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The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand: We Can Do Better

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Written by Kelly Diels

The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand: We Can Do Bette

What is The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand and ’empowermyth’?

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.

Sheryl Sandberg broke it down for a room of thousands of people – mostly men – like this:

“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 systemic 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 and the mythical norm all rolled into one and reloaded.

It’s empowermyth and The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand (FLEB) 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.

Because we are the culture makers.

———-

I’m writing a book about empowermyth and The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. If you want updates- and it would thrill me if you do – you can sign up for them here: https://kellydiels.wpengine.com/subscribe.


Here’s a list of some of my essays about The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand:

  1. The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. An introduction. This is my first essay on FLEB (Jan 2016). It sketched out the rough pattern I’m observing in the media and presentation of significant personal online brands founded by women.
  2. Not Enough Compensation in the World. A Rather Long Note on the Cultural Context of  FLEB.
  3. Why I’m Writing About The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand
  4. The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand: We Can Do Better
  5. On the ‘Mental Triggers’ of Online Marketing, The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand, Assessing Who Deserves Your Money, and Why We Should Be Skeptical of Makeover Stories
  6. Liking Someone Can Be Terrible Information
  7. Ivanka Trump is Calling All White Women
  8. The Language of Activism, Feminism and Revolution is Not For Sale
  9. How To Sell Without Selling Out Justice
  10. Me and The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. The Personal Backstory.
  11. Let’s Get Off This Ride and Get Justice
  12. Empowerment Chapters for The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand

ONE MORE THING: If you’ve read all this, and you’re a media-making entrepreneur thinking, shit, now what?…

You’re not alone. I’m wrestling with this too and so are lots of other socially conscious business owners. To that end, I’ve got some FREE “How Not To Be A Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand” marketing tips for culture makers that might help with reshaping your marketing and media so that it does not perpetuate FLEB. Check them out here.

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I write them so that…

  1. You remember your culture-making power
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