Why I am anti the #Girlboss Movement

#girlboss movement

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


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  • Reply
    Isabel McLeod
    April 13, 2017 at 7:54 am

    I both like and dislike the girlboss movement. I understand there is a need to promote women bosses and show that women can do these kind of things, give role models to young people and say “look you can do this too” but that last point is the one that gets me. I see so many “girl bosses” just talking about constantly hustling, always busy, always doing things, and not showing what a negative effect that does have on them. It’s all roses, which I’m sure the real boss life isn’t. It’s all a bit contrived for me, showing off all these amazing things you’re doing and trying to tell everyone else they should be busy all the time, while not giving themselves a break, and somehow carrying on like that with good mental health, yeah that’s not possible (well I don’t see how it could be).
    As someone who wants to work in creative industries it just leads to feeling guilty and feeling like I’m not going to do well, that’s i’m not good enough purely because I’m not constantly being productive and always working. It’s totally unhealthy, and results take time as well as hard work.

    The Quirky Queer

    • mm
      Anastasia Nicole
      April 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Exactly Isabel! I have seen way too many creatives constantly hustling to prove they are “bosses” to people on social media. That situation never ends well for anyone.

  • Reply
    Beth Berger
    April 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Yes to all of this but especially the first! The language we prescribe to certain ideas is SO. IMPORTANT. Bifurcating women into their own subsect of boss (and a cutesified version, no less!) is horrifying.

    Thanks for this post!

  • Reply
    Corinne & Kirsty
    April 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I had never thought about it from that angle. It is true that the use of the world girl is problematic coz it assumes your a child and not a grown up capable of making decisions. However, condemning the use can also have the reverse effect which is making anything related to girl negative. I know it is not ideal but it is just a beginning. ANd yes, titles should be gender neutral but our society is still sexist and it is still quite rare to have women at high positions so the use of the world girl emphasis that they are women who’ve accomplished something and that it is not impossible. Really good post! xx corinne

    • mm
      Anastasia Nicole
      April 13, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      I understand what you’re saying, Corinne. It’s not about condemning the word it’s about feeling empowered as a woman versus infantilizing adults. I also get your point about sexism but that’s why we should call women bosses just bosses and normalize it. Love how thoughtful your comment is btw!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Insightful post…you really do have a lot of feelings….I see understand your point too

  • Reply
    April 15, 2017 at 11:27 am

    You’re so right. I think what I hate about the girl boss movement is that it is so singular in its understanding of what feminism is – it makes people feel that the end all of the movement is to have a ridiculously high management corporate title, or that one has to climb and claw her way up to make something out of herself in the world. What if I wanted to be a housewife and mother to 4 children, does that mean that I failed my self and women all over the world? Our work do not define us. It’s the way we treat people and the impact we instill in others that form who we are. I’m glad that the girl boss movement empowers women, but it shouldn’t be so narrow in what it is promoting.

    • mm
      Anastasia Nicole
      April 16, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      (Slow clap) For me, feminism is about us being able to choose whatever it is we need to feel empowered and being respected for it. If you want to be a stay at home mom that’s great. If you want to be CEO, awesome. Just know both of those people are essential and worthy of equal respect.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Love this perspective! I’ve never really thought much on the term, but I enjoyed reading your opinion on it!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Ugh finally someone said it! Great article. I totally agree with women’s boss ability not being limited!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Definitely an interesting perspective. I literally finished the book yesterday. I do agree with you about the title. I honestly couldn’t see myself tagging social media or branding myself in anyway as a “girl boss”. This bills aren’t girl bills, they grown woman bills and I feel the need to brand myself accordingly.

    • mm
      Anastasia Nicole
      April 18, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      “These bills aren’t girl bills..” Say that again! What I wouldn’t give to go back to paying a $15 beeper bill every month instead of rent, car note, power, student loans and everything in between.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Ive been seeing this book at my jon (Barnes N Noble) for so long, in my promotions. Amd something always stopped me from REALLY trying to read it. Most of the assumptions I made by the title/picture/excerpts you mentioned here in this post.

    • mm
      Anastasia Nicole
      April 19, 2017 at 8:49 am

      It’s worth a read for sure and is very empowering but as a WOC who was doing the ebay comeup during the same time period I can say she benefited in areas we don’t.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Ya know until just now I never thought of it this way. You made some super valid points most that I think the following of this trend overlooks. I’ve used terms like girlpower, girlboss, blackgirlmagic on numerous occasions so this def shed a little light for me!

    • mm
      Anastasia Nicole
      April 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Totally. I grew up in the age of Girl Power so it wasn’t until recently that I started thinking about the fact that no matter how old a woman is we always call her a girl and what the societal implications of that is. Black Girl Magic is one I have to work with too.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2017 at 11:01 am

    When you break it down like this it makes a lot of sense! I never even thought of what “girlboss” actually stands for. You’ve opened my eyes to this alternative perspective. Thanks for sharing your feelings. xo

    Victoria │

  • Reply
    D. Sanders
    April 19, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    *round of applause*

    I couldn’t agree more with this post!

  • Reply
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