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Here's why the new Netflix show Girlboss probably isn't as feminist as it wants to be

The series, based on the bestselling memoir of the same name, debuts tomorrow.

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Ain't no shame in this game.

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OVER THE PAST few years, many professional women have taken to punctuating their tweets with the hashtag #girlboss.

If you scan through the hashtag, you will find countless tweets from female entrepreneurs, leaders and creatives, usually waxing lyrical about the proverbial hustle, offering some #MondayMotivation or reminding you that you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé.

The term ‘girlboss’ was coined by entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso. Amoruso founded the clothing line Nasty Gal in 2006 and was once estimated by Forbes to be worth over $280 million. (The company filed for bankruptcy last year.)

As well-known as she is for her clothing line, she is arguably better known for her memoir #Girlboss, a book that breezily recalls her journey from humble eBay seller to multimillionaire and aims to offer sage advice for other fledgling ‘girlbosses’.

Amoruso has since started a podcast entitled Girlboss Radio in which she chats to other successful women and helped turn Girlboss into a global movement. The website claims to “enable women to connect across social, digital and experiential platforms” to share knowledge about “career, entrepreneurship, personal finance, relationships and more”.

Amoruso’s bestselling book has now been adapted for television by Netflix with thirteen episodes dropping first thing tomorrow morning.

Here’s what you need to know.

Okay, so what’s the television show about?


Per Netflix:

The series centres on Amoruso (Britt Robertson), who began selling vintage clothes on eBay and, by the age of 27, had built the multi-million dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal.

The trailer features our lovely lead wearing nice clothes, withdrawing lots of money from ATMs, and having a meltdown courtesy of eBay. All in a day’s work, you see.

The show is written by Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect, 30 Rock) and produced by Charlize Theron. Decent credentials so far.

What are the critics saying?

Let’s just say… it’s mixed. (It currently has a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.)

But if you’re looking for a frothy, escapist series, you’ll probably be reasonably entertained.

As Entertainment Weekly said:

Given the competition, Girlboss isn’t necessarily a must-watch TV show. However, if you do find yourself with a free weekend, some extra patience, and a need for a low commitment show,  you could do much worse than Girlboss.

So is it the feminist show of our dreams?

Mmm, probably not.

For one thing, many people find the term #girlboss a little reductive. After all, can you imagine any self-respecting man in a position of authority earnestly referring to himself as a #boyboss?

Additionally, Nasty Gal, the business featured in the show, has been heavily criticised by past employees. In 2015, a group of women filed a suit against the company after alleging they were let go for getting pregnant. Another employee sued the company after she was allegedly demoted and fired following heart transplant surgery.

Not a great look for a self-proclaimed feminist, eh?

Oh dear. Can I still enjoy the show?


Come for the clothes and glamorous escapades, but don’t expect any hard-hitting feminist wisdom.

Tweet by @Sally May Lewis ✨ Source: Sally May Lewis ✨/Twitter

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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