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How Shrill Nails White Feminism and Capitalist Self-Care

Published
Jul 23, 2020

(This was originally published in 2020 but I accidentally deleted the page 🙈)

The episode of Shrill season 2 with the women's empowerment conference is brilliant. 🤯

Matt Rogers from Las Culturistas as the assistant/gatekeeper to the Queen Bee.

Vanessa Bayer as the Queen Bee.

The blatant hypocrisy of white corporate feminism.

But it also shows the different types of the girlboss persona and how they're not all bad, similar to how Self-Care: A Novel (affiliate link) did.

Here's a breakdown of the different girlboss archetypes in the episode:

First, there's Annie, who's somewhat on the outside but still trying to find community there.

She's skeptical of it all, but WANTS to believe the promises are real and knows they're needed, the conference just wasn't the real answer.

Then, there's the Vanessa Bayer character, condescending and exploiting the other types.

The Queen Bee girlboss who knows and understands the exploitation that's going on and just doesn't care. She's the one on top so it all works out for her. Scammer's gonna keep scamming.

And finally, there are the dare-I-say desperate women like the ones Annie met in the bathroom, who are just so starved for a tiny bit of confidence, support, and power that they're oblivious that they're being scammed by the Queen Bee. Because she makes them feel like they have it.

She "empowers" them.

When it comes to how the Girlboss Empowerment stuff (or as Kelly Diels calls it, the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand) misses the mark, Annie says it amazingly: "there's a reason that men don't need to be like constantly told that they're powerful. It's because they're in power."

There's a reason that men don't need to be like constantly told that they're powerful. It's because they're in power. Women, we're like, screaming in huge pink letters that we're powerful just to try and convince ourselves. - Shrill

And, "Women, we're like, screaming in huge pink letters that we're powerful just to try and convince ourselves."

"All they talked about was self-care but it's not taking care of yourself to agree that you're ugly and you need to be fixed."

It's the serious stuff like Annie handling her abortion, "that was care. I had to in the moment evaluate what I wanted and take care of myself. And then all the women that were there that took care of me."

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If this essay helped you learn something or think differently, please consider sending a tip. I love writing about doing marketing differently, but spending my energy this way has real repercussions for my health and business.