'Woketainment' Or How Girlboss Just Doesn't Cut It - ColoKyal
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'Woketainment' Or How Girlboss Just Doesn't Cut It

‘Woketainment’ Or How Girlboss Just Doesn’t Cut It

'Woketainment' Or How Girlboss Just Doesn't Cut It

If you enjoyed watching Netflix’s Girlboss, may I also recommend watching literally anything else less bent on the resurgence of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

The show, that starts out seeming like it could be a Kimmy-Schmidt type, feel good female-led comedy, but quickly takes a dark-turn (through its narrative chops), stars the very pretty Britt Robertson in the lead, who plays a version of Sophia Amoruso, the founder and owner of the eBay store, Nasty Gal Vintage.

While I know that the show is based on Amoruso’s autobiography, but: a) I haven’t read the book on account of ‘never read a book whose title includes a hashtag’ and b) the visual medium has never shied away from adding its own unique depth to various degrees of layered characters. Think Sick Boy in Trainspotting, Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, and Jack Torrence from The Shining to name a few.

While the show itself is based on a true story, none of the characters seem to be based in reality at all. Throughout the characterisation process (regardless of gender), coolth with a side of obvious mental illness does not make a substitute for depth. 

'Woketainment' Or How Girlboss Just Doesn't Cut It

This show features a hedonistic, vain, immature, entitled, and slightly sociopath-ic heroine, and an equally insufferable romantic interest (played by the now-suddenly gorgeous Johnny Simmons) whose hobbies clearly include whining incessantly about the trials and tribulations of the friend-zone, and being taken for granted by crazy women with daddy issues. That’s not all, the show also features what’s meant to be (I hope) an ironic caricature of a seemingly homeless woman who yells misandry at passers-by, capturing the crazy creature that neck-beards view us feminists as. While this could’ve been a fun (and not very novel) plot point, it just comes across in really bad taste.

It’s sad that most TV still perpetuates archaic ideas of feminine characters who make Shakespeare’s Portia look like Oprah, but it’s even sadder when you have to point out the inherent sexism in the writing of a show with a female lead, meant to – in some part – be relatable, yet inspiring to other women.

Not every female lead needs to be packaged as the very embodiment of the Cool Girl Fantasy with a contemporary twist of false depth. Full with brow-grazing bangs, fuck-you metabolism, the ability to walk through pouring rain with their lip gloss still intact, and the compulsive need to treat people like garbage. The male gaze seems so deep-seated in any and all content we consume, that even female writers have started to cater to a portrayal of women that serves first as a sexualised plot point, and then as an individual with legitimate flaws, motivations, and convictions (if at all). 

'Woketainment' Or How Girlboss Just Doesn't Cut It

But it’s too convenient for me to simply take a dump on something without proving it could be better. So In direct contrast to everything that Girlboss is and stands for, is Amazon Prime’s original miniseries, ‘Fleabag’, which is: a) worth the INR 499/year for Prime video and b) another feather in Britain’s cap in its competition with American TV, and c) a brilliant showcase of how it’s wholly possible to write quirky, flawed (especially) female characters and still afford them the luxury of being empathetic and multidimensional.

It’s 2017, and ‘woketainment’ (a term freshly coined by my husband) is here to stay. From when it goes horribly askew through a simulation of millennial ideals as opposed to their true convictions, a la the Kendall Jenner/Pepsi ad, or when it’s surprisingly on-point like Riverdale, which features an Asian Reggie, a gay Kevin, and an all-black Josie and the Pussycats. And while, the show itself may be terrible, but at least it has the decency to be so, without vengeance or a misplaced sense of empowerment.

Newer viewers care about the right things when given a platform to. Case in point, the popularity of 13 Reasons Why – which in spite of being a terrible show again, goes a long way in addressing the plague of high school bullying.

All in all, no amount of the riot grrrl soundtrack and the doe-eyed Britt Robertson’s actually decent performance of an otherwise garbage character can fix Girlboss for me. But it’s good to know that for every show like it, that refuses to be written with integrity towards a decent portion of its viewers, specifically minorities, there are more and more shows like Fleabag, Please Like Me, Broadchurch, Wentworth, and Bubblegum – which not only talk about the right things, but also make it a point to talk about them in the right way.


Media Courtesy: Giphy

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