August 1, 2013

Quote to know #3: Gone Girl

If you haven't read Gone Girl, get out. Just kidding. But seriously, it's been out for like a year and they’re making a movie about it. At least read this one part that, I think, MADE the book:

That night at the Brooklyn party, I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. 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.
I waited patiently—years—for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we'd say, Yeah, he's a Cool Guy.

But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl. Men believed she existed—she wasn't just a dreamgirl one in a million. Every girl was supposed to be this girl, and if you weren't, then there was something wrong with you.

Finished? Good.

K, I've been called cool girl by men aplenty. (Not humblebragging, hear me out.) Each time I had been called cool girl, there was always, always, always something that bothered me about it. I mean, it’s always cool to be called cool, but when it came from a dude, it never felt right. I couldn’t figure out what it was for the longest time. Until this passage. And I knew.

The only times men called me cool was when I did what they liked, drink beer, talk comics, play playstation, eat meat off the bone, your stereotypically male things. In this context, I wasn't cool because I just was. I was cool because I was being less like a girl.

I don’t know if I’d be called cool if I was painting on pastel lacquer, whimpering over a boy who hadn’t texted me back last night, downing Frülis. Because I do that too. Am I not cool then, when I'm being "girly"? 

It's silly that some silly things feel defined by gender lines. No one would ever doubt how much a guy liked beer, or hockey, or comics. Why would they ever doubt how much I liked them? It's funny not funny that this heteronormative femininity is constantly pushed on us, then used against us. 

I hate that girls are loved more the further away they are from who they really are. It’s not a good message to send to girls. Or to guys looking for girls. I can’t count the number of times a well-meaning man tried to teach me how hockey worked so that he could mould me into a cool girl, whether he knew it or not. Because fuck, I know how hockey works. Puck goes in net. Point won. Pass the chips.

There are too many girls who put too much hope into being one type of girl, convinced that being this one type will garner male approval. That KILLS me. Unless you really, really like anal and jamming hot dogs (that's two different things, btw), power to you. But if you don’t care for those things, that’s just facts and nothing else. You are not a walking checklist of men’s favourite things.

As a girl, heck as anybody, we see ourselves through other people's eyes, which keeps us boxed into tiny definitions of what we can be. Reject the cool girl trope if it makes you feel more like you, I don't know. All I know, as someone who's been spoon fed tons of fibre-rich feminism, is that a girl is just about the coolest thing to be.