Girlboss. The term was originally coined in 2014 by businesswoman, author and self-professed girlboss Sophia Amoruso to describe her drive in a heavily male-dominated industry. However, it quickly became an internet sensation and meme.
While in her book, “#GIRLBOSS,” Amoruso refers to a girlboss as a woman, “whose success is defined in opposition to the masculine business world in which she swims upstream,” the definition leaves much to be discovered.
For example, how does one attain ultimate girlboss status? Is she quiet, timid and knowledgeable? Or loud, rash and unabashed in her every move?
Does the girlboss ascribe to any particular dress code? Would she prefer a power suit in place of a traditional option like a skirt and blouse? Would it even matter?
While the demographics are currently changing at the Institute, the gender ratio has historically and contemporarily been skewed towards men.
We at the Technique understand that being different or being the only one in a room can be difficult. With this in mind, for this year’s Women’s History Month edition, the women of the Technique’s editorial board set out to provide our playful take on what it means to be a girlboss and how you can be one too.
This writer’s advice is to be yourself, even though it sounds cliche, but it genuinely is one of the best ways to go about it. At the core of what girlbossing, it is supposed to be about uplifting and empowering women. As women, we’re constantly being told we’re not enough — not feminine enough, not tough enough, not smart enough. In this constant search for more, bigger and better, where do we find ourselves? We lose ourselves, not necessarily seeking approval, but in an attempt to avoid rejection. It’s easy to draw ire as a woman for having a hair out of place, and it will always be a balancing act. It’s simply not how we were intended to live.
While this list is neither definitive, nor exhaustive, we at the Technique hope we can give readers a place to start as they continue to navigate college and beyond — if nothing else we hope you are able to laugh at our tentative suggestions.
Be practical, not perfect
Morgan Whittemore, Head Copy Editor
“Your definition of being a girlboss can go outside of the tips we offer here, but being confident in what you make of it is what matters most. Knowing that you have strengths and weaknesses, knowing that you can succeed but also make mistakes; these things are essential for slaying with purpose. Being a girlboss requires you to believe in yourself and your ability to make changes in your life and the lives of others. Whether your walk around campus is a strut or a shuffle, make sure you hold your head high and let everyone know you’re the real it girl.”
Plan outfits in advance
Clara Templin, Design Editor
“While it might remind some of middle and high school routines, picking out one’s clothes the night before gives a greater ability for cohesion and self expression. Most have been there, running late for the first class of the day and forced to throw on whatever clothes seem most accessible. There isn’t time to consider what clothes will provide an added confidence boost or what combination of clothes will complement each other and the individual the best. Picking out one’s clothes the night before prevents this problem by giving one the time to carefully consider and even change what they will wear the next day, a luxury that is often not possible on those rushed early mornings.”
Embrace your interests
Julia Balot, Sports Editor
“As fun as it is to gaslight and gatekeep, girlbossing is important for the soul. One of my favorite ways to feel like a girlboss is embracing my interests, no matter how girly they may be. Men have managed to characterize almost anything with a majority-women audience as embarrassing, weak or ‘obsessive’ despite men behaving almost the exact same way about their own interests. It is both entertaining and empowering for me to view hysterical football fans in face paint and wigs in the same way that I view a girl crying at a Harry Styles concert wearing a boa and sparkly pants. They are literally the exact same thing — they even take place in the same stadium — and my second favorite way to girlboss is pointing this out to as many men as I can.”
Mastering the art of dry humor
Nithya Jameshenry, Opinions Editor
“The substratum of dry humor is empathy. Some people who claim dry humor as the basis of their visage, often men, try to take their “deadpan” insults and shove it under the umbrella term of dry humor. However, without empathy, there is no “deadpan” joking. Understanding when to prioritize kindness and sensitivity over sarcastic commentary is a trait that defines the femininity of dry humor. Without this empathy, the line between insulting and off-putting versus funny is blurred. There is no humor quite like feminine sarcasm; yet, it is often ridiculed and disparaged by the emotionless man.”
Kill them with kindness
Yashvini Deva, Managing Editor
“Oftentimes, kindness is portrayed as an inherently feminine trait. This antiquated idea often transfers into the workplace where women who are perceived as ‘nice’ are subsequently viewed as weak or less competent, but women who are not seen as ‘nice’, are viewed as cold and even hostile. This creates a no-win situation where women are expected to take on emotional labor and are penalized either way. There is nothing wrong with going out of your way for a friend or a co-worker, but you are under no obligation to be kind to anyone. However, if you choose to, do not let anyone reduce you to a pushover.”
Make your own ambition
Tehreem Hussain, News Editor
“Women are constantly taught that their ambition must be limited to avoid being labeled as ‘aggressive.’ We do not graduate the most female engineers in the nation for this ideology to go unchecked on our campus. Having aspirations and ambitions is commendable; in a world that often seems bleak, it takes tenacity and resilience to dream big and wide. Men are seldom labeled ‘calculated’ or ‘aggressive’ for their ambition. Instead, they’re praised for their innovative ideas and 10-year plans. It’s high time women start to own their dreams and passions in a way that amplifies their narrative in a world that is too often dominated by men-centric narratives.”
Decency is not deceitful
Kristin Hsu, Online Editor
“All girlbosses have haters. But you know what’s worse than having haters? Letting the haters get to you. Treating everyone with a basic level of kindness and respect is the hottest thing you can do. Whether you’ve beefed with that person in the past or you just don’t like them, being nice doesn’t hurt anyone. Some might argue that being friendly towards people you don’t like is ‘fake.’ They’re wrong. It’s maturity. You don’t have to kiss up to that person, but being able to let go of that anger or resentment is more powerful than anything. Smile and wave and move on. Not for them, but for you.”
Aanya Sawhney, Entertainment Editor
“Minimalist decor is characterized by all-white rooms with nothing out of place. Everything must be neatly organized and fit along with 2022’s most popular “clean girl aesthetic.” This does not really allow for self-expression because its point is to be as simple as possible. The limitations perpetuate the idea that women must make themselves disappear all while being effortless. However, as we move out of the pandemic and trends fade away from social media, we visit our friends and see their rooms with knickknacks crowding shelves and posters filling up their walls, offering glimpses into who they are. How we perceive ourselves through belongings is but another jigsaw piece in the puzzle of identity. So, do not be afraid of ‘cluttercore’ and do not be afraid to take up space. You deserve it.”