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  • Writer's pictureAnnie-Mai Hodge

Girl Boss Feminism is a Problem: Here's Why

Back in 2014, an entrepreneur named Sophia Amoruso, Founder of Nasty Gal and GirlBoss Media, coined and popularised the term "girl boss", even releasing a book under the same name.

However, girl boss ≠ feminism.

Amoruso has been accused of *many* un-feminist crimes such as racial discrimination, abusive management and firing pregnant employees.

What's Wrong With Being a Girl Boss?

There's issue with this term because girl boss is a one-size-fits-all type scenario, and it is often watered down so that it's considered to be more marketable and when it comes to intersectional empowerment - it's not productive at all.

#GirlBoss Synonyms: SHE-EO, Momtrepreneur, Boss Babe, Female Hustler (by the way, we are just CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners)

When there is a requirement for a gendered qualifier, it acts as a clear distinction between achievements, and perpetuates the idea and assumption of gender stereotypes.

And terms like "girl boss" and "boss babe" continues to perpetuate the idea and assumption of gender stereotypes. In turn, such attempts to claim or reach the same power as our male counterparts backfire.

"While 'girl boss' immediately draws attention to the feminine, it also infantilises the role of a female as a boss" - Magdalena Zawisza.

The Girl Boss Lifestyle is Toxic, and It Isn't Intersectional

The "girl boss" lifestyle that is promoted as a byproduct of feminism is toxic. Not only is this type of feminism promoted by the privileged, the lifestyle is simply not attainable for the majority of people.

Girl bosses encourage that you do anything to get to the top, work all hours of the day, take on side hustles and make you feel as though the "hustle" and "grind" should never stop.

Of course, it's important to note that people like this exist everywhere and it isn't unique to women. But the girl boss doesn't try to break or change the system, and ultimately does not change the systematic oppression women face around the world by simply existing.

The girl boss encourages and tells women of privilege that we all have the same 24 hours in a day (cough, cough Molly-Mae) and doesn't deal with complex issues such as race, disability, gender parity, dangerous working conditions, religion or sexual harassment.

Additionally, the girl boss perpetuates the idea that you can work all hours of the day, take on these side hustles and do whatever it takes to get to the top all while trying to manage a home, general life, children and education.

Girl boss feminism comes from a place of privilege and pretty much exclusively benefits privileged people. It does not seek to dismantle the patriarchal systems but instead aims to achieve the same level of power, and focuses on individual success.

In turn, this is supposed to encourage people to achieve the same success but if the systems in place are not dismantled, then this type of feminism fundamentally ignores the structures of oppression and intersectionality.

How to Make Sure Your Feminism Is Intersectional

"Intersectionality is a metaphor for understanding the ways that multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and create obstacles that often are not understood among conventional ways of thinking." - The Scottish Government

Ultimately, we have to ensure that we are building an equal future for ALL women - not individuals and use our voices to lift other people's voices who are less likely to be heard. Here are some small things you can do to be more intersectional:

  • Listen and learn from diverse groups

  • Amplify voices of those less likely to be heard

  • Be prepared to make mistakes and listen to criticism

  • Open the doors for other women and get them a seat at the table

  • Understand that your experiment isn't the same for someone else

  • Stand in solidarity, issues and crises are not a 'them' problem - speak out against inequalities, power structures and crises

  • Educate and learn, always

  • Share ideas, resources and tools

Together over a long period of time (because it won't be quick) we can dismantle the patricharcal and oppressive systems in place and build an equal society.

Together we can.

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