Hashtag Girl Boss spends most of her time in front of a computer. She has a dangerous hunch in her shoulders, a crick in her neck, and a sharp sting has been flaring in her wrist.
Her Instagram tells a different story.
On social media she’s a café goddess. She’s a beach babe. She’s a wellness enthusiast. Her diet consists of perfectly ‘gram-able smoothies and salads. The only meal she doesn’t document is her midnight stash of sugar-filled munchies. Because Girl Bosses aren’t supposed to nurse unhealthy relationships with food, with diet culture, with their bodies. Girl Bosses are supposed to possess a faux-French laissez-faire attitude towards their body image. They have an easy lifestyle approach. They don’t stuff their faces in the dark. They don’t cry into their pillow at night.
Hashtag Girl Boss does yoga. Maybe Cross Fit. She wears leggings – the expensive kind. And she’d never be seen without her bedazzled, branded water bottle.
Her hair, whether blonde or black, short or long, is expensive too. The style doesn’t matter, all that matters is the price tag. Being a Girl Boss is about investing in yourself. It’s about putting in the work so she’s free on the day. In fact, her freedom is entirely contingent on this prior effort. Hashtag Girl Boss isn’t free to go to the beach in between leg waxes. She schedules her social life around her shampoo cycle. Maybe she gets eyelash extensions, maybe she gets Shellac. All of this started out fun but now, as she finds newer, deeper ways to invest in herself, it’s beginning to feel like a boulder chained to her ankle.
Sometimes Hashtag Girl Boss grows weary of all this prep. Sometimes she wishes she could wear shorts between leg waxes. Go out to eat with nothing on her face. Throw on a singlet without worrying about her ‘underarm cellulite’.
And she’s starting to wish her skincare routine could go back to washing and moisturising – at this point it’s a pseudo-spiritual, 20-minute process, aimed at scrubbing the life right out of her pores.
Sometimes she thinks back to her childhood. How she played bullrush and tiggy until she was breathless. How she ate what was packed into her lunchbox. How she has so few photos of the whole experience – how she’s reliant on her fuzzy, snapshot memory.
Back then, she ate birthday cake by the gob-full. She tucked into fairy-bread whenever she opportunity arose, she didn’t know what carbs were. Maybe she was a Tomboy, but even if she was a ‘girly-girl’, she was girly in a way that was fun. She liked glittery skirts and trying on her mum’s lipstick. She wore long beads from the two dollar shop and she strutted about the living room like a fashion model. When she looks at fashion models today, rake-thin and expression-free, she wonders what happened.
Maybe she grows cynical of the ‘empowerment’ she’s been force-fed by white women in cream blazers. She certainly grows cynical of the price-tag that accompanies it.
Maybe she takes a social media break. Maybe she shows herself some kindness with her diet. Maybe she lets her body hair outstay its usual welcome.
Maybe she throws away all the cream-blazer ‘empowerment’ guides she’s been collecting like trophies.
Maybe she actually starts to feel empowered.Support Villainesse