Rafia Zakaria in The Baffler:
PROMINENT WHITE FEMINISTS tend to stick together. I would know, after having written a book called Against White Feminism. I was criticized or dismissed by a good many of them, not least the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who was asked directly about my book last year and essentially declared that “complicated and difficult conversations” about racism and feminism are a distraction from the need to oppose draconian anti-women laws being pushed by Republicans. Similar furor erupted this week when New York Times journalist Alisha Haridasani Gupta wrote an article titled “The Sunsetting of the Girlboss Is Nearly Complete.” The main “girlboss” in Gupta’s article was Emily Weiss, the former CEO of a make-up company called Glossier. Gupta shows how Weiss—along with a few other female CEOs who have also stepped down from top jobs—represented a form of leadership that celebrated markedly un-feminist values: domination, hierarchy, and capitalist greed. Gupta suggests we’re seeing the demise of a certain kind of acquisitive, ruthless, and white female entrepreneur encapsulated in the girlboss ideal. Among the reasons that Gupta enumerated for the end of Weiss’s tenure was an internal memo in which retail employees complained of a “racist, toxic work environment.” One cited example was the company’s inability to handle situations such as when white teenagers used products in the “experiential” Glossier stores to emulate blackface.
Most millennial feminists have already denounced the girlboss label, which began as the title of a book written by a white woman who advocated a ruthless, “let’s beat the white men at their game” brand of feminism, a sort of younger version of what Sheryl Sandberg so skillfully sold in Lean In.