May 18, 2021

Do you have a word shit list?

Image text: What words or phrases are on your shit list?Do you have a Word Shit List? These are the marketing buzzwords, internet clichés, and pop-culture-isms that are: played out, culturally appropriative, sexist, misrepresentative, or just plain annoying. It’s a list of language you’d like to exclude from your brand, for whatever reason. (See also: “I don’t want to” = a valid reason.)

There’s an element of personal preference here for sure—for example, my list includes super bro-marketing terms like “10x-ing” things, because I personally find that kind of talk extremely eye-roll inducing, AND—and this is important—it’s 👏🏼 not 👏🏼 what 👏🏼 my 👏🏼 readers 👏🏼 want 👏🏼 to 👏🏼 hear.

So, this isn’t about shitting on things just for the sake of it (although that kind of thing can be fun). It’s about who you are, and who you want to be, in your business.

I always make a Word Shit List for my clients, because it helps establish their voice and set parameters for what we do and don’t say inside their brands. Sometimes, a word will make the List because it has an undesirable connotation—like the word “coach” (for some people). Other times, *I* put words on the List, like ‘ninja’ or ‘tribe’, because they’re culturally insensitive and it’s my recommendation to stop using them.

In short, LANGUAGE MATTERS. Just ask Amanda Montell, whose book Cultish comes out this summer! (👈🏻 shameless / non sequitur plug for an author & sociolinguist I like)

Here are a few gems from my personal Shit List. What’s on yours??

  • serial entrepreneur
  • anything about rosé and/or implying that all women entrepreneurs are lushes
  • girlboss and all its attendant nonsense

Seriously. Add yours in the comments. Nothing is off limits! And feel free to dispute mine. Let’s. Get. Into. It.

Samantha Pollack

About Sam

Samantha Pollack is a Copywriter & Creative Director who works with ethically minded, mission driven businesses who are actively trying to reshape our culture (and possibly tear down the patriarchy). She’s also the founder of The Highly Sensitive Business Owner, a 12-week online program that helps HSPs & neurodivergent business owners create healthier, more sustainable systems in their work.

Sam also writes about feminism, privilege, pop culture, entrepreneurship, the creative process, and whatever else is on her mind. She currently lives in Asheville, NC.

Emails for cult thought leaders.

(Personality included.)

Want to learn how to craft emails that inspire action and engagement WITHOUT the “tried and true” (cough: patriarchal) norms we’ve all been taught?

I’m doing it, and I can show you how to do it, too.

(But sometimes, I also like to write about the books I’m reading, or the creative process, or the entrepreneurial experience, or why I hate Steve Jobs, or how I met my BFF. I’ll send you emails like that, too.)

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*Just kidding. It’s only an email list.

Interested in working together?