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Culture > Entertainment

So Pick Me, Chose Me, Love Me

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited By: Avni Gupta

“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.” 

If you know where this is from, I applaud you for having watched or read one of the most relevant and intense narratives of our time. 

This snippet from Gone Girl is placed in the backdrop of an intense struggle of a (problematic af) woman to break free from the prison her relationship put her in. The same relationship she went into pretending to be the ‘cool girl’ that her now-husband would pick over other women. 

The term ‘not like the other girls’ (NLOG), or ‘manic pixie dream girl’, ‘cool girl’, ‘one of the guys’ in further niches has popped around everywhere since 2016, and is only now being brought to the analytical attention of several creators and individuals. These terms are used in predominantly two contexts- self-deprecating and self-appreciating. I will focus on the latter. 

This self-appreciating context paints a superior image of the women who own the label. Because we have so distinctly defined what it is like to be a ‘girl’, some women who do not conform, want to own that difference, and wear it like a badge of honor, holding it over others (characteristic of an NLOG), rather than shy away from society. When looked specifically from the point of view of the male gaze, NLOGs have an advantage, because they are different, unique, better than the supposed rest of their inferior sex. Here, nonconformity is rewarded with appreciation from the male gaze.  

Some women, to gain male attention, may claim to ‘not be like other girls’, as shown by Amy Dunne in the previous ‘cool girl monologue’. Heteronormativelly, this makes them more desirable by men because they reject typically feminine (thus ‘inferior’) ideals of liking makeup, dressing up, being soft spoken and polite.  After all, they have to out-do their competition in some way, right? Because apparently, we are living in a social ecosystem where the ‘survival of the fittest’ instinct takes over us and we degrade ourselves by disrespecting our true nature, and other women by calling them inferior, all to get romantic or sexual validation. 

But what happens when we go to the other extreme? When we see NLOGs everywhere around us, even among women who are simply living their lives? I have seen women online getting bashed and shamed for not partaking in traditionally ‘feminine’ activities, people claiming that they are trying to get male attention by being a ‘pick me’. That is when I realize that we have come full circle. We hate each other and we don’t even love ourselves.  

Why can’t we just let each other be? What is this intense need to put women down and lift ourselves up by pretending to be someone else, by shaming women who don’t like traditionally feminine things for doing it for male attention? Why can’t the actual narrative ever be about us? Why have we so blatantly declared the confines of femininity, so much so that there is barely space for anyone? Why is there always some form of scrutiny involved, from members and non-members of our community? 

Just being, finding oneself, discovering one’s true calling, what really moves one becomes additionally disconcerting when the background of convoluted expectations from others and oneself play such an important role in driving our identity-discovery. Uniqueness is used to differentiate yourself from the crowd, but in this case is also used to claim to be superior to other women. How does this make sense? Aren’t we all different from each other?  

In conclusion: you are not like the other girls. You are not like other people. This is a fact. Now go find how. 

Arushi is a part of the content writing team of her university's Her Campus branch. She is a freshman at Ashoka University, and intends to major in Economics. In her free time Arushi can be found crocheting, reading, painting or watching YouTube commentary videos. Her areas of interest include finding ways to battle climate change with the economy, understanding different economic systems, solving random puzzles and brainstorming ideas for her next passion project.