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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

“Cool girl” aesthetics have always seemed to be present in modern society. Whether it was the girl in the 70s who walked barefoot in the grass and went to concerts, to the girl that liked rock music and skated in the 00s. There has always seemed to be a defining factor for women that held them to the standard against others.

Women and girls have always been judged for their interests, so long as those interests were deemed “feminine.” Even if a woman were to like something that other girls didn’t, she would have to “prove” that she actually liked it, and it wasn’t just for attention. “Oh, you like this sports team? Name the quarterback’s 3rd cousin, twice removed, wife’s sister’s pet goldfish” as a way of proving themselves. 

If a woman or girl disliked prospective “feminine” interests that other women liked, she would be seen as cool. Different. Not like other girls. 

Back in 2014 at the height of my Tumblr obsession, I would’ve dreamed of receiving a “not like other girls” title. I considered myself grungy, misunderstood and different. I silently judged other women for liking pink, One Direction and lipgloss; conveniently omitting I had also liked those things just a few years prior. Society placed such a target on any feminine person to fit the standards of a masculine world. Liking beer, video games and nothing that the majority of women liked. 

I felt this heavy influence for most of my teenage years. It really took a lot in me to understand why I had these preconceived ideas of who I had to be in order to be liked or deemed as valuable. 

When the pandemic started and I wasn’t around other people as much as I normally was, I really started to feel a lot more comfortable with who I was and the things I liked. I rewatched shows I loved as a pre-teen (looking at you Big Time Rush), painted my nails and took up crafts. No one was really around to judge me, so I felt comfortable doing these things I used to love, but stopped because society told me to. So bit by bit, I started not really caring about what other people would think if I wasn’t the “cool girl” because I was genuinely enjoying myself.

And you wanna know the best part? I freaking love it.

I love being “just like other girls”, because why not? Why should I feel ashamed for doing things that I really like? 

I love wearing skirts and going to the farmer’s market for fresh flowers. I love listening to Taylor Swift while I drive to go get an iced coffee. I love reading romance books, and I definitely tear up when the main characters finally are honest about their love for each other. I love taking pictures of my friends, my breakfast and the sunset.

I have become so much more comfortable in my skin because I feel like I can finally be myself. I am no longer hiding behind ripped skinny jeans and a frown, trying to convey that I was cool. Being authentic is way cooler anyway.

At the end of the day, it is up to you how you live your life. However you choose to spend it, I hope you reach a point where you stop living for someone else’s perception of you and start living for yourself.

Zoe is a CWU Senior studying Elementary and Special Education. She loves to spend her free time with her cat Pip and loves to bake!