How I realised I’m not Jennifer Lawrence and why being a Cool Girl is uncool and harmful

How I realised I’m not Jennifer Lawrence and why being a Cool Girl is uncool and harmful

JLaw is the ultimate Cool Girl, who every girl wants to be and every guy wants to date – but that’s not really an image we should be striving for


Jennifer Lawrence is the ultimate Cool Girl - she is pretty, funny and talks about wanting to eat fries while wearing a ball gown.
Photo: AFP

The term “Cool Girl” was popularised by Gillian Flynn in her 2012 bestselling novel, Gone Girl. The definition is of a girl that is, simply put, cool. She is brilliant and funny. She loves sports and jokes, can play video games, is super pretty, and is super chilled. Think Jennifer Lawrence. She symbolises the femininity our society celebrates right now – she is gorgeous, but down-to-earth. She talks about wanting to eat fries while wearing a ball gown – the ultimate Cool Girl.

I’ve wanted to be a Cool Girl. I believe my desire to be one came, at first, from a good place. I wanted to live life with a breezy, lighthearted and fun attitude, and to avoid drama and be unfazed by anything. I wanted to combine the best of both genders into one single package of “coolness”. I would be considerate but not clingy, smart but not too political, fun but never too serious, and all about the good times. I would not be a buzzkill.

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Slowly but surely, though, my desire to become a Cool Girl manifested into something pathetic. I became a caricature of a person, a desensitised non-human. If someone said something offensive within earshot, I would pretend I did not hear it. I wouldn’t call them out, or say anything that would expose my unhappiness about what they said. If someone showed me the respect I deserve, I wouldn’t express my gratitude. I’d be chilled even when the reasonable response would be to be annoyed. I’d be too cool to enforce boundaries to protect my self-worth and emotional well-being.

I had become the worst possible form of a people-pleaser, and was putting on a performance for others. The most pitiful part was that I was not even doing it for me – I wasn’t pretending to be the woman I wanted to be, I was just pretending to be the woman others want me to be. In short, I was just being a coward. 

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Being the Cool Girl means that you never really speak your mind, because your opinions are a reflection of someone else’s. You like the same things he likes and do the things he wants to do. You would never suggest going out shopping, or watching a romantic comedy, or having a date at Disneyland because you’re only allowed to be a certain amount of girlie. Girlie enough to look good, but not enough that it becomes uncool. Being the Cool Girl means you never get angry, even when you have every right to be.

In reality, being a Cool Girl only shows how deeply insecure you are, because you would rather pretend everything is normal and good than risk a confrontation that might damage a relationship. Don’t be a Cool Girl. It’s better to wear your heart on your sleeve and be a real person. Don’t let someone else’s happiness matter more than your own.

Edited by Ginny Wong


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