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False Feminism In My Community

Rochester. Heart of the 585 and my hometown in Western New York.  Love it, click prescription say what you want about it, find sales but Rochester has a place deep in my heart.

That being said, it’s come to my attention recently that there’s been a surge in the phenomenon of being a “girl boss.” Stemming from the term coined by Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss, it’s gained some popularity along with her lifestyle brand and Netflix show of the same name. The Rochester community in particular has especially taken a liking to similar phrases, and in doing so, have shown us exactly how whitewashed and classist these terms can really be when implicated into the real world.

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Aside from the fact that gender based nouns completely defeat the purpose of their original intent, phrases like these are bothersome and quite frankly annoying, in that it proposes that in order to be any kind of boss, it needs to be hashtag girl boss in order to be considered successful, which is extremely uninspiring and discouraging. We are holding ourselves back as a society if we continue to ignore the actual problems faced by women today, in the workplace, such as tremendous wage inequality (which isn’t 70 cents on the dollar if you’re a woman of color, it’s even worse), sexual harassment and assault, paid family leave, and continue to promote archaic ideas that should have been old news a long time ago like “Girls can be bosses too!” Without working on the real problems to back it up. It seems that the “girl boss trend” is simply a trend which will eventually die out if it isn’t immediately transformed into something actually meaningful and productive. Having a perfect Instagram feed isn’t the pressing issue of our time that REAL girl bosses and bosses alike are thinking about. The emphasis on social responsibility within the girl boss crowd is extremely lacking and diminutive.

Roc Girl Gang is a local organization that sometimes holds events called “Becoming Boss” where local female business owners and community members meet as a fashion student with future career prospects beyond the Rochester community, I thought it would be a good idea to try and network with several local business owners. In the past, their events have been $20 and they usually run a few hours, given that their schedule works out accordingly. Their most recent event was June 24th at Good Luck Restaurant as a three hour event. But now, this being their third event, something had changed. Their tickets were now $40 each, double the price of the original ticket.

By making the event exclusive to only those who could attend the brunch & mimosas before the panel, you are thereby excluding an entire group of people out of your demographic. What about those who are too young or too broke to attend? There’s no real reason that they couldn’t have had separate tickets set up to include everyone, or just made the brunch and mimosas an optional additional purchase to the attendees upon arrival. Brunch & mimosas is never an ultimatum when it comes to decision making in event planning.

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This is what white feminism looks like in my community. Roc Girl Gang decided to keep the event exclusive and make sure that the only people coming to this event were the same people, or same TYPE or people, who came to the previous two. Instead of reaching out to local community groups that help benefit women, they decided to stick with the same group of primarily white and privileged 30-something year olds who are already successful and prominent in the Rochester community and can afford to spend $40 on a three-hour brunch and discussion event.

Some positive solutions to fix Roc Girl Gang and other girl gangs alike could be to expand to a wider demographic of people by becoming more inclusive and opportunistic. Go to local high schools and colleges with the prospects of running a similar event/workshop regarding entrepreneurship.  Be MENTORS. Your line of thinking shouldn’t be limited to the same group of people for each event. Promote yourself and your brand to become a community-based girl gang, not a “already successful, now let’s drink and chat about it” group. Because really, I would LOVE to support my local girl gang.


Written by Jenna Curcio

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Written by Jenna Curcio

Jenna is a fashion student who wants to make the world a better place. Jenna loves big cities, travelling, and helping those in need.


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  1. The problem isn’t people attaching themselves to a false narrative or label and taking it to a level of non-meaning or distorted meaning. The real problem is misogyny propagated by women against other women and themselves in support of a patriarchal dogma so engrained in society that it poisons all facets. It starts at home. By that I mean it starts with personal reflection. If we allow the men in our lives to treat us like a doormat, then we have no right to complain about or challenge the greater and more general misogyny around us. If our husbands or boyfriends fail, by their own hand, especially financially and emotionally, and we continue to pick them up and make excuses for them, (these are real phenomena Where we “like” taking care of the “weak”, it’s almost fetishized), and we allow them to brow beat us, demean us, and use passive aggression and our own insecurities against us (passively or overtly) then we are the ones responsible for the false feminism that isn’t false feminism at all but consumerism and co-opted cause consumerism.

  2. I absolutely agree. While the Roc Girl Gang is doing great things for women in business, and has good intentions and a positive message, it would be lovely to see them expand their reach to a larger demographic of women. I don’t think they have to stop their current types of events (i.e. the more expensive brunch meet-ups), but instead they could be supplemented by a couple free events anyway where they maybe reach out to young girls in elementary/high schools or focus and talk to them about what it means to be a business owner. They could also try and seek out some non-white female business owners to add diversity to their organization and take steps to become a more intersectionally feminist group. Roc Girl Gang is a great group and has a lot of potential to effect positive change by reaching out to a younger and more diverse group of women in the Rochester area.

  3. I agree. The “article” show a lack of understanding of the issue. It’s not about false feminism, all feminism is real. Consumerism is the problem. We have watered down everything so that it can be pre-packed and sold. The author is obviously from a place, viewpoint, or generation who buys into the pre-packed MTV version of society. Pipe dreams of realities with corporate-colored glasses on. Instead of focusing on “false feminism” concentrate on misogyny. After all, we just witnessed a mass example of this in our last election cycle. Even Sanders supporters knew Clinton was the better candidate and more likely to have enacted real change. Those who “just can’t trust Hillary” were largely participating in misogyny. If it were a make candidate they almost certainly would have been forgiven for any perceived transgression. It goes further than that. It also has to do with consumerism in that younger people are more susceptible to mass marketing and a pre-packed Bernie was more palletable as an “alternative”.

  4. Loved this article. This is a major eye opener or one women who already see themselves as boss ladies and forget to turn around and help the next up and comers in line.

  5. First of all, the author stresses the importance of INTERSECTIONAL feminism, i.e. consciously recognizing that not every feminist (Far From It) is white, middle class, cis-gendered, and able bodied. That, is the main point of the article. In the case of her “585” discussion, she is trying to get WOMEN to step up and take responsibility for propagating discriminatory, misogynistic, and institutionalize did practices within her own community, and extrapolated, the world in general.

    To completely brush over the intended call to action of Jenna’s article and instead imply such things as people don’t have the right to “complain about or challenge the greater misogyny around them” if they would dare to emotionally or financially take care of a male significant other, is ridiculous and ignorant. I currently work full time so that my husband can go back to school, and that’s fine. If he eventually wanted to be a stay at home dad while I continued working that’s fine as well. As long as that is what we both want. It is NOT weak to care for someone that you love. I feel sorry for you, if that’s truly what you have come to believe. In a relationship if you were personally struggling emotionally, financially, physically, or mentally, I would HOPE that your partner would be there to care for, love, and support you.

    And that has nothing to do with feminism, and all to do with human decency.

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