Everyone wants to be “the cool girl,” right? Growing up, that’s all I ever wanted to be. And I don’t mean “cool” as synonymous with “popular.” I didn’t care about that. To me, being the cool girl meant that you were easygoing and just one of the boys. Cool girls liked sports and didn’t bother with superficial stuff. Cool girls could make the boys laugh and got attention without asking for it.
I played sports, I knew pop culture, and in my head I was striving for that cool girl title. But there are some underlying things that cool girls do. Like push other girls under the bus, or laugh along with jokes demeaning other people. Cool girls don’t talk about makeup or fashion, but should still always look hot. Cool girls shouldn’t be petty drama queens, but should still be up on the latest trends. Cool girls should know all the stats about sports, but never dream of playing professionally.
They are the opposite of the high maintenance princesses; those nagging wives that male comedians are always going on about. No, no, cool girls would never compromise guys night. They’ll burp right along and tell equally filthy jokes. Cool girls are chill. They don’t get jealous, and are always spontaneous and down for anything.
After a long, hard look at myself, I’ve come to the realization that I am so very far from being a cool girl. In high school, I remember some boys making fun of a teacher for being a feminist and going right along with it because I wasn’t an uptight bitch. I laughed along at so many racist and elitist jokes. I threw my female friends under the bus without a second thought, just for more attention or street cred.
And one of the main things I stayed “cool” about was boys talking about women like property. I won’t remind you of what’s in the news, because I honestly can’t stand to give that egomaniac any more attention. But when I saw videos of female news anchors defending his comments as “locker room talk,” I was honestly stunned. But that’s when I realized that they are just full grown versions of cool girls. They are clamoring for the attention of the most popular boy in algebra class, regardless of any frienemies who go under as a result.
Going to college with a lot of fairly liberal people, sometimes I forget that most men don’t even consider sexual assault an issue. They don’t know that feeling of pure terror when a stranger grabs you at a bar. They don’t know the shame and embarrassment of being yelled at by a group of men from their porch when walking home alone. They don’t know that women don’t talk about getting groped at parties not because it doesn’t happen–but because it happens too often to be worth mentioning.
When the hashtag #Repealthe19th starts trending, don’t tell me that men and women are already equal. Don’t tell me that this is just in our heads and all these allegations being made against our presidential candidate must surely be made up for attention.
No, I didn’t reach my middle school goal of becoming a “cool girl.” I failed spectacularly and thank God every damn day that I did. I am not content anymore to take part in a hierarchy which systematically suppresses my rights based on my bathroom parts.
Don’t be a cool girl. Rape culture is real, and is being presented to us at the highest level. That’s not cool.