The Power and Meaning of Words; Girl Power and Moxie Relevance

by Jennifer Bab on July 04, 2019

As my first Moxie Blog, I thought it made sense to address the power of words, the meaning of words and why Moxie Chic decided to adopt the word Moxie for its brand.


Positive words and self-attribution have powerful effects on people, in particular girls/women. A psychologist named Emmet Velton published a seminal paper in 1968 finding that people who read positive, self-referent statements, actually felt more positive!  Velton’s work was ground-breaking.  

Since Velton, other psychologists have tested these findings and expanded on them. In 1980, Karen Haye conducted Happiness Increase Experiments.  Her results showed that after two weeks of reciting positive affirmations for ten minutes each morning, people became TWENTY FIVE PERCENT happier! 

Words can and do create a self-fulfilling prophecy for all of us.  

THINKING a certain way leads to FEELING that way -- and ultimately, ACTING in kind. Suggestions of empowerment and confidence will ultimately lead to empowerment and confidence. 

So with this in mind, let’s understand what WORDS are typically used to describe GIRLS.


It is all too easy to think of negative terms exclusively reserved for girls, such as:  airhead, frigid, ditzy and dumpy (to name a few of the more mild insults). Beyond that, so many offensive words are the first that come to mind when thinking of powerful women in particular (but notably never men): bitchy, bossy, pushy, shrill.  And what about those nasty terms targeting the woman who expresses herself:  high maintenance, forward, hormonal, hysterical, irrational.  What’s up with that?! 

If only “ballbuster” referred to Cinderella crashing the party. But it doesn’t. . . Even worse, I referenced a princess -- and we all know that’s another no, no when building up female strength and confidence. I think you get the point. There is really no escaping these negative stereotypes that are confirmed and affirmed in everyday language used to describe girls and women.

So, that got me thinking . . . what are positive words associated with girls?  That proved somewhat challenging. It’s really no wonder why so many girls suffer from an inferiority complex.

I came across an article “13 awesome words for women you need to start using right now” by Laura I. Miller.  Though, I am not sure I agree with her conclusion. In fact, I’m quite sure I don’t. I certainly don’t want to be thought of as a Belladonna (“fair lady” or a deadly plant aka a venomous woman) or Termagant (a trouble-making woman prone to violence).  
There must be some word out there to define strong women in a positive way (bitch and belladonna really don’t hit the mark).

This is when my attention turned to the word MOXIE. I love this word -- it’s positive, powerful and succinct; it conjures up so many empowering traits with its simple five letters. I view it as the ultimate compliment. And taking that one step further, I started thinking -- why can’t girls own that term?!  And then I thought -- AHA - THEY CAN and THEY SHOULD.



If we were to put Velton’s findings to work for girls in particular -- girls should adopt the positive and powerful term MOXIE -- and own it. The hope is that if girls associate themselves with that term and those traits that it embodies, then girls will believe they possess moxie and they will act with moxie. And if society as a whole could replace those misogynistic terms (such as pushiness or worse) with the term “moxie” to describe the powerful, outspoken girl -- now wouldn’t that be a coup. Pipedream? -- maybe. Is it the fix for  discrimination and injustice experienced by women? No. But we have to start somewhere. And starting here would turn victims into victors -- in one word.  MOXIE.


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published