No more hustle culture, where employees devote themselves completely to their job. A growing number of workers aspire to a slower pace of work to ensure a better balance between their professional and personal lives. This phenomenon contributes to the appearance of “snail girls”, these professionals who prioritize their own development rather than their career.
This English expression was first used by Australian entrepreneur Sienna Ludbey in an article published in Fashion Journal in September. She explains how she became a “snail girl”, five years after launching her brand of bags, purses and key rings with a vintage aesthetic. “The “snail girl” refers to women who prioritize their well-being and happiness over overwork. For me, “snail girl” isn’t about taking a vacation or stopping work altogether. I love what I do and the amazing community that supports my brand. It’s just about taking the time to remind myself not to be so hard on myself, to have a work/life balance and to stop comparing my journey to that of others.” she told the magazine.
Internet users became familiar with the term “snail girl” after Fashion Journal shared Sienna Ludbey’s testimony on TikTok. One of the magazine’s editors, Maggie Zhou, declared in this publication that “snail girls” stand in opposition to “girl bosses”. The phrase gained popularity in the 2010s through Sophia Amoruso, founder of clothing brand Nasty Gal and author of a book providing advice on being a powerful businesswoman. It was then taken up by the women’s press to talk about female leadership.
@fashionjournalmagazine The era of the snail girl is here!! 🐌 FJ Branded Content and Features Editor @Maggie Zhou chats through the Founder of @Hello Sisi Gift Shop’s article on slowing down and rejecting hustle culture #fashionindustry #productivity #hustleculture #capitalism #fashionjournalmagazine ♬ original sound – Fashion Journal Magazine
Slow down to get better
However, younger generations are increasingly critical of the figure of the ambitious “girl boss”. They campaign for the emergence of alternative models, less productivist and more focused on personal well-being. Because reports agree that employee morale is at its lowest. 72% say they have an unhealthy relationship with their work, according to a survey conducted by HP among 12,000 office workers around the world. They feel that their career occupies far too important a place in their lives, which affects their physical and mental health.
It is in this context of dissatisfaction that the concept of “snail girls” fits. It finds particular resonance with TikTok users since the hashtag #snailgirl has 1.7 million views on the social network. The videos in which he appears show, for the most part, the daily routine of young women who call themselves “snail girls”. It’s all about slowness, taking care of yourself and calming down.
Except that it is not always easy to take your foot off the gas with complete peace of mind. Work culture is often based on the belief that “the more you do, the better you are.” Adopting a snail’s pace in the office can potentially slow down the career development of “snail girls” who have made this choice. But not put a definitive end to it, according to professional coach Natalie Trice. “Slowing down isn’t about ending your career and dreams, it’s about making time for other things,” she told Fortune magazine. “This does not diminish women’s ambitions; on the contrary, it shows that work does not have to be a constant struggle to prove one’s worth, especially to the detriment of everything else in life“.