What Netflix’s Girlboss Got Wrong

Note: This is one writer’s POV. What did you think of the show? 

In Netflix’s Girlboss, a rebel without a cause finds one in eBay by repurposing vintage clothing. The show is loosely based off of Sophia Amoruso’s life rising to start-up success as the founder of Nasty Gal, once a massive fashion ecommerce brand. (Note: Amoruso has since sold Nasty Gal and is now heading up Girlboss Media).

This show had the workings to empower female entrepreneurship and celebrate grit and determination. It is about the original #Girlboss herself, after all.

Then it got canceled.

Putting aside the reviews about how unlikeable Sophia the character is and the overall entertainment value of the show (if you want reviews like that, just Google “Netflix Girlboss review”) we should look at how much potential was lost in the story line about female entrepreneurship. What actually went into it? Why did Sophia spend more time trying to prove people wrong than actually work?

The show could have served as an inspiration for young people. Yet, short of panning to Sophia reading “eBay for Dummies,” it is not completely clear how she even makes it outside of a good eye and some sewing chops. She fumbles. She yells. She goes back to reading another Dummies book. All of a sudden she has tons of customers. Then she closes her laptop and continues on her brigade of proving the people in her life wrong.

As someone who read #Girlboss, I was expecting a quirky, true-to-form tale of the grit and the grind. Sophia is a unique character – she completely understands her customers in a way few ever will. She is persistent and she is obsessed with her business. Yet, the show glazes over these things to bring humor in that misses the mark. It delivers over-dramatic moments like running across the Golden Gate Bridge to get a wedding dress to her customer with one minute to spare or finding out her boyfriend cheats on her.

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Female entrepreneurship and, more generally, coming of age is absolutely something that has a place not only in career books, Podcasts, and essays, but TV too. Girlboss could have been that show. It followed a story that had the goods to actually inspire young people in their careers (and their lives). That’s the whole point of the #Girlboss movement anyway.

This is such an important genre that needs to evolve. I know the kind of show I’m describing will eventually exist. Casting call, anyone?

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