Is “mother” the repackaged “girlboss”?

TomasinoWeb
4 min readMay 23, 2023

By Larraine V. Castillo

(Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb)

Count it on the internet to constantly spin up terminologies that would sound ridiculous when spoken out loud. Words like “stan,” “it’s giving (word),” and “stop the car” have all made it into our online vocabularies and are used to describe all kinds of scenarios, from the everyday inconveniences of life to hyping up random strangers on the internet. It is yet another concoction by Gen Z in the process of making the weirdest words universal on the internet.

All throughout the month of May, we now have more than just our birth givers to celebrate. Because of yet another invented word we have come to use, we can look at the different female figures we deem not as our mother or the mother, but simply… “Mother.”

How did “Mother” start to become widely used? In the era of total female admiration, the world is always looking for ways to show appreciation for all kinds of female figures. K-pop idols, movie actresses, singers, you name it. From the desire to basically worship women came a whole new term that internet users can’t just stop uttering. Celebrity fangirling, a good play from a female athlete, or tear-jerking performances would warrant a comment or reply section spammed with “Mother.”

(Photo by UAAP Media Bureau)

What exactly does this mean in the minds of social media users? Before we get into some kind of linguistical analysis I am not qualified for, at its core, we can see that it acts as both an adjective and a verb as seen in its constant presence in the praise of female icons. “Mother is mothering” and “She is mother!” are definitely not strange statements to witness on your feed every once in a while.

We can cringe, we can dismiss it as silly, but at the very least, we can recognize the word as one of the fruits of feminism in a generation where women are respected, celebrated, and empowered more than ever before. While “Mother” is not exactly going to end up in our email send-offs or anything of the like anytime soon, we can embrace and acknowledge it for what it is. If you avert your eyes to the neglect of correct usage of the parts of speech, “Mother” is nothing but confirmation that women deserve to be loved and appreciated no matter what they have or have not done.

“Fathered” or “daddy” is not as ubiquitous. The difference is that the definition is caged only to a term of affection for a male significant other. Unless the world wants to look like it underwent a christening, “Fathered” isn’t going to be a popular saying as it just doesn’t have the same impact. With the current culture that already favors men, we should let women have this one.

But there was already a term for complimenting women before “Mother” went viral. “Girlboss” was what usually came out of people’s mouths when a woman showed some exemplary skills. A quick Google search would bring you to the Urban Dictionary definition of “girlboss,” which is “a woman who is self-made, running their own business, and acting as their own boss.” In essence, a “girlboss” is someone who takes her life into her own hands.

Is “mother” the repackaged “girlboss”? While “girlboss” is used to describe a woman who has accomplished a great feat, a woman who so much breathes would be bombarded with “mother” comments. We cheer for women when they win awards and stand their ground against men, but we can also applaud them when they do something as mundane as raising their children and being a beacon of light at home. Either way, do we really need a big reason to applaud women when living in a patriarchal society is already a feat in itself?

(Photo by Leni Robredo/Facebook)

Who’s to say we can’t consider the usage of “mother” as an epitome of girl power? We can learn to start appreciating women for what they are, not just what they can do. Being a “girlboss” will always be a state of mind to aim for, but there are still struggles women worldwide have to deal with. Achieving this is harder for some more than others, with workplace discrimination, domestic violence, and sexism still very much rampant all over the world. It doesn’t hurt to adopt a “mother” mindset, if you can call it that, because no matter how many stones are thrown at us, we can rest easy knowing our strength lies in the mere fact that we are women.

We can either shake our heads and roll our eyes, or derive a unique kind of empowerment and girl power from this term. As generations go by, we can only hope to see this outright value and regard for the women of the world grow higher and higher as it is beyond doubt that every woman at heart is undeniably — mother.

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TomasinoWeb

The Premier Digital Media Organization of the University of Santo Tomas