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Girlboss May Be Over, But The Woman Founder Is Here To Stay


The writer, Leigh Stein, recently published a piece titled, "The End of the Girlboss Is Here." She follows this headline with the statement, "The girlboss didn't change the system; she thrived within it. Now that system is cracking, and so is this icon of millennial hustle." 

Her article name drops now infamous "girlbosses" who have allegedly fallen from grace. Her gripe includes the notion that, "The girlboss was the millennial embodiment of unapologetic ambition. Her greatest pleasure was success; being underestimated only motivated her to trounce her doubters. The rise and fall of the girlboss is about how comfortable we've become mixing capitalism with social justice."

Several of the founders she named were accused of toxic work cultures, and at the same time, their brand's outer appearance shared another story. They rightly should be called out for their hypocritical behavior toward employees. Leigh Stein is a great writer, and it’s a powerful piece, but the idea of applying one label to every woman boss or applying labels at all is a dangerous one. Also, where are the women bosses in this piece who live up to the title CEO? If she is going to speak about White women founders and what not to do, where are their White male counterparts who have failed as leaders, creating cut-throat environments or no social impact? Where are the Black women founders’ perspectives? The answer is: they were not included. 

Stein states, "An obvious solution to men abusing their power in the workplace was to put more women in charge. But the women who leaned into their ambition and founded their own companies were not necessarily any more virtuous, ethical, or respectful than their male counterparts." Yet, she names none of them.

Instead, Stein lumped together every woman who is hustling to be successful and paints a negative picture of ambition. What about the millions of women trying to build a company, uphold feminist and diverse values, and still sell something? Many of the founders she speaks of never claimed to be the faces of feminism or the voice of a generation. Those labels were applied to them. Yet, by default, they now represent all of us.