It’s go-go entrepreneur-ism without the caveat that most women entrepreneurs start micro-businesses which generate subsistence-level revenues rather than untrammeled abundance.
It’s yoga – or let’s be real: stretching classes – sold as a way to get taut and hot rather than a way to prepare the body for seated meditation.
It’s calling your new crash diet a cleanse and a wellness journey rather than an act of female obedience (at best) or orthorexia (at worst).
It’s striving to be in a good mood and calling it a spiritual journey.
It’s pursuing upward mobility and Mammon – good for you! me too! – but calling that a spiritual journey, too.
It’s refusing to watch the news or mainstream media lest it taint your positive vibe.
It’s abstaining from fraught, unwinnable and wildly necessary conversations about race and justice because you don’t want to be a drag. Or, even worse, impolite.
It’s thinking you can be the change and that’s good enough.
It’s insisting that everything in your life is the sum of your personal choices and that there aren’t any systemic barriers or lubricants slowing or speeding your roll.
“There’s only two options: One is that men are far, far, far more talented than women and deserve 95% of the top jobs, or the second is that there’s systematic bias. Those are the options. Pick one.”
It’s never mentioning that the reason women – and especially black women – start their own businesses is because the corporate workplace still fails to see them as competent and offer them fair pay, promotions and family-friendly policies.
It’s teaching women entrepreneurs that success means using the predatory internet marketing practices developed by pick-up artists and patriarchs.
It’s justifying using manipulative marketing and sales techniques by saying “But it works…”.
It’s conflating personal financial freedom with collective liberation.
It’s seeking transformation and empowerment for yourself but not the world.
It’s claiming to change the world but staying silent while Ferguson and Baltimore burn.
It’s championing self-care as a revolutionary practice without ever mentioning Audre Lorde or bell hooks.
It’s smudging and weight-loss salons marketed as “urban sweat lodges” and white lady shamans who don’t do shit for indigenous peoples.
It’s preaching and teaching empowerment, a distinctly feminist goal, while saying feminism is “flawed” or finished or “the pendulum has swung too far” and distancing yourself from it.
It’s courses teaching women how to be women.
It’s the problem that has no name and the iron maiden all rolled into one and reloaded.
It’s The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand and it’s yet another ideology of ideal femininity being sold to us by the women entrepreneurs and leaders we most admire, trust and hire.
And all of us – sellers and buyers – can do better than this.
Let’s do better.
I’m writing a book about The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. If you want updates- and it would thrill me if you do – you can sign up for them here: http://www.kellydiels.com/subscribe/.