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Girlboss

In Girlboss, Sophia embodies the capitalist ethos to a T: steal, make your money and fuck everyone else who helped you along the way.

If you were looking for an inherently badass feminist show, Netflix’s Girlboss is definitely not it. The show is loosely based on the book written by Sophia Amoruso, who built fashion brand Nasty Gal after successfully launching her eBay store which sold carefully curated vintage finds.

The online retailer that most of us know, Nasty Gal, filed for bankruptcy November 2016 after Amoruso stepped down as CEO in 2015 following allegations that her company wasn’t as cool, chill or empowering as the brand marketed itself to be.

Girlboss definitely reflects the inner workings of a narcissistic, unreliable, thieving and selfish white woman who succeeds, thanks to her sheer will to prove those around her wrong. The lead character, Sophia Marlowe (Britt Robertson), is unlikeable in a way that isn’t even a “fuck you” to sexist standards that expect women to be nice and kind; she is just a piece of shit by any standard.  

What was clear from the first episode is that Sophia doesn’t care about anyone but herself, and she uses people as props to either distract her or further her own goals. Right when I was thinking about what an asshole she was — after having stolen her boss’ sandwich and then picking a fight after being called out — Sophia says to herself, “why am I such an asshole?” Girl, I don’t know. I was wondering the same thing.

Girlboss is an excellent example of how white women get away with shit all the time. During the show, Sophia:

  • Steals a tuna sandwich and get defensive when she’s called out for it
  • Steals a carpet
  • Steals a book
  • Steals wine
  • Throws multiple temper tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants
  • Storms out on her father when he doesn’t feel comfortable co-signing on a lease
  • Refuses to pay her best friend, who put in hours of free labor to help establish Nasty Gal
  • Gets angry at her boyfriend when he does his job
  • Berates the one black character in the show for being a business-school student

I couldn’t help but think that when black people or non-black people of color steal, the outcome isn’t a multi-million dollar company, book deals and awards.

Sophia embodies the capitalist ethos to a T: steal, make your money and fuck everyone else who helped you along the way. The only redeeming parts of the show were the people around her, but even they weren’t fleshed out enough beyond their supporting roles orbiting the black hole that is Sophia Marlowe.

I’m not going to lie. This was a tough watch and I only did it for the sake of writing this piece. My hope is that season one of Girlboss is the only season, because I don’t think I could watch another minute of it.

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Lara Witt (she/they) is an award-winning feminist writer who primarily writes about feminism, racism, pop-culture, mental health, and politics. Witt received her BA in Journalism from Temple University and interned for Philadelphia CityPaper’s arts and entertainment section and the Philadelphia Daily News covering local news, court stories, and crime. Following her graduation, she became increasingly committed to writing about gender, race, and queer identity by using Black and brown feminist theory to analyze current news and politics. Witt freelanced for national and local publications, which led to her working with Wear Your Voice Magazine eventually becoming their EIC and rebranding the site to focus primarily on using the analytical framework of Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality. Video Player is loading. Witt’s goal is to provide platforms for marginalized voices with a focus on having other Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) writers tell their own stories and explore their own narratives. Witt has spoken at local Philadelphia events, such as the March to End Rape Culture (2017) and curated a yearly series of events called The Electric Lady Series. These events highlight women of color in Philadelphia by exploring gender, rape culture, entrepreneurship, art, self-care, sex, and culture.

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