Monday with Ms. Marvel: rise of Girl Boss feminism


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief

The female character in a movie who swears off dating in order to rise above the men in her field. The lady who acts like every other frat brother trope. The cliche of the woman in charge who is hard and mean.

The idea that in order to be a powerful and strong female, women need to give up their femininity. 

This is “girl boss feminism.”

The concept of Girl Boss feminism has sprung up fairly recently, probably around the mid to late 2000s, and it was the corporate response to modern feminist values. Somewhere along the way women started to realize their worth which could’ve been disastrous for industries that profit off of female insecurities, like those of makeup and fashion. 

So how did these industries respond? They created the Girl Boss narrative; women wearing makeup for themselves, wearing what they want when they want, not caring about the consequences of it. While this sounds great, the subliminal messages behind these advertisements were just as harmful as the previous narratives of wearing makeup for men, or to hide flaws. 

Because all of a sudden it wasn’t just “women wear makeup for themselves,” but rather “strong women wear makeup, and if you want to be a strong woman you should too.” It went from “women should stay at home to be with the kids,” to “this is the only way to be an independent woman.” 

These companies took the ideals of feminism and turned them into weapons to use against women, and this has bled into other places in our culture as well. 

The issue with girl boss feminism is that distracts from real intersectional feminism, and is exclusionary beyond belief. This so called feminism has been co-opted by straight, white, cisgender people who may not nessecarily believe in spreading equality to all women. 

Feminism is the belief that all people are equal and should be treated equally. The idea that women should be allowed to choose their own life decisions without stigma. The belief that a woman who stays at home to be a housewife is just as strong as a woman who goes to work. The belief that all women, including women of color and women in the LGBTQ+ community, deserve equal rights. 

When discussing feminism it is important to recognize nuance and complexity in the issues women face, because different women face different hardship. Feminism has been constantly underestimated, and grossly misunderstood by people who seek to diminish and silence female voices. Girl Boss feminism is just another way to trivialize the movement, and it is important to not fall into the trap that this narrative sets.