Bibliofiles: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Make no mistake about it: #GIRLBOSS is an entertaining read. With a sharp tongue and engaging candor Sophia Amoruso recounts her employment escapades (which included becoming a Sandwich Artist at Subway, working the information desk at Borders, and getting hired as a campus safety host) to her current position as Founder and CEO of Nasty Gal. Always the irreverent outsider, Amoruso shunned attending college, choosing instead to open her own vintage shop on eBay. With a passion for vintage and an eye for styling, Amoruso arrived on the eBay scene right when it was becoming the online shopping destination for the cool kids.
She named her shop Nasty Gal Vintage (after funk singer Betty Davis’ 1975 album) and less than a decade later Nasty Gal had become its own website and expanded its inventory to include new designer pieces as well as its own exclusive line, while making millions of dollars along the way.
What is clear is that although Amoruso had not been great (or in most cases, even good) at any of her previous jobs, she had definitely learned a lot from each of them. It took being her own boss for her talent and passion to be fully unleashed, and when combined with the practical skills she’d picked up along the way, her business took off in a way not even Oprah could have imagined.
Her book is filled with tips, advice, and candid stories from the trenches of retail. Admittedly, reading #GIRLBOSS over and over on the pages of the book detracts from the message. Soon I began to wonder: is the hashtag really necessary? Would Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged be as effective if it was instead @las Shrugged? I guess that’s hard to say, but what is equally open for discussion is her use of “GIRL” as a term of empowerment.
Amoruso writes, “#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you, as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want.” I would wholeheartedly agree with this if we were all 14 year olds having a conversation about feminism. But presuming that most of #GIRLBOSS readers are over the age of 18, I’d say that the term girl undermines what would otherwise be an empowering message. Would it be empowering for Steve Jobs to be called #BOYBOSS? This exclusive use of “girl” in lieu of “woman” is inexplicable. Amoruso states, “I like to say that Nasty Gal is dressing girls for the best years of their lives whether a girl is eighteen, twenty-five, thirty-five, or sixty.” I hope by the time I’m 60 we will all agree that I am a woman.
Semantics aside, Sophia Amoruso is one of a kind and #GIRLBOSS is equally unique. This sharp and insightful book will motivate many to pursue their dreams and chart their own path. With any luck, those she inspires will one day be called #BOSS.
Written by Melany Zwartjes
Photography by Tulisan Team