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The Dropout, Abbott Elementary and Inventing Anna have turned the "girlboss" into a punchline

  • "ABC’s Abbott Elementary became a smash hit overnight," says Kylie Cheung. "Clips of Amanda Seyfried dancing to Lil Wayne as Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout have gone viral. And we’re collectively addicted to Anna Sorokin’s swindling in Inventing Anna. Indeed, the season of wildly problematic—and equally entertaining—women leads is upon us, and these shows are united in their vicious, hilarious mockery of the once-venerated 'girlboss' figure. Of these shows, only Abbott Elementary is technically a comedy, but each is undeniably, compulsively funny—thanks to the often twisted and cringe-inducing humor of the possibly psychopathic women at the hearts of these shows. As a school principal, billionaire CEO, and faux millionaire heiress respectively, Ava of Abbott Elementary, Holmes in The Dropout, and Anna Sorokin in Inventing Anna, are prototypical renderings of the girlboss: pioneering, at least semi-powerful women who have paved their own ways in a capitalist and patriarchal society. It once seemed unthinkable that a girlboss-like figure would be the punchline of a popular television series—especially not in an ostensibly liberal entertainment industry that’s constantly striving toward more feminist storytelling and representation. Recent cultural shifts in how we understand gender and power have ultimately opened the door to the brutal comedy of these shows, as well as their massive followings."

    TOPICS: The Dropout, Abbott Elementary, Inventing Anna