The idea of burnout is nothing new. When COVID-19 struck, women, particularly moms, were left to navigate the “triple burden” of paid labor at work, unpaid labor at home and the emotional labor of navigating all of that plus what was going on in the world at large. Good times.
But, in truth, this “doing it all” mentality had been brewing for some time, thanks to the rise and fall of the #girlboss, the Sheryl Sandberg ethos of leaning in and the overall culture of non-stop productivity and achievement. Heck, the former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously worked from her hospital bed the same day she gave birth to twins.
The message: As women, our ambition has no limits. You say jump, we say how high!
Enter the Soft Girl. This TikTok-born trend is a deep-rooted rejection of the desire and determination to achieve. Burning the candle at both ends—sacrificing ourselves and our personal aspirations—just to snag the corner office, which ultimately leads to even more burnout and perhaps even a fall from grace at the height of success, as experienced by so many female leaders in the 2010s? No thanks.