It's not easy being both a lady and a boss, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom understands this. It's why in the Bloom's "#Ladyboss" music video, the creator and star of feminist and inclusive Crazy Ex-Girlfriend points out that "being a boss is empowering, but also kind of weird." That's because it often feels as if the system is working against women who want to be tough, but don't want to be portrayed as difficult. It's as if we as women are in constant conflict with ourselves, making us all want to go and cry into our Ruth Bader Ginsburg pillow. Luckily, Bloom has made an honest and hilarious anthem for the post-Lean In generation (and for Vanity Fair's first Founders Fair on April 20, which celebrates female entrepreneurs) that gets real about what it's really like to be a woman in charge.
While just getting the top position is a lot of work, the actor shows that there's a lot of things that go along with being in charge. In fact, she puts it all out there in the "#Ladyboss" chorus, which says, "I want you to do what I want, but let me say this in a nice way." Of course, as the boss, we're not supposed to care what anyone else thinks, right? But we still can't help but wonder, "Do you think I’m a b*tch?/Well, I don’t give a sh*t!/But if I do give a sh*t, does that make me weak?" The internal struggle is very real.
It seems that any time a woman comes into power, she's faced with the likability problem that all women face. Just ask Hillary Clinton, who was a New York State Senator and Secretary Of State, but, for some, just wasn't likable enough to be president. You can chalk this up to gender stereotyping, which allows men to be celebrated for being tough and pugnacious, while women get labeled "difficult," "selfish" or "abrasive." You know, unlikable.
In 2016, Vox wrote about a study from Harvard Business School, which looked at the connection between warmth and competence in the workplace when it comes to gender. The study asked people to examine qualified job candidates whose only difference was their gender. In the end, researchers found that "female candidates were as equally competent to their male counterparts, but they’re perceived as much colder." They call this the "backlash" phenomenon, where women who are in charge of male-dominated workplaces are met with negativity for defying gender norms.
Sometimes, women in these workplaces also can't help but participate in this kind of negativity, concerned that, if there's one lady boss, there can't be another. Or, as Bloom's perceived work nemesis explains, "deep down, I just think your success means my failure." That's internalized misogyny for you. It's certainly something Bloom would like to unpack — preferably without Derek butting in, because it's something all women should want to see corrected.
What Bloom makes clear is enough is enough. It's time for all the working ladies out there to raise their tampons proud and unite for a world where lady bosses can be whatever kind of boss they are. Women aren't each other's enemies; they're the support system that will eventually force some serious change at the top of the corporate ladder.