Even though the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ image gets a bad wrap — and with good reason — there’s a much more problematic stereotype out there. And it’s a much more popular one. That’s right, I’m talking about the Cool Girl. The girl who hangs with the guys, has sex with everyone, apparently has no emotions, chugs beer like a champion, and knows everything there is to know about sports. She probably also knows how to start a barbeque and change a car tire, but she does it all looking like Jessica Simpson circa Dukes of Hazzard. 

But, I hate to break it to you, there’s a big problem with the Cool Girl. The Cool Girl doesn’t exist. The Cool Girl is, in fact, a pile of sexist nonsense. And believing in the Cool Girl — whether you’re a man or a woman — is going to be detrimental to your dating life. So it’s time to let go of the mythical Cool Girl and start looking at the real, amazing women around you.

Don’t believe me? Here’s why the Cool Girl is total nonsense. 

1. What’s cool to one person isn’t cool to everyone else 

“Cool” is in the eye of the beholder. Some people think that keg stands and tailgating are cool, some people think that a midnight showing of Shakespeare is cool — and some people love both. But acting as though there’s a “cool” girl is ridiculous because nobody can be the “cool” girl to everyone. 

2. It’s misogynistic AF 

The “cool” girl is the close cousin of the horrible “you’re not like other girls” line — both of them are suggesting that this particular person is cool, laid back, understanding, but the rest of women are hysterical hyenas frothing at the mouth. It’s sexist and it promotes horrible stereotypes of women being uptight or angry. More than that, it pits women against each other, encouraging them to distance themselves from other women — and paint other women as “uncool”.  You know who’s cool? Every single woman in the world. And we’re not fighting each other for some dumb dude’s approval. 

3. We are women 

We are not girls. We are women. Women. End. Of. Sentence. 

4. It’s unrealistic 

The “cool” girl that men often hold up is a figment of the imagination. It’s someone who never works out but has a six-pack. Drinks like a fish but is never too drunk. She acts like one of the guys but is never masculine. It’s a completely unrealistic mix of attributes and behaviors. 

5. It dismisses legitimate anxieties 

Nobody is relaxed all the time. That’s just not a thing. The “cool” girl apparently has no student loan debt, no social anxiety, no awkwardness, and no self-doubt. That’s just not real. Nobody feels laid back 100 percent of the time — and that’s fine. You’re allowed to feel nervous and you’re allowed to care about things. Nobody should minimize your emotions or your feelings, especially with some “cool” girl nonsense. 


6. And an excuse to treat other people badly  

The number of times I’ve heard of friends being dumped because the guy was “just looking for a cool girl” is enough to make me want to scream. The idea of the elusive cool girl means that people can treat other women badly, holding them up to an impossible, imaginary standard without any further explanation. You can’t compare people to something that doesn’t exist. It’s a cruel way to treat people. 

7. It promotes the idea that women should contort to men’s standards 

Finally, the mere existence of the “cool” girl reinforces the idea that women are supposed to conform to meet what men want, rather than finding a man (if they’re hetero) to accept them as they are. It’s the idea that women need to match a certain guideline in order for men to want them. What about what women want? What if a woman wants a man who is emotionally mature, cares about her needs and understands that she’s not perfect? Why doesn't that matter as much as the “cool girl” idea? We need to stop thinking that women have to change themselves to be wanted, while men can apparently just demand whatever they like. I’m over it. 

The cool girl has pervaded popular culture for too long. The Jennifer Lawrences, the Mila Kunises — who may be amazing people in real life — have had their images usurped and repackaged into this idea of “the cool girl”. But we have no idea if they’re like that in real life, it’s an image created by a media machine. So we need to stop holding real women to imaginary standards. We need to stop pitting them against each other. And, most importantly, we need to stop telling women that they should bend to fit a man's ideal. You’re entitled to what you need and what you want. And you’re cool as fuck already.