“She’s so gentle and real.” “She’s such a cool-headed girl.” During the prime of some “real” female celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, it was very common to talk about women in this way. I saw this “cool personality” as a level worth striving to attain. But then, I became so caught up with attempting to be a “Cool Girl,” so much that I lost my true self.
Back in high school, I always believed a “figure-8” shape was the ideal for womanhood. However, this isn’t true, even though I wasn’t satisfied with not having wide hips. I tried to make up for not having a “womanly shape,” which was self-perceived, by acting in ways that most would consider as “girly.”
Whenever I was hanging out with my friends, we would try on several outfits, take webcam photos, and stare at one another in the mirror, making remarks about ourselves. Of course, we discussed life, though I wasn’t able to talk about all that was essential to me.
When I went to college and made new friends, I became comfortable sharing issues with them on subjects which made my old friends shy away. A few days after New Students Orientation, I found myself opening up to friends about how I had been struggling with a biracial identity. We discussed inter-sectional feminism, society, and every other topic which crossed our minds.
And then I dropped the entire “hyper-girly” thing. I was glad about the gradual changes because many parts of the “feminine” demeanor had not reflected my true self. I was soon striving to be a girl much “like a guy.” I was trying to ensure that I was being as “real” as possible.
I started fabricating a hard personality, in spite of my habits. I bragged about loving beer more than any other drink. I used the word “dude” many times. I went out without makeup, in sweatpants. I did not want to look “fake.” “Fakeness” became “girly” stuff for me. I developed a wrong mindset, placing “coolness” and femininity on, and I had a goal always to be the “cool girl.”
I later discovered that I had given too much concern about what men thought about me. Initially, I thought by engaging in feminist acts; I was revolutionary. But really, by giving myself up to another standard entirely, which did not reflect my true self, I was simply getting into another kind of sexist box.
In attempting to be a “Cool Girl,” I claimed that it was negative to act like any other “kind” of woman. I felt it was wrong making fun of anyone who identified as a male for acting in any way “feminine.” Yet, I felt judging a woman for doing this was cool. In summary: it was hypocritical of me.
I am learning to accept who I indeed am, and the fact that not all the qualities I have fit into the idea of what or how a woman is supposed to be, and act. I’m “cool” with going without makeup in public, even though I also love to wear makeup on other occasions.
Whether you think of me as a “cool girl” or not, what is most essential for me is how I perceive myself: a distinguished woman who has got her unique characteristics that cannot be boxed in. And you will agree with me that it wouldn’t be “cool” to sacrifice my true self.