If you follow a lot of mocktresses on Instagram (like I do), you’ll see the hashtag #girlboss tossed around a lot, along with homages to Sophia Amoruso’s book of the same name. And of course there was the Ban Bossy PSA from 2014 with people like Jennifer Garner and Beyoncé talking about banning the word bossy and daring to be ambitious.
So it’s all about being a boss and not being called bossy. And that’s where we find Jessica Alba, who is focusing on her billion-dollar brand, The Honest Co., along with managing a 300+ employees, expanding product lines and being taken seriously as a businesswoman.
In a new interview with More (with excerpts from US Weekly), she talks about her management style. She makes people cry. She’s a hard-ass. Is it that much of an accomplishment to reduce people to tears when they rely on you for a paycheque? Is this what being a “boss” is about? Is this the aspiration, to be able to make your underlings cry?
Because that’s what we’re supposed to know about Jessica: she’s such a rigid controlling workaholic that she just has to have her things her way all the time, and she will fight for that. She’s been marketing herself her whole life, she says, and representing other people’s products. Now she wants to tell us she’s in charge of everything, which is great. But how many profiles of founders contain such specific descriptions on the décor, the workplace outfit and a living succulent wall? This one does. Perhaps it’s the new way of looking at running a company; you can care as much about the ambiance as you do about the bottom line. But what’s the point of having a serene office if your employees are hiding in the bathroom crying.
She also talks a little bit about working alongside male partners and mentions that when one of her ideas doesn’t land they take it home and talk about it with their wives. Um, isn’t that extremely condescending? She’s a founder of a company and she needs her partners’ wives to back-up her ideas? Like if the idea gets more than two vagina votes, it must be good! That is what she should be fighting (and who she should be fighting) - the idea that women’s ideas have to be validated by committee. When, as a founder, she has an equal say at the table, it’s much more powerful than reducing a marketing assistant to tears.
Isn’t that why she has all but walked away from acting – because she had no control over it? That seems to be at least part of the impetus for starting her own company. At this point, it seems like films are basically a distant memory for her, and considering she likes making people cry but could never muster that kind of emotion from her performances, this is a sage choice. She also refers to her former life as a “vacation” – maybe because she had a lot of time off between roles? Or perhaps her roles weren’t quite as challenging. I don’t think actors are coal miners, but the ones who work a lot, and do good work, are certainly not on a permanent vacation.
As for motherhood (it isn’t a Jessica Alba interview without some mention of parenting), well she couldn’t stay home and bake chocolate chip cookies all day. Who stays home and bakes chocolate chip cookies these days? Not stay at home moms, not working moms, not childfree women, not anyone. It’s reductive. Don’t put me in a box, but you, stay at home mom, you stay home and bake chocolate chip cookies all day. I’ll go be a boss. But please try my new gluten-free tampons!
Click here to read the full interview.