The ‘Girl Boss’ Era Looked Different for Black Women

Many people define a “girl boss” in a myriad of ways, but what did she look like? What image comes to mind? In the eight years since Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso first coined the phrase with her New York Times best-selling manifesto, the girl bosses that society most elevated fit a singular mold: They were white. 

In that time period—from 2014 to 2019—women-owned businesses increased by 21% to a total of nearly 13 million. Calls to support these entrepreneurs were more vocal than ever before, and a movement that included countless conferences, podcast, newsletters, and blogs all devoted to the concept of being a girl boss was born. The framework promoted the concept of feminist capitalism, with merchandise and events selling women on the idea that they too could be a boss, own their own destiny, and hone into their power. (There’s an episode of Shrill that captures this well.)


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