By Ariana Hwang
When Sophia Amoruso stole a rug, I couldn’t believe that one of the richest, self-made CEOS on the list of Forbes 30 under 30, was a shoplifter in her early lifetime. Netflix made a show loosely based on her in real life called “Girlboss” and although she stole a bunch of items throughout the show, including the book “Starting an eBay Business For Dummies”, the real Sophia ceased this behavior before creating her eBay store, Nasty Gal Vintage. This was never meant to glorify her mistakes, but to point out that she too was an imperfect human being and businesswoman. Critics can say what they want, but to me, the fictional and real-life Sophia showed more truth to their audience than what they were credited for.
People have complained that the Netflix protagonist, Sophia is insufferable, self-centered, and a huge brat. Many of them were the same viewers who based their assumptions off only watching the pilot episode. It aggravates me when people give up so easily on a character when there’s more to understand. Have you ever forgiven a stranger for being rude because you didn’t know what he or she was going through in life? It’s all about having some patience and empathy. Remember, for those who watched the entire season, she knows she’s an “asshole” and often feels guilty when she realizes some of her selfish ways. Why would she call her own clothing brand NASTY GAL? She carries a lot of grit and doesn’t play by everyone else’s rules.
Sophia lived alone, switched through schools a lot (never feeling like she fit in anywhere), hated every job she worked, had a complicated relationship with her father and also a mother who was hardly there to see her grow up. I can relate to a lot of who she is. I despised high school, have a complicated father-daughter relationship, and prefer being my own boss. I’ve fallen prey to online criticism. I’ve annoyed my ex with how much I passionately spoke about my site. I’ve raised money a few times with recycling bottles so I didn’t have to ask my parents for cash. Like Sophia, I was not some soulless person without relatable dreams.
“Adulthood is where dreams go to die”. Sophia postulates this. I think it’s a quote that perfectly encapsulates millennial dread, angst, and uncertainty that occur when we have no fucking clue what we want to do for a living. Can we imagine ourselves working at Wall Street 70 hours a week? What about working three jobs to pay an apartment’s rent? Or living with our parents till we’re almost 30, hunting for one job after another voraciously? Being in your early 20s is going to make you run through trials and twists of emotions, times where you’ll act foolish then brave or vice versa until the cycle repeats. Most of us are in this constant limbo, asking ourselves, “Who am I?”, “What am I doing?”, and “What will I do?
The title of the show alone doesn’t make Sophia a feminist. She was never caught up in adopting a cookie-cutter image. She swore A LOT and didn’t feel ashamed in not knowing how to do simple things like making bar graphs. She was her own role model and made that known to her followers. “Just be your own idol,” she said in her memoir, #GIRLBOSS. And now back to addressing the feminist argument. Sophia cared about making money to support herself and was actually passionate about what she did to the point of obsession; this doesn’t automatically make her a feminist fraud and bad influence. This is a show about a young woman’s journey with mental and physical struggle to believe in her dream and in herself especially. When her eBay account got suspended, she made the decision to move on and create her own site. When her boyfriend Shane went on tour for months, she kept herself busy with her work. When her mother expressed desire for an acting role, she encouraged her mom to be feistier and fight for her part in The King and I. When her female customers wanted something new to wear, she made the point to change the clothes to however they wanted and in the process, helped all of these women feel confident. Girlboss is so much more than a title. Nowadays, it’s a media company and foundation, awarding $120,000 in financial grants to women in the worlds of design, fashion, music, and the arts. Girlboss was about Sophia’s unconventional and relentless way of reaching success against all odds and how women can do the same and share their stories too.