Samantha Smythe was once just an average COM student. That was before a fellow PR student DMed her on Instagram (name redacted for obvious reasons), before the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester. The message went as follows:
“Hey girly! *hand waving emoji* I know this is super random, since we haven’t talked since orientation, but I am having a real moment of bravery here. *pink sparkly heart emoji* Have you considered having a side hustle? *arm muscle flex emoji* F*CK It Won’t Cut It is BU’s newest social media campaign. We are student-run group looking for more #girlbosses to join our #girlgang. Would you be interested in hearing more about it? *pink heart with arrow emoji*”
This message marked the beginning of the most stressful period in Smythe’s life.
“I cannot believe I even responded. To be honest, I thought this would just be one of those clubs you join and then never have to do anything after the first meeting. Boy was I wrong,” said Smythe.
Most of Smythe’s fall semester was spent recruiting for FIWCI Looking for more #girlbosses to recruit. It was an intense time commitment. She was required to spend at least 15 hours a week monitoring social media: she combed through the Instagram of every girl at BU she could find, taking note of what they posted, and then if they fit the bill, DMing them a pre-formatted message.
Smythe and her fellow FIWCI #girlbosses were also forced to pay monthly dues of $35, as they were told it was an investment they would not regret. If they wanted to move up a level or become an executive member, they had to front more money. Due to her embarrassment, Smythe would not comment on how much she paid. However, it should be noted that she reached level 33.
Despite being at one of the top universities in the nation, none of these #girlbosses really knew who was in charge, nor did they ever think to question it. They loved FIWCI, as it was the epitome of true #girlboss and #hustle culture: a preview for the corporate world.
Smythe said, “I never really could put my finger on who was in charge. Everyone I asked said they had been recruited by a different person. Along with the dues we paid, the more people we recruited, the higher we would be ranked.”
When she went home for winter break, she told her family about her experience with FIWCI. Smythe’s parents immediately caught on to the pyramid scheme tactics being employed. She was a little lost, until her father drew her an actual pyramid.
“I was like ‘Oh my god, I am in an MLM,’ like how could I be so blind to it? I cannot believe I spent all my money that I had saved from working last summer, to pay dues and recruit people for a club that was recruiting people,” said Smythe.
When she came back from her break, in January, she quit FIWCI. She was very proud to have “escaped” the #girlgang that was FIWCI.
We tried to contact Smythe, in order to find out how she is spending her free time this semester. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so. Her roommate told us Smythe is now a member of the Church of Scientology and has joined the Sea Org.