Hello lovelies, I’ve been meaning to write my thoughts on Girlboss for a while but have only just gotten around to it. I’m sure you have all already seen Netflix’s Girlboss but in case you haven’t, it’s a Netflix Original based on Sophia Amaruso’s book ‘#Girlboss’, and is a loose interpretation of how she created the clothing brand Nastygal. It has come under fire and heavy criticism mainly from feminists and I’m here to tell you why everyone is so wrong about Girlboss.
On a side note, I should mention that the show is set in the early 2000’s and it has a gorgeous nostalgic vibe to it. That being said, we should preface that people’s reactions to the outdated language, ideas and opinions seem to fail to remember when the film was set. On with it…
The main fault people pick with Girlboss is that it had potential to be something else. People wanted a realistic female protagonist who founds her company to demonstrate that women are just as business-minded as men. People have complained about Sophia because she is unlikeable and, seemingly, a hyper-hormonal depiction of the female boss. Here’s why people are wrong.
I have, for the longest time, craved to see a character just like Sophia. In every single film or series I’ve watched, the female characters have either been a sex role, a motherly role or a hyper-feminine role. I wanted to see a female character that was bad-mouthed, boisterous and real- a character that gets angry when she’s frustrated because women get angry too! I wanted to see a character that used her wit and quick thinking to get her own way, instead of her female charm. That’s exactly what I found in Girlboss and in Sophia and I’ll keep her close to my thoughts for a long time for that reason.
The feminist criticism of Girlboss comes from this fact that a lot of people find Sophia an unlikeable character. She’s headstrong and aggressive and, at times, manipulative. She bypasses people’s feelings in a selfish manner to get what she wants and people wanted something different. The way I see it is this: every woman is different. I find Sophia more human than any other female character I have ever come across. Secondly, it’s about being a boss. Typically, bosses are suited to their role because they have a different set of skills and work attitude to others. They are headstrong, they are aggressive, they do care more about business than feelings and they do what has to be done. The biggest comeback I have to the feminist criticism of Girlboss? The fact that these traits are not gender-specific, in the way that seemingly feminist viewers are clearly forgetting. Sophia is not an unlikeable woman she is an unlikeable person. Sophia’s character traits are not there to embarrass you as a woman. A boss is a boss whether male or female and that’s exactly what Sophia is.
I’ll go one step further: most male characters who are an aggressive, business-first, attractive boss are praised and adored for the same reasons people are dismissing and rejecting Sophia. Most male boss characters are also selfish and manipulative and they’re considered sexy. So, the reason why everyone is wrong about Girlboss is because, at the heart of their seemingly feminist critique, is a gender-normative and anti-feminist attitude and social conditioned assumption that she should be ‘feminine’, assuming her gender creates an obligation to be a different way to who she is. She is just a boss. Forget the ‘she’.
On another note, this series also tackles ageism and I love it for that. Sophia is told by every adult that she doesn’t know what she’s doing, that she’s being naive and, because she’s young, she is underestimated at everything she does. It really sits with me because millienials are all viewed that way in the general media and yet, I see it differently. The people I know are founding their own businesses, turning their creative abilities into financial stability and are using the latest technology to create a job market that is entirely new and never before seen. I’ve never been prouder to be a millennial, especially one, like Sophia, that left her first and only job behind to become her own boss.
Rewatch Girlboss and see it for what it is. A headstrong woman just taking an opportunity to make money and founding a business on it. Maybe you’ll finish the series inspired this time around.