When you come across slogans like “girl power!” or “#girlboss,” you can’t help but think of women empowerment and feminism. While the origin of these slogans initially was meant to push positive ideas primarily directed toward women, it has become a toxic source for many. The #girlboss culture has made it almost impossible for individuals to spend an off day without feeling guilty for not contributing to society.
The idea seems to have evolved out of the capitalistic mentality where hustle is the game’s name, and there’s no room for taking care of mental health.
Adding to the scuffle are the rising social media platforms that propagate the idea of being “that girl.” There are so many influencers and public personalities that document their lives as “that girl” and share it on the platform for everyone to see. People who see these posts can’t help but feel insecure about their lives when they see others achieving so much with theirs.
#Girlboss culture according to Samantha Quick:
In an article on Medium, Samantha Quick defines this as a toxic idea that has engulfed much of society, one that she learned the hard way. She also arrived to be “that girl” and pushed herself to her limits until her body gave out. Samantha states that even in such a situation, she still felt like she gave her boss and colleagues a reason to look down on her.
The definition of “that girl” isn’t conclusive, but it circles the idea of those who have a healthy early morning routine, the perfect skincare routine, all the right outfits, and the ideal job, plus even side hustles.
Somehow, even if society created the culture itself to motivate individuals to be better and to do better, it has contributed to making people obsessed with modern-day self-care and wellness standards that, without reaching these goals, you feel utterly dejected and ostracised.
The funny thing with #girlboss culture is that there’s no end goal to this process. People who embrace this culture go to the gym, work 2-3 full-time jobs and wake up at 5 in the morning for seemingly no end goal except that it is what needs to be done.
In other words, the girlboss culture has become a way of life. Of course, there’s nothing negative about being an early riser and taking care of your health and body, but when it becomes an obsession that makes you feel bad about yourself when you don’t follow a routine, it hinders your mental health and well-being.
Samantha recounts her own experience with the hustle culture, which now, looking back, she realizes was a very unhealthy outlook on life. But at the moment, it felt right, like she had everything under control.
According to Samantha, wellness has become an ideology in today’s age where individuals are not asking themselves why they are doing what they are doing; it’s just the trend, and that’s why they do what they do.
Impact of #girlbosss culture on mental health:
The #girlboss culture has nothing to do with finding the answers to why you have to be at the top of your game all the time, and it just says that you need to be there every day.
This kind of self-talk makes individuals lose sight of their lives and, somewhere along the way, lose some parts of themselves. In a way, this new wave of culture is making it impossible for wellness and self-care to be something that is scientifically and biologically driven but only for the aesthetics.
Ever since the 2020 pandemic, it has become clear how thin of a line between many individuals’ professional and personal lives.
It brought about a point in everyone’s minds about how they aren’t doing enough, or that life was too short not to be hustling every day. While, in its essence, the idea is positively motivating people to reach their potential, it is also perpetuating a hustle culture where people are reconsidering their life decisions and feeling extreme productivity guilt for not doing enough.
All self-help books, motivational speakers, and podcasts share a similar concept of becoming our corporations wherein the individual never stops working. If you have a 9-5 job, once you get back home, it’s not about taking a mental break: instead, it’s about how you make use of the remaining few hours of the day. In many cases, people are shamed for not having side hustles, not going to the gym, not going out and socializing, and not having more things to keep them busy.
The individualistic ideals that these trends have brought about in society negatively impact. Everyone is scavenging and foraging for their benefit without thinking about why they do what they do.
Everyone is looking to fit in. The dire need among individuals to feel like a part of a movement or a part of a clique, a trend, or a cult is what pushes these toxic ideas of #girlboss Culture to the top of the food chain.
The overwhelming stress from not being enough or not doing enough results in crippling anxiety. It’s everything about pushing yourself to the limits so that you are part of the trend and nothing about the negative impact it has on your mental state. There is a need to cultivate self-compassion when you are practicing self-care. It’s always good to take care of yourself but not at the expense of another part of yourself.
It perfectly disguises itself as an innocent movement that promotes healthy living, but at its core, it is one of the significant causes of stress for youngsters and adults alike. Often, it’s difficult for individuals sucked into this system to look at life as rewarding. Instead, they are becoming the opposite – unhealthier in the quest to be healthier.
The self-care journey should follow a healthy approach where you do something for yourself for a good reason and not just aspire to do something because you have to.
The only real solution to tackling this problem is to create achievable, realistic goals instead of striving for a life where you wake up at 5 am to for no good reason and spend the day feeling tired and not doing your best, which also loops itself into the endless cycle of productivity guilt.
True wellness is only when you have peace both mindfully and physically.