"If you approach everything in your life with a certain degree of intention, you can affect the outcome" (6) #GirlBoss
I'm continuing with my pledge to read a book a month this year, and perhaps more than one if my time permits. I loved the feedback from my book reviews, and also the opportunities I was fortunate to secure, as a result. BLEURGH is more than a fashion or lifestyle blog; it aims to enrich its readership with thought provoking content, and enlighten you of an existent feminist BME perspective. I found the book reviews were journeying along the same route of this ethos, and thought it best to read and review books in 2016 that conveyed this message. The reviews will be published on the last Wednesday of each month; the first of which is #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso, founder and Executive Chairman of NastyGal. I was apprehensive at first as I'm not the biggest fan of autobiographies or self-help books, and heard this book falls squarely between the two. And unfortunately, it lived up to its reputation. However, it does have gems buried between its poorly dictated prose, which I will review in regular BLEURGH format i.e. thematically: Money, Feminism, and Passion.
"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" Dr Seuss
Shirt : H&M | Silk Shelltop : Marks&Spencer | Culottes : New Look
Shirt : H&M | Silk Shelltop : Marks&Spencer | Culottes : New Look
"Discomfort was where I was most comfortable" (4) #GirlBoss
Money - Sophia's journey to the top is as you'd expect, but expressed far more graphically in #GirlBoss. Yes, she is the epitome of the American dream, and the subconscious muse behind Drake's 2014 smash 'Started from the bottom, now we here!'. Why? Well, having fled home at an early age, she dumpster dived for Krispy Kremes to wash down out-of-her-budget Starbucks chai lattes, while she shoplifted to support herself in her late teens, between dead-end jobs she was routinely fired from. Unglamorous start to life, to say the least. I mean, the girl was "making tampons out of socks" (4) for Pete's sake! Never dissuaded from learning how she crawled her way from the dump to the boardroom, I kept reading past the poor colloquial anecdotes, misquoted speeches (once attributing the words of the infamous Albert Einstein to her unknown Dad...shame on you Penguin Books Editors), not to mention over-reaching nuances, to arrive at her plight to the top. 20 years old when she decided the life of crime wasn't sufficient and sought legitimate means of earning an income. I'm sorry! That doesn't quite correlate with the fact "the first thing [she] ever sold online was stolen" (4) *side eye* Voila! The birth of NastyGal on eBay. Finally, a steady stream of income, and a passion for fashion (what she later addresses with distaste). "Money spells freedom" (5) and finally Sophia was better able to plan for the future, by adopting the mantra; that "Money looks better in the bank than on your feet" (5). That being said, she states from the outset that having non-financial goals for her company is probably the root of its success. Her sheer desire to carve out her space online, a brand that was rooted in individuality? THAT in essence was the goal, and the remuneration that came with it was inevitable. I am sure we can all relate to that in some way; following our passion fuels us mentally and financially. Caring as much about playing one's part and leaving a mark far more than the end result, will surely lead to you surpassing that said end in a convoluted, somewhat tiresome, but far more rewarding way. Aim not at the end result of a set task/ goal/ life, rather seek out the lessons in every experience, widen your perspective, and further your knowledge, ruling failure out as a possibility. Even if you do fail, see the wider idea that a failed effort is a chance to strike again with an awareness of a possible outcome, or an opportunity to try something utterly different.
"There is no dignity quite so impressive...as living within your means" Calvin CoolidgeFlorence & The Machine Apple Music Festival at Roundhouse
"The only way to support a revolution is to make your own" Abbie Hoffman
Feminism - #GirlBoss is intended to stand as a feminist manifesto on the shelves - "women have the opportunity now to change the world" (7) - yet does nothing more than shade feminist ideals. However, feminism is subjective, in my humble opinion, and Sophia does an excellent job at motivating the reader regardless of their gender. In essence, that's the purpose of feminism; equal regard of all genders. She preaches in Chapter 1 that we are all empowered to "take over the world and change it in the process", knowing that "as a girl, [you can] be who you want and do what you want"! How very first world of her *chuckles*. Indeed, it is truly within our grasp to reach the highest heights, thanks to technology, and Sophia is living proof of this. Sophia also discusses the conflict between intellect and aesthetics - "you don't have to choose between smart and sexy. You can have both" (1) - something I have often debated on this platform. "When I put on makeup, I'm not doing it to pander to antiquated patriarchal ideals of feminine beauty" (1), rather as an expression of my message to the world, and how I want to be regarded. Much in the same way a man can choose to subscribe to #BeardGang or #SuitUp to a meeting. "Its not shallow to put effort into how you look" (1), in fact, it conveys to the world that you take yourself seriously.
"It is she who listens to the rest of the world who fails" (7) #GirlBoss"If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish" David Foster Wallace
Passion - Commencing with an illustration that's captioned "The only thing I smoke is my competition" in The Chronology of a #GirlBoss, sets the pace for a pretty gutsy take on a female's climb up the career ladder. Especially one she designed, hammered, and placed herself. #GirlBoss intends to teach fellow females (and males alike) "when to quit and when to ask for more", to "take nothing at face value", to "take control and accept responsibility", and above all else, "value honesty over perfection" The Chronology of a #GirlBoss. Sophia's intention is to instil the right passion within the reader to conquer the world (because goals are far beneath us), by "abandon[ing] anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back" (1). That caught me off-guard because I refuse to subscribe to this new quitting culture that teaches one to leave behind poorly executed tasks, ruling them out as failures, and pursuing passionate dreams instead. Surely, passionate dreams are worth fighting for? Well, it turns out Sophia believes the same, teaching the reader to instead "learn to create your own opportunities" (1). Training our ears to disregard the word no. No is just an offer to try something else, or try a different way; "there are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure" (3). Sophia pushes the value of hard work, and motivates the reader to really work at their passion, rather than taking rejection at face value. Other #GirlBosses illustrate this also, by outlining their career and the various closed doors that led them to their current position. #GirlBoss shows us that a sole focus blinds us to opportunities enroute, and taking "risks are where breakthroughs happen" (7).
"you will never regret trying to fulfil your dream" (4) #GirlBossNecklace : Dorothy Perkins | Watch : Guess
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" George Bernard Shaw
I expected #GirlBoss to impart entrepreneurial wisdom, or shed light on the route up in the fashion industry, or perhaps share her observations thus far of being a female mogul. #GirlBoss did none of that. What it did, was dance around hard facts, share unedited excerpts from industry friends (or fellow #GirlBosses), and fail to really keep my attention for more than my commute. I looked forward to putting the book down, and dreaded picking it up. What it does well, however, is synonym a notion ten times. Take for example the law of attraction. It is defined, explained, re-worded, quoted, theorised, and then stated. HUH? Why did it take an entire half chapter to digest your thought process? This book lacked direction, starting from the end, climaxing at the beginning and ending in the future. I was very confused as to why I felt like it was an email correspondence between herself and a Junior prying her LinkedIn inbox for advice, but she left me with sufficient tidbits to include in a blogpost to leave both myself and my readers satisfied. All in all, I wouldn't recommend this purchase or read, I'm afraid, and look forward to next month's review; DeVon Franklin's 'Produced by Faith'.
"Once you've found success, don't stop" (11) #GirlBoss