A ‘cool girl’ is a reflection of how some men want women to be; feminine, yet masculine. Always understanding, easy-going and never challenging their opinions. And most importantly, incredibly good-looking.
Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl.Amy Dunne – Gone Girl (origins of the term ‘cool girl’)
Of course, it would be nice to be some of these things. To never care what other people think and be conventionally beautiful. But being a ’ cool girl’ is not only unrealistic but also extremely harmful.
Life’s Too Short
Feeling appreciated feels good. If you find yourself relating to the cool girl trope, chances are, you’re subconsciously trying to conform to these standards. It could be because you were taught your only role is to please men or it’s the safest way to navigate our male-dominant world (thanks, patriarchy). But don’t worry. I know the feeling because I’ve been there. For the record, a cool girl is nothing but a fantasy.
On the surface, cool girls are relatable. They’re sometimes ‘rebellious’ for going against the perfectly feminine image of women who are never caught farting or doing anything less than classy. But the catch is that you’re only a cool girl as long as you never complain and always conform. Sure, you might have your opinions but are they toned down enough to allow you to stay in men’s good graces? And unless you’re exceptionally hot, none of your qualities matter. It’s perfectly fine to hang out with guys, like the same things and look incredible at the same time. But ensure that you’re yourself without seeking anyone’s approval because you deserve so much more than to be someone’s fantasy.
It Doesn’t Keep You Safe From Misogyny
Unfortunately, just because you’re ‘one of the guys’ doesn’t mean you can keep yourself safe from how some men treat women. When I was trying to fit into the cool girl trope, I’ve heard it all; sexist jokes, derogatory comments and misogynistic opinions. It felt comfortable in a way, knowing that I wasn’t the one who was their punchline. But that didn’t help me avoid sexual harassment later down the line.
Eventually, I learned how to call people out and it felt like freedom. By being true to my feelings I was able to connect with my needs and build real bonds with others. Yes, I’d get upset. I was needy at times and showed that I cared when I was dating. But I’m a person, after all. Not a robot and pretending to be devoid of emotions for the sake of validation. It’s just not worth it. I’m no longer a ‘cool girl’ but I can now access my inner strength which is a lot more powerful than ‘keeping up’ with men and their ideas on perfect women.
Lastly, the problem with being a ‘cool girl’ is that it makes it difficult to side with other women. In the era of ‘me too’ movement, it feels impossible to look away. Yet, if you’re trying to fit into a dominantly male environment, for example at work, it’s difficult to speak up. You might subconsciously try not to be ‘like other girls’ and wonder, what if she’s not telling the truth? And even if you don’t, you know that if you voice your opinion or admit that you feel uncomfortable, the image of a cool girl will fall apart in an instant. You may no longer be seen as men’s ‘ally’. But your existence doesn’t have to be justified with agreeability and you deserve respect no matter what your opinions are.
Now, you might be thinking it’s not my place to tell you who you should or shouldn’t be. And you’re right. But remember that it’s important to ask yourself, is this the image of a woman you want to be or the image of a woman you think men want you to be?