︎︎︎episode 19

Tragic Trends Girlboss Bonus Episode: The Merch Table - Micro Trends, Schadenfreude, Swear Words, Ironic Tees

Dec 8th, 2020

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Amanda and Kim chit chat about Amanda’s husband Dustin getting back into making hats. You can find his work here @industryandagriculture>>   

As a special request, Kim explores the collapse of the Manrepeller empire and the ramifications to the fashion community.

Girlboss, Interrupted 


Schadenfreude ︎

“pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.”

A listener reached out to ask why “we” as in “us women” derive pleasure in seeing the collapse of girl bosses.

Amanda unpacks the concept of Schadenfreude and why we find so much pleasure at the downfall of these girlbosses and how envy as well as justice impacts our thought patterns.


Envy is the most common basic personality trait shaping human behaviour -- and is found among almost one-third of the human population The study on human behaviour found that 90 per cent of the human population can be divided into four main basic personality traits -- optimistic, pessimistic, trusting and envious….and envious was the biggest group among the studied participants...at 30%


2017 article from Buzzfeed called Feminist Hypocrisy Is The New Trend In Startup Narratives

As one employee told Jezebel in June 2015: "I want the young women who are applying to Nasty Gal thinking it will be their dream job to know the truth behind the company’s external image of glitz and glamour. I saw too many incredibly hard working, ambitious, and eager people lose so much self confidence, self worth and motivation, including myself. And I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”


Expectations toward women can be higher when in reality these female founders were just out for themselves.

“In the end, it's worth asking why we're so ready to lionize anyone — man, woman, or otherwise — just because they say all the right things. Certainly the stories about the hypocrisies of women like Amoruso, Agrawal, and Huffington feel even more deliciously ironic because of their founders' messaging. But the basic reason they treat employees badly, and the excuse they use when they're called out, is that they, like most business owners, want to be successful — that is, make money.

Let 2020 Be The Year We Get Rid Of Girlboss Culture For Good>> - refinery 29 article from Vicky Spratt Jan 2020  “'Girlboss' is a sexist Trojan horse” - and arguably a Trojan horse of toxic hustle culture & commodified feminism.

Girboss goes on a shopping spree ︎︎︎︎

The Future is Female (Commercialization)

Kim explores the trend of the Future is Female slogan and how that evolved as a feminist mantra - bringing in a wave of feminist fashion statement tees. While Fourth-wave Feminism was really the first of its kind to leverage social media - it can be argued that the accessibility to easy supply chain developments made this type of feminism easily commodifiable and became a superficial fashion trend with the fashion industry grabbing on and using the trend to boost sales.


“Badass Bossy Boss Babe Brunchy Brunch Bitch Club”

In an attempt to reclaim Babe and Bitch and give the air an edge - “Badass” womens stuff gained popularity in 2014 coinciding to the 2013 release of You are a badass self-help books.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life>>>

This also opened the doors for other extreme left products like mugs with “men’s tears” printed on them.

Have any pressing queries for feminists? May we recommend asking the group over at the subreddit: r/AskFeminists>>?

Mental Health Mumbo Jumbo

The micro trend of mental health and self care was sort of a subgenera of girlboss - with companies and founders like Ban.do being founded or finding ground with their customer base around these issues - sometimes to a tone deaf degree.

The irony is not lost on any of the employees of these established retailers who’s mental health suffered at the hands of the founders as well.

Amanda recommends everyone read this book --Self Care by Leigh Stein

Self Care: A Novel>>>

Gig Garbage

A b-side of this Girlboss merch comes in the form of Hustle crap. TGIM (thank goodness it’s Monday), Hustle Harder, Rise and Grind, Tired and Proud….mantras to keep pushing the millennial to work them to the bone.

Icons & Tits

Another microtrend was the trend of commercializing Icons like RGB, Golden Girls, Dolly, Hillary and Bey. With the offshoot of commodifying the female body itself - uteruses, boobs, vaginas, butts in every product imaginable.

Millenials Love Irony

The irony of feminist tees being made by underpaid women in sweatshops or disposable plastic tchotchkes that are ultimately terrible for the environment is not lost on us.

Feminists tees powered a lot of engines - some small brands to fuel growth and some fast fashion and fashion houses to follow the trend of the feminist slogan tees. it’s a good reminder that a progressive slogan doesn’t necessarily make something progressive by osmosis.>>

The image above is from : 


“Blood Mountain” is a sculptural installation featuring a 3 meter high mound of red clothing and apparel. Upon closer inspection t-shirts with feminist slogans like “Girl Power” and “The Future Is Female” can be seen poking through the debris. Fashion items, once hung in pristine department stores, now presented like a giant pile of landfill. Uncannily, this imposing red mass is being exhibited in a former garment factory warehouse, now Grau Projekt, in Melbourne, Australia.

“Blood Mountain” was created in response to the fast fashion industry piggybacking on the feminist movement by way of feminist slogan Ts. >>

Road to Recovery

  • How do we avoid history repeating itself? Especially in other categories of industry like politics?
  • Age of accountability: On June 22, in an article on Medium.com, writer Leigh Stein proclaimed “The End of Girlboss Is Here.” -  “The girlboss didn’t change the system; she thrived within it. Now that system is cracking, and so is this icon of millennial hustle.” - systematic changes are the only solution which was the turning point this summer with the Black Lives protests and ability for the individual to keep companies and people accountable.
  • New Wave of Female founders have the opportunity to make a difference . In this first episode we talked about how investors looked for a specific type of founder - one with a huge following and alpha personality. We can only hope that these investors change the way they invest: Don’t Give Money to Assholes and that they practice their own version of conscious consumerism or investor-ism. Don’t Invest in Assholes more like it.
  • Role Models - the need for good role models is more important than ever!