Miranda Priestly Is Not A Villain, She’s A Boss

meryl streep the devil wears prada

For those of you who don’t know who Miranda Priestly is — she is the infamous “evil” boss from “The Devil Wears Prada”. The film is a screen adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel of the same name. Now… ten years have gone by since its theatrical release.

The story is pretty cliché. Nonetheless, quite enjoyable: a fresh college graduate (Andy Sachs) lands a job as an assistant to a demanding editor-in-chief (Miranda Priestly) of a high fashion magazine. Fun fact? Some people say that her character is based on Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of American Vogue). The book itself was written from the point of view of someone who worked for her. Meryl Streep and Hanne Hathaway were the two ladies chosen to play Andy and Miranda in the silver screen.

In my opinion, “The Devil Wears Prada” was highly successful and managed to craft its own place in pop culture because it resonates. Maybe Andy Sachs is an easier character to relate to than Miranda Priestly. But in my opinion, Miranda is just one misunderstood character — she’s not really evil. What? Let me explain myself: in my eyes, Miranda is just an incredibly busy boss. She’s highly demanding because she’s doing her job. In the workplace, just as in life, not everything is black or white. Sometimes people are not really evil, just misunderstood.

Getting A Job And Doing A Good Job

Let’s break it down a little bit more. What do fresh college graduates yearn for? Well, most of them will say — to get a job. For a lot of people, getting a job represents the first step towards getting some financial independence and work experience. In the academic world, if we study hard and get good grades — we tend to get a “great job” stamp of approval from professors while we earn respect from our peers as well. In the workplace, nothing is set in stone. One can be the most dedicated employee, but our efforts may not always acknowledged. However, being congratulated for doing a “good job” doesn’t help much either — people are supposed to do their jobs well. As I see it, too much positive reinforcement in the workplace or any other place is pretty much like getting a “participation” award.

Being A Boss In A Man’s World

I understand how easy it is to label someone like Miranda Priestly as an evil boss. I mean, on the outside she’s cold as ice, she doesn’t smile, she’s not be empathetic… overall, she’s not “nice”. But I asked myself and I want to invite you all to do the same: what if Miranda was a man? Would people still label her as a mean “bitch” boss? Why are we holding different standards for men and women when it comes to leadership styles? If I had to bet, I would say that if Miranda was a man, she wouldn’t be getting this much heat for her actions and behaviour. To sum it up:

female boss + assertive personality + high ambitions + rough leadership style = mean “bitch” boss

male boss + assertive personality + high ambitions + rough leadership style = boss

Can you see the difference? This is why we need more Mirandas in the workplace. Yes! Women that don’t worry about what others think of her. Women that are not afraid to speak up. Women that are not afraid to be assertive. Women that are not afraid to do their job. That’s right, Miranda Priestly is not an evil woman that preys on her poor employees. Oh no… she’s just a boss who happens to be a woman.

In conclusion, being a boss is not easy. If you are a female boss, then “may the force be with you”.