We’re all familiar with the Girlboss: the take-charge, no-nonsense woman who controls her own destiny and claws her way to the top. You know, like the infinitely likable Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada! While the idea started out as empowering, it gradually took on a critical tone, pointing to women who push their own agenda at the expense of others. (Do “boybosses” get the same flack that girlbosses do? Hmm.)
These days, calling someone a girlboss has a definite cringey tone to it, but never fear—now we can celebrate girlfailures!
Twitter user @xforceapologist put out a call for people to name their favorite girlfailures. “just an absolute loser of a female character. more women who suck!!!!!”
I mean, let’s face it: Dumpster fires are much more fun and relatable than badasses. (That isn’t to say a dumpster fire can’t also be a badass. But there has to be balance. I myself love a character with a ratio of 2:1 dumpster fire to badass—you know, they can whip out that badassery when needed, but overall they’re a lovable mess.) We may aspire to be badasses, but we see ourselves much more clearly in dumpster fires.
So which characters made the list? Here are some of the top contributions!
First up is Cindy Moon, a.k.a. Silk, from Spider-Man. A lot of users were confused about how Silk qualifies as a girlfailure, but user @hylianhawkeye explains that she qualifies because of her questionable problem solving skills.
Then there’s Pam Beesly from The Office, who’s living out every girl’s dream of being a receptionist for a paper company. As a former receptionist for an industrial food manufacturer, I identify with Pam hard.
Or how about Birdie Jay from Glass Onion, who manages to be a millionaire and STILL an absolute loser?
Lydia Tár also made the list. If you know, you know.
A lot of people—I mean a LOT of people—nominated Sweet Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Lord, that women DEFINES “girlfailure.”
Of course, no one said that someone couldn’t nominate more than one girlfailure, so some people put in multiple names. Elaine from Seinfeld? Fleabag? YES. Grace from Will and Grace? I didn’t watch enough of that show to weigh in, so I’ll take this person’s word for it.
Misato from Evangelion is a girlfailure for the ages. She girlfails right into the apocalypse!
I, of course, submitted my own personal favorite girlfailure, Ava from Hacks. Here she is, high on molly, after getting kicked off a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean.
Liz Lemon didn’t appear on the list, but come on, she’s a mess for the ages.
It’s interesting that the majority of the characters on the list seems to be white women. Not all of them are, but what does it say about which female characters are given the space to be girlfailures, and which aren’t? What does it say about the space that white characters take up in general?
Those are good questions to ponder, but in the meantime, at least we can bask in these fabulous failures. We are them, and they are us. And maybe they can convince us that we’re lovable despite (or because of?) our flaws. Go check out the full thread to see more!
(featured image: 20th Television)
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