I know. I’m a traitor to my generation. On the one hand, I have been a Nasty Gal fan since it was an eBay shop my internet girls in NYC swore by. I’ve looked up to Sophia Amoruso for years, as the one girl who turned what we were all doing in the early 2000’s into an empire. That said, I have had very complex feels about the #Girlboss movement for years. Now that #Girlboss the series is coming to Netflix this month, there’s no time like the present to get down to the root of my feelings. Trust me, I have a lot of feelings.
The language is problematic.
To paraphrase Blossom, if you are over 18, pay your own bills, and are generally responsible for yourself, you are not a girl. Say it with me now, I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that means? You are a grown ass woman. Not a girl, a woman. Furthermore, if you run shit, you aren’t a #Girlboss you’re just a boss. HRC is a boss. Oprah is a boss. Sophia Amoruso is a boss. Hell, even 19 year-old Kylie Jenner is a boss. Until we start referring to men like Mark Zuckerberg as #boybosses, I’d prefer it if we just call women on run shit, bossy. You know, like Kelis.
It makes it look easy.
Starting and maintaining a successful business is not easy, nor is it for everyone. Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you doing what they do is hard, especially at the beginning. Hell, you can ask Sophia Amoruso. In 2015, she stepped down as CEO at Nasty Gal. In 2016, she resigned as executive chairwoman, divorced her husband, and watched Nasty Gal file Chapter 11. I’m not saying she’s a failure, what I’m saying is success is a lot more than being a multi-millionaire by 30.
Speaking of which, being a multi-millionaire by age 30 is the exception not the rule. Stop, reread that and let it sink it. The average age of a millionaire in the US is 62, that’s like my dad’s age. Millionaires under the age of 38 make up 1% of the million + crowd. Not 1% of the population, 1% of the population of people who are millionaires. That means, most of the women we look up to now were probably not making millions in their 20s. In fact, they were probably struggling just like you are and like everyone else I know was.
There’s more than one way to be a #Girlboss.
We all know Oprah is a boss. So is RBG, Malala, and your friend who is a stay at home mom juggling budgets, household duties and her toddlers. The #Girlboss movement, much like the feminist movement, could stand to remember that the world needs bosses, entrepreneurs, employees, mothers, and civil servants equally. Again, iff you run shit, you’re a boss. Whether it’s the PTA, your department, your cheerleading squad, or your country, you’re bossy and you are worthy of a high five and a glass of rosé.
It shifts the focus from the work to the busy-ness.
Being busy is an epidemic that is ruining friendships, killing relationships before they start and leaving us all stressed and a mess. Why? Because we all want to look like bosses. yes, successful entrepreneurs are hella busy but they aren’t focused on their busyness. In fact, every successful entrepreneur I know — and I know Forbes 30 Under 30, SXSW speaking, CNN featured level business owners–believes in living a balanced life. They take vacations with friends and family. They unplug and enjoy life when they can. They understand that money is a means to an end not an end within itself. People faking the funk, like 99.9% of the people on social, are busy being busy to fit a fake mold.
As a born and bred feminist, I get that the #Girlboss movement is more than just a hashtag and a show. It’s about empowering and celebrating young women who aren’t afraid to blaze their own trails no matter where it takes them. I have also seen first hand how this drive to be an overnight success by 25 can push young women to emotional and mental breakdowns before they graduate college. Instead of spending their 20s learning who they are, they are worried about having it all before they even have it. That’s a no bueno. It’s also the opposite of what Sophia Amoruso did in her 20s. But don’t take my word for it, read the book or watch the show. I know I will, feelings aside I can’t let this pop culture moment pass me by.
Photo: Marie Claire