“Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gangbang while somehow maintaining a size 2… Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry… and let their men do whatever they want… Shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.” -Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Society needs a new definition of ‘cool girl’, one that is as far as possible from what author Gillian Flynn portrayed in her bestseller Gone Girl. Flynn’s term ‘cool girl’ describes women who do everything they can to not appear like the typical female, with the intention of molding themselves into whatever men want them to be. “Cool girls” often look down on women who show the slightest bit of emotion, calling them “unstable” and “crazy.” They hate all things “feminine” and pride themselves on being one of the “boys.” At the end of the day, cool girls are an immature man’s fantasy. These girls are young, badass and sexy. They agree with everything their man says and only open their mouths in the bedroom. These girls don’t bat an eye at their partner’s unfaithfulness and proudly boast about how mature he is for staying best friends with his ex. They enjoy cars and beer and sports and all things “manly.” She laughs along with her man’s friends when they make degrading jokes and doesn’t care that she is the target of them. She never gets mad or shows any negative emotion. When she fights with her man, she is the one to apologize for getting upset at something that he did wrong. There’s no doubt that the “cool girl” persona is the worst form of internalized misogyny. Anyone can tell you that living like this is dangerous because when you pretend to be someone you’re not for long enough, the horrific consequences of suppressing your identity will catch up to you.
Don’t lie. We all tried to be the “cool girl” (whether you identify as a girl or not) at least once in our lives. We all tried to pretend to be someone we were not so that we could appear to be more nonchalant or easygoing. We did so not because we were inherently insincere or fake, but simply because we wanted to portray this image that we are not like the rest and that we have qualities that most don’t possess. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to express individuality, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of destroying yourself to please others. Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that there is a way to be a “cool girl” that is not rooted in deep misogyny or the subconscious desire for validation from the ones around you. This reclaimed meaning of “cool girl” comes from the genuine place of wanting to be a better person and accepting life for what it is.
The founding father of the original “cool girls” was Zeno of Citium, the founder of the philosophical tradition known as Stoicism. When we think of a stoic person, we think of someone who remains calm under pressure and avoids showing extreme emotions. However, there is more to stoicism than just appearing calm. Philosophically, it is understanding that the world around us works in a sequence of cause and effect based on the thoughts and actions of ourselves and others. The whole point is to internalize that you can’t control anything except yourself. This mindset allows people to peacefully navigate through their lives without displaying much negative emotion or complaint. One might argue that just like “cool girls,” stoics suppress their emotions in order to appear more calm and nonchalant to the world. However, the stoic response might be that, as human beings, we are not exempt from feeling negative emotions such as anger, sadness, disappointment or frustration. The whole point, however, is to learn how to stabilize and control our emotions. Because once someone masters emotional control, they will not only learn to calmly deal with unpleasant situations, but most importantly let go of their ego. In relationships, we sometimes find ourselves with the wrong person or perhaps notice a pattern of toxic and immature partners. The blunt reality is that we cannot control these people or why they are the way they are. However, we have control over the most important thing: ourselves. This allows us to make the decision of leaving behind what is not right for us. Sometimes the best choice to make out of love is to not fight back, but to walk away. You are not this person’s parent or therapist. It’s not your job to stick around and “save” them. You can’t fix everyone, nor can you fit into everyone’s mold of what they expect you to be. The whole point is to let go and accept life with an “it is what it is” mindset because the more you try to control and micromanage the outcome of a certain situation, the less happy you will be.
The reborn stoic “ cool girl” is an umbrella term for all sexes and gender identities. They live their life with one purpose: being a good human being. But most importantly, they have an incredibly high degree of self-respect. They don’t owe anything to anyone but also hold others to the same standard. These “cool girls” put themselves and their happiness first and are not afraid to leave behind the people who are not good for them. They don’t know of any immature or toxic men because their self-worth is too high to associate with people like that. They are confident, radiant and they don’t need others to validate that. Cool girl doesn’t care about the thoughts, feelings or opinions of others because they acknowledge that these things are out of their control. Cool girl is their own best friend. They don’t base their lives off pleasing others because they don’t need a relationship to complete them. They jam hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and beer into their mouths not to impress the ones around them but because they feel like it. They are loving, peaceful and understanding because they know that there is more to this life than its anomalies. They are non-judgemental and the choices of others do not concern them because they are aware of the fact that we cannot control anything in our lives except ourselves. Most importantly, they are aware that they aren’t perfect and that they’ll never be. But they sure as hell try to wake up every single morning and be the best version of themselves. After all, they are what they are: A cool. Freaking. Girl.