Feminism Didn’t Need a Rebrand

We never needed a strategy to sell equality.

Emily O. Weltman
Equality Includes You
21 min readJun 27, 2020

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Photo collage by author.

The “Girlboss” may be dead, but Feminist leaders are alive and well.

In a recent viral Medium piece, Leigh Stein declares “The End of the Girlboss Is Here.” Leigh deftly called out the inexperience many White feminist business leaders, solely there because of privilege and money, had in leading social change. Their “feminism” was for only for show, sales, and follows. As Leigh said:

“[The] women who leaned into their ambition and founded their own companies were not necessarily any more virtuous, ethical, or respectful than their male counterparts.”

Plenty of Feminists have been “doing the work” long before it was considered a marketable branding opportunity or cute hashtag. Tears won’t be shed from the word “Girl” dying from feminist businesses, (though it’s fine if it sticks around, too).

For many of us, the term Girlboss never took root in the first place.

Leigh’s popular piece, while full of accurate and necessary lessons for future founders and investors, is missing several points that paint a more thorough picture of Feminism and Capitalism in 2020. The temptation to reduce the future economy down to only two options: nonprofit altruism or greedy capitalism makes sense. But, that underestimates the benefits that come from a necessary reinvention of our current failing economy.

It is amazing how quickly popular culture and workplace trends can change, as Leigh points out. “A women-only co-working space already seems like a relic from another era.” Yet feminism and antiracism work is not an interior design trend; there isn’t just one logo.

Work has indeed changed overnight for many, but not just with the resignations of The Wing and Girlboss CEOs. Other social-justice minded leaders have been making work better while the feeds were focused on millenial pink-packaged empowerment. Without going deeper, one cannot imagine the future of work and how best to rebuild inclusive, flexible, safe, and just companies and an economy that serves everyone.

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Emily O. Weltman
Equality Includes You

Emily Weltman, M. Ed., strategy consultant, social entrepreneur + coFLOWco founder is “Leading with Purpose–because the patriarchy isn’t going to fix Itself.”💫