Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss

Explore the rise and fall of the Girlboss movement, the emergence of terms like Gaslight, Gatekeep, and Girlboss, and the impact on feminism in 2023.


In recent years, the Girlboss movement has been both praised and criticised for its impact on women’s empowerment. Initially seen as a force for inspiring women to work harder and achieve success, the movement has since faced backlash for failing to promote true feminist values. This article will explore the rise and fall of the Girlboss brand and discuss the emergence of the terms Gaslight, Gatekeep, and Girlboss offering insight into the state of feminism in 2023.

The rise of the Girlboss movement

The Girlboss movement began as an initiative to encourage women to hustle harder and break through glass ceilings. Iconic figures like Sophia Amoruso and Sheryl Sandberg championed the movement, emphasizing ambition and perseverance as the key to success. As the term “Girlboss” became synonymous with female empowerment, it resonated with many women seeking to make their mark in the workplace.

Critique of the Girlboss movement

Despite its initial appeal, the Girlboss movement has faced significant criticism for its lack of intersectionality and inclusivity. The movement primarily catered to privileged, white, cisgender women, overlooking the unique challenges faced by women of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Furthermore, the Girlboss movement focused on individual success at the expense of collective change, suggesting that women could overcome systemic gender inequalities through hard work alone. This approach neglected the need for broader societal shifts to address gender-based discrimination and disparities.

Additionally, the movement reinforced capitalist ideals and toxic work culture, pushing women to constantly strive for more, often at the expense of their mental health and personal relationships.

The fall of the Girlboss brand

As public opinion shifted, the Girlboss movement faced backlash for its shortcomings. Revelations about the unethical practices and toxic work environments at companies led by prominent Girlboss figures further fueled the criticism. Consequently, the Girlboss brand experienced a decline in popularity, with many questioning its contribution to the feminist movement.

The rise of the terms Gaslight, Gatekeep, and Girlboss

In response to the Girlboss movement, the terms Gaslight, Gatekeep, and Girlboss emerged, initially as a meme on social media. The terms were used to critique and satirize the problematic aspects of the movement, highlighting its manipulative, exclusionary, and misrepresentative nature. The popularity of these terms reflects a broader desire for more nuanced and inclusive conversations about women’s empowerment.

Alternative approaches to feminism and female empowerment

As society grapples with the Girlboss movement’s shortcomings, alternative approaches to feminism and female empowerment have gained traction. Embracing intersectionality and inclusivity is crucial, as it acknowledges all women’s diverse experiences and challenges. Focusing on collective action and community-oriented initiatives can help address systemic issues and promote lasting change.

Moreover, reevaluating the definition of success and work-life balance is essential. A more holistic approach that values personal well-being, relationships, and mental health can create a healthier and more sustainable path for women’s empowerment.

The rise and fall of the Girlboss movement offer valuable lessons about pursuing genuine feminist values and female empowerment in 2023. By embracing intersectionality, inclusivity, and collective change, we can get a more equitable and just future for all women. The continued popularity of terms like Gaslight, Gatekeep, and Girlboss serves as a reminder of the need for ongoing self-reflection and growth within feminist movements.