GIRLBOSS Say What!?

It’s been a good week. It’s only Wednesday and I’ve crossed off most of my to-do list. I launched my brand new website. I took on a new freelance client today. As Beyonce and Nicki Minaj sing: “I’m feeling myself.”

As a high five, pat on the back, “you go, girl” reward for the fruits of my labor — a holiday present for myself — I decided I would buy a ticket to the GirlBoss Rally in Los Angeles this coming March.

So many of my favorite women are attending to speak: Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of my go-to “You have to buy this now” brand, Glossier. Amanda Chantal Bacon, creator of Moon Juice and Moon Dust, the company I wish I dreamed up. Alyssa Mastromonaco, my own personal Oprah because holy shitballs her career is impressive. And of course, the Nasty Gal founder, GirlBoss herself, Sophia Amoruso.

I first discovered Nasty Gal when I bought an earring set — one moon, one star, and a deep, deep V romper that opened from my neck all the way down to my vagina (literally, that V came down to my V) — and everyone and their mama asked me where I got my outfit from. “Nasty Gal.” It sounded cool. Shortly after, Sophia’s book Girlboss came out — sparking a revolution in my inner circle and clearly, the world. I was hooked. I was drinking the Kool-Aid. Lots of GirlBoss Kool-Aid.

But today — in her Girlboss Gang secret Facebook group — Sophia wrote: “How do we feel about dudes speaking at the Girlboss Rally? I’ve had several folks suggest this.” Not only did this shock me, but it made me scream: “Really?”

The responses to her question overwhelmingly say yes. One says that “girlboss is a mindset, gender is not.” Many attribute that they don’t want to be held back, so women shouldn’t hold back men by not allowing them to speak at this rally.

“Equality!”

“Yeah!”

“Great idea!”

Someone listed Jim Carrey as a qualified speaker for the Girlboss Rally. Lots of Mark Cuban replies were in the mix.

No one said the words “no”…except for me.

No because there has never been a man on the Girlboss Radio podcast, an hour every week where I get to hear two women have a conversation that is much needed about work, creative thinking, strategy, and women in business.

No because men will never know what it’s like to be a woman in the work place. Men will never know what it’s like to be a woman in today’s society, even if they stand up for women and acknowledge they are feminists.

No because we do not have equal pay for equal work and this is across the board — in every occupation. No because women make 20% less than men do, with African American women making even less than that. No because women, statistically, will not be equal with men until 2152.

No because only 10% of VC funding goes to women (how lucky is Sophia to be included in that 10%). No because women hold under 12% of partner roles at corporate venture firms and accelerators. No because look at these numbers below.

No because name one man that has started a company after being sexually harassed by his boss — please name one man who actively speaks out about sexual harassment in the work place (other than being guilty of doing it). No because there are women on the presenter list for this very rally who have filed sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuits, something that is way too common for women to do.

No because 1 in 3 women will be sexually harassed at work. No because 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college. No because 1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted or raped during their life. 1 in 6.

No because men get more floor time in the work place and they are applauded for it, while women who speak up are often perceived as “too talkative.”

No because as I wrote on the Girlboss Gang post: “Men will never know what it’s like to be a woman in the work place (and they certainly do not know what it’s like to be a woman in the world today). We do not have equal pay for equal work. We do not have the same human rights. We do not live in a post-patriarchal world. Men that support women are fantastic, and necessary. But we don’t need them at an event to tell us we’re worth something. We don’t need them there talking about navigating the work place or their experiences. Let’s focus on women uplifting women and leave men at home, at least for the inaugural one.”

No because can’t an incredibly impressive list of highly accomplished women sit together and not have a man contribute to the conversation? Can we just be okay with a bunch of powerhouse women together lifting each other up?

I’m disappointed that I’m sitting here having to say no, no, and no over again. I’m disappointed that Sophia, who I have so admired for her tenacity, her honesty about her divorce, her dedication to making Girlboss more than a hashtag, doesn’t feel secure enough with her empire that she poses the question about men presenters. A better question would have been: “What women of color would you like to see added?”

I’m disappointed that Sophia liked on Facebook the “yes” comments before mine and the “yes” comments after mine — ignoring my sole, flat-out “no.” I’m disappointed that this woman I have considered to be a major wave maker is making a misstep for her brand.

That noise you’re hearing right now — well, it’s me zipping up my wallet. I can’t support a person or an organization that says their mission is to “empower creative women to take over the world” — but thinks maybe it would be cool to add some men into the line-up for a one-day conference/rally.

I guess I’ll save my girlboss dollars for a Woman of the Hour rally. Lena Dunham, I guess you’re up next.