BY RUBY GORDON//
“Did you Girl Boss today?” is a frequently asked question in my household. The back of my front door has post-it notes stating “Did you Girl Boss today?” with daily tally marks saying either “yes” or “no.” (So far there is only one tally mark answering the above question in the negative.) Girl Bossing has become a way of life for me and my three roommates. Wearing a ponytail? We will cry out, “The ponytail is the powerhouse of the Boss Babe!” Drinking something? We call that “Girl Boss Fuel.” Who is the Girl-Boss-in-Chief? Vice-President Kamala Harris. Who is the top Girl Boss? Nikki Haley, of course. (I write this as Nikki Haley smiles at me from my signed copy of her memoir With All Due Respect. The book is either used as a coaster on our living room coffee table or is used to prop up our copy of The Communist Manifesto.)
I have to admit, all this girl-bossing is done entirely with a smirk on our faces while our intersectional leftist/feminist politics linger over our core beliefs. In my opinion, Girl Goss feminism is a bit antiquated in 2021, but the Girl Boss empowerment energy continues to drive me forward in my everyday life.
That brings us to the topic of this column: three songs that make me feel like a modern intersectional Girl Boss; but the caveat is that I am emotional and “indie.” Meaning: I need emotionally raging introspective songs to make me feel powerful and to make me embrace my inner Boss Babe.
I think my first encounter with my emotional indie Girl Boss persona was when I heard Courtney Barnett playing on NPR. Her song “Nameless, Faceless” echoed through the speakers of my mom’s car and made me feel so exposed. In the first verse, Courtney Barnett sings to an unnamed angsty man saying, “Don’t you have anything better to do // I wish that someone could hug you // Must be lonely // Being angry // Feeling overlooked // You sit alone at home in the darkness // With all the pent-up rage that you harness //I’m real sorry // ‘Bout whatever happened to you.” The chorus revolves around her describing how all she wants to do is walk through a park at night. The chorus lyrics “Men are scared that women will laugh at them // Women are scared that women will kill them,” especially stand out to me. Paired with the first verse, the chorus offers a stark perspective to the portrait Courtney paints of a sad, lonely man with no emotional awareness, while in the chorus she cuts straight to the chase of “Women are scared that men will kill them.” Courtney Barnett has Girl Bossed.
The second song is “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers. Maggie Rogers wrote “Alaska” after a pivotal visit to Alaska. I find this song powerful because she completely bares her soul, saying, “Cut my hair so I could rock back and // Forth without thinking of you // Learn to talk and say whatever I wanted to // And I walked off you // And I walked off an old me.” I personally connect with the feeling of release after cutting my hair. I recently did the same thing to mark a new era of my life. The line “Learn to talk and say whatever I wanted to” is somewhat of a mantra for me. This new era of my life is going to be marked with complete and utter clarity. I am going to set boundaries, express my needs, and tell people what I need them to know. I am walking off an old me and into a new me. I am going
to help myself be a better person and in turn hopefully do the same for others. Maggie Rogers has Girl Bossed.
The final song is “Nobody” by Mitski. “Nobody” is a synth-y jazzy track centered around the feeling of alienation and loneliness. With any other rhythm and beat, “Nobody” would probably be one of the saddest songs of the decade. In the song, Mitski grapples with feeling alone and dealing with questions of “did I ask too much?” and “did I make myself too small?” Personally, I constantly grapple with whether I made myself too big, shrunk myself to make others more comfortable, or asked too much of people around me. She closes the song by saying “Nobody // Nobody // Nobody // Still nobody wants me.” You can hear the pain in her voice, yet as she cries out over her loneliness I feel less alone. Mitski has Girl Bossed.
All three of these songs are from women whose words have helped form me into who I am today, and help me be the best Girl Boss I can be. After all, the biggest Girl Bosses are the ones who let their confidence overflow and completely trust in themselves. These songs don’t disappoint.