The Myth Of The “Cool Girl” And How It’s Hurting All Of Us

For the past few years I’ve been what some people may call – overly emotional. Since tackling my anxiety and depression, I have since become less emotional, but I still feel things very deeply, and often feel the need to express myself.

I have, for years now, worked to justify why I feel the way I do, or why I emotionally speak out, or fight, or react, when I am upset – because I get criticized for doing so.

I’ve also worked very hard to conceal these feelings and emotions, afraid to appear weak, vulnerable or the worst label of all – “crazy” – for being “too open” or sharing “too much”.

This is especially true when it comes to my romantic interactions with men. When my very first love broke my heart, I totally lost it. I cried publically, called him and yelled, I showed up at his house in front of his friends, I spoke honestly about the demise of his character to others, and whenever we came across each other – there was almost a guaranteed breakdown.

Following those reactions, I was considered by many peers as chaotic, unpredicatable and again, that rude word, “crazy” – all because I didn’t bite my tongue after being treated very badly by a man who did me wrong at the time.

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Years later, and after many more bumpy romantic pursuits and experiences, I can admit that in those moments, my anger and naivety got the best of me… but the man I loved had broken my heart by betraying my trust and I didn’t know how to just silently deal with how excruciatingly painful that was.

Now when I go through a break up, I’m much more private and composed, because yes, I’ve matured, but also because I’m afraid to say how I really feel.

I’m afraid to show how I really feel because I never want to again experience the embarrassment that I felt when shamed for speaking my mind about how I felt all those years ago. I also don’t want to “scare” other men away by standing up for myself too loudly – because I’ve now been conditioned by a society that tells me: emotions aren’t attractive, being “cool” and passive is attractive.

This brings me to discuss the idea of the “cool girl” and just how damaging this concept is to us all.

My basic understanding of the “cool girl” is as follows:

– She hangs with the guys.
– She drinks beer, eats wings.
– She’s naturally hot, thin, with sexy, long, hair.
– She’ll play/watch sports.
– Loves sex.

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And ok, that’s all fine… but here’s where it gets relevant to this article….

– She NEVER over-reacts
– She’s completely agreeable.
– She doesn’t complain.
– She isn’t emotional.
– She never acts “crazy”.

…..and if she’s got all that = She’s COOL!!!

There it is folks, the CRAZY expectation of the “cool girl”, or in other words, a mindless robot.

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I think Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL really says it best:

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. 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 gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

 Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)”

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

Damn. Right?

As Gillian basically says, us girls are getting totally fucked over and kept quiet by the pressure of this concept. We’re expected to keep all of our emotions together, conceal our “crazy”, and shut the hell up, just to please our male partner – to keep him interested and not afraid. We’re suppose to live our lives, just to make HIM happy. And even better THAT’S what makes us “strong”.

What the actual fuck?!!?

I was recently inspired to finally write about this topic by The Bachelor and Bachelor In Paradise alumn Ashley Iaconetti – the one the world is calling: “the girl that is always crying.”

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While the world, and the show’s editors continuously mock Ashley I for her emotions, my (likely unpopular) opinion is that Ashley is the only honest and genuine person on this freaking show.

Ashley recently took to her own blog and instagram to call out producers for pushing her into situations and conversations that they know would make her upset – make her break down – and ultimately help the show to gain viewers and better ratings…. which is gross.

Yes, I do enjoy the Bachelor – guilty as charged, but I’m glad a strong female contestant is finally speaking the truth about (especially reality TV) editing and the portrayal of the weak, “crazy” woman.

Here’s some back story if you don’t watch the show:
After being flung into a love triangle on “Bachelor in Paradise,” with the guy she still loves and use to date, Jared, and Jared’s new girl Caila, Ashley obviously becomes very upset. For the next few weeks in Paradise, Ashley, who is trying to get over Jared, has to watch him make out with new girl Caila = Reality tv gold. (Yes, producers set this up.) And let me tell you, Ashley’s tears got the most air time out of anyone – because SHOCKER, the world seems to be fixated on mocking the “unpredictable” “emotional” “crazy” girl who seemingly can’t get her shit together.

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Let’s continue….

Once having left the show, and having watched the show as it aired (post dramatic editing that makes Ashley look really bad) Ashley posted a video on her instagram account, where a male friend of hers goes on a rant to explain the exact same thing I’ve been trying to articulate for a while now…. here’s what he had to say. (edited for clarity)

“People have said oh [Ashley’s] crazy, because [being] “cool” is more important than feeling… because feeling is the enemy ”

“Do you realize how fucked up that is, how inhumane that is? To live your life like that?”

“You cant actually have any real relationships if you live like if you step off of those egg shells you’re going to be given a big red “A” on your jacket because you said something real, because you were honest about the way you feel.”

“So you get labeled like that on that fucking show, and that’s really sad, because it’s emotion shaming.”

“It’s like the more you feel the crazier you must be.”

Ashley accompanied this video with the following caption, explaining the pairs intriguing concept of an #EmotionalRevolution:

ashley_iaconetti : Being a “cool girl” is so overrated. Do yourself and this world a favor and the next time you feel something strongly, be fearless and express it. Watch the full video of Blaise explaining our concept of an #EmotionalRevolution @missyou_music #StopEmotionShaming

This whole idea really spoke to me – emotion shaming.

For women, too much emotion makes us = CRAZY

& for men, showing too much emotion make them = WEAK or FEMININE… (Which is a whole other article/ travesty in itself – male readers, please watch the documentary THE MASK YOU LIVE IN (see below)… this film sums up all my thoughts on how fucked up it is that society suppresses male emotions.)

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So, as I try my best to conclude this lengthy, EMOTIONAL, but not CRAZY, post, I’d like to invite you to think about this topic and to start to discuss it with others… because it can be insanely harmful to shame people for showing emotions when they feel something deeply, when they choose to be brave, and when let their guards down…

Suppressing people for feeling whatever it is that they feel, can lead them into abusive, explosive, depressive, and anxious lives…

We deserve a chance to be honest, to be open, and to be understanding – to stop trying so hard to protect our “cool” images.

We need an emotional revolution  where people stop pretending and start getting really fucking real – and we’re the only one’s who can start it.

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