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec. Essentially the idea of girl power is the empowerment of girls. I am a feminist and take the label proudly. Since taking on the label, I have found fault with “girl power” as a term due to the favoring of girl power over feminism by individuals. I often have a conversation with my peers about girl power vs. feminism and typically they aligned themselves with girl power.


First off, I find fault with “girl power” due to its lack of diversity and acceptance in the name. Young “girls” are notified of their limitations in society and as a result a divide is created along with a divide created by gender inequality. I believe if we did not teach a implicit clear divide in genders, possibilities for individuals would be endless. Telling a “girl” that they can be the president of a Fortune 500 company is inspiring but also states an assumption of the child’s confidence due to their gender. Through upbringing and attitude around them, the child should not doubt of their abilities. Also, “girl power” attributes to the concept of gender binary. Individuals that do not associate their identities with “girl” are left out the equation of empowerment. In addition, girl power does not state the growth of an individual. Am I supposed to associate myself with girl power at 50?

In my opinion, girl power resembles a watered down, misogynist approved statement of feminism. The term enables the individuals to shy away from feminism. Girl power is easier to support because it widely accepted and does not have similar stereotypes of feminism. I believe girl power has a positive and easy going quality because it is framed and then stratified over feminism by mainstream media and patriarchy. I reserve “girl power” for the individuals afraid of the feminist label. Girl power is accepted due to its presented one dimensional message of women’s empowerment. Yes, feminism is about women’s empowerment but it is much more too. Women’s empowerment is simply a branch on the tree of feminism.

What is the goal of girl power? I think of girl power as tool of mainstream media. It is a filler word for where feminism should be. Girl power is comfortable. By comfortable, I mean, individuals do not really flinch when they hear the term. It is a more impartial, moderate, politically neutral term. To belittle feminism down to “girl power” accepts the misogynistic stamp of approval and allows undeclared feminists to be afraid of feminism. Feminism is not about comfort or pleasing a white male centered society. Appeasement and comfort is not an attainable goal. Complacency is the downfall to social change. The battle for equality is continuous.

Although some could make a counterargument that girl power is a way for feminism to be widely accepted without judgement due to stereotypes, that point fails to realize that feminist did not accept their stereotypes and it is a disservice to not recognize that. It is only beneficial for feminism to be accepted for its true qualities. Reproductive health, equal pay, safety in the workplace to the protection of trans women should be a basis for acceptance, not solely empowerment.

I hope that “girl power” is replaced with urgency to proclaim feminism.  I want feminism be to truthfully represented and shared among masses, but also I want individuals to take delight in declaring feminism as the source of their empowerment and love for others.

Lets be bold. Proclaim, support and cherish feminism. 

4 thoughts on “Why I Dislike “Girl Power”

  1. There are certain elements here I disagree with. The concept of girl power is important, and you say that young girls were notified of their limitations in society and that creates a divide. What creates the divide is the actual unfair treatment of women in society. So whether or not you tell girls that they’re limited, it’s not difficult to realize that, as life goes on, you pick up on certain things that show the unequal treatment between men and women. The reason feminism exists is because WOMEN are oppressed- not men. WOMEN deal with the issues so apparent to society- not men. I’m not saying men don’t have to deal with their fair share of societal expectations but I don’t believe that feminism is discriminating while doing something it’s supposed to do- fight for the ones who are oppressed. Whether you see it or not, women ARE more oppressed and vulnerable than men in this society and feminism is targeted at treating that. So your talk about “feminism stereotypes” is honestly just offensive, that you yourself feed into the stereotypes that women are “man haters” and what not. I will say this again: feminism targets inequality but the inequality itself is created by the patriarchy to oppress women and I think feminism should be about REFORMS to what the patriarchy has done, and not always be focused on what labels are given to us. I don’t care that a guy thinks I’m a man hater just because I believe that women are more oppressed than men and that’s why we need feminism. The only part of this article I agree with is the gender binary thing, where you state that some people do not associate their identities with “girl” and are left out. But other than that, I do not think it is right for you to feed into or even defend stereotypes that only work to oppress women further.


    1. I first want to state that this is my opinion (as I stated many times in my article) and I recognize that you have one as well. But there need should be a mutual respect for a conversation, not a shouting match in all caps.

      Maybe I was not clear enough. I agree that a divide is created through inequality but I also think a divide is created through telling “girls” (I use girl loosely — not in reference to a binary) about “girl power” in a way that implicitly states an inability to do something based on biology. For example, to tell a cisgender woman as a child “you can be the president of a fortune 500 company,” seems to be a result of a socialized attitude. An individual should know their potential and abilities through treatment and upbringing of their parents. I should have been clearer.

      My article is not trying to insinuate that feminism is discriminating. I don’t think you read the entire thing. At one point, I state “I want feminism to truthfully represented and shared among masses, but also I want individuals to take delight in declaring feminism as the source of their empowerment and love for others.”

      I understand that it is common for many to overlook intersections like you did but, it is essential to feminism to recognize that men are involved in the movement and “girl power” tends to not reflect their identity. Also, intersections like involvement in the LGBTQ+ community, individuals with disabilities, men of color and various intersections that I have not mentioned should be included in the feminist community due to their marginalization.

      Also, to ignore “feminist stereotypes” enables a continuing of backlash against feminist. I would not have mentioned “feminist stereotypes” unless they were something that is battled constantly. But I am confused about your reasoning: “So your talk about “feminism stereotypes” is honestly just offensive, that you yourself feed into the stereotypes that women are “man haters” and what not.” When I clearly state “girl power resembles a watered down, misogynist approved statement of feminism” and “I think of girl power as tool of mainstream media. It is a filler word for where feminism should be. It stratifies the women’s movement and placing a preference on the more impartial, moderate, politically neutral term.” I would like to point out that in order to liberate feminist of the “man hating and lesbian” stereotype that it should be talked about and not swept under the rug.

      Sidenote: I just finished reading bell hooks’ “Feminism is for Everybody” and which discusses tons of these point. As I have seen through your passionate comments, you would enjoy it as I did!

      I appreciate you comment and discussion. I will clarify any muddy or unclear points I have made.


  2. Easy test.

    1. Challenge patriarchy in society – claim ‘girl power’ – get dumped on by almost every one.

    2. Reinforce patriarchal norms in society – claim ‘girl power’ – profit…

    Not much more to be said on the empowerful notion of ‘girl power’.


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