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

I’ve recently re-watched the movie “Gone Girl” (*spoiler alert*), and I find myself replaying Amy Dunne’s well-known monologue consistently in my head. For those who haven’t watched it, the “cool girl monologue” is when Amy Dunne reflects on her identity as a “cool girl” as she leaves behind her previous life and frames her cheating husband for her murder. 

The monologue goes: “Nick loved a girl I was pretending to be. Cool girl. Men always use that, don’t they?  As their defining compliment. She’s a Cool girl. Cool girl is hot. Cool girl is game. Cool girl is fun. Cool girl never gets angry at her man. She only smiles in a chagrin loving manner and then presents her mouth for fucking. She likes what he likes. So, evidently, he’s a vinyl hipster who loves fetish monger. If he likes girls gone wild, she’s a mall babe who talks football and endures buffalo wings at Hooters. ”

In a few short sentences, Amy breaks down the male fantasy of a “cool girl,” a made-up trope created for men to reassure themselves that they will find someone who will love them endlessly despite putting in no effort and not having to change anything about themselves. In the book, Amy says, “Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl.” 

Surprise, surprise, the cool girl doesn’t exist. The “cool girl” is just a social construct created to divide women into two groups: “she’s just like everyone else,” or “she’s not like the other girls.” This unrealistic standard is misogynistic and puts down girls who are more traditionally feminine and emotional. Male protagonists portrayed across almost all media types consistently choose the nonchalant, fun, impulsive cool girl and mock the clingy, attached and “crazy” girls. This perpetuates the idea that the “cool girl” is somehow superior to every other woman. 

“Gone Girl” highlights the “cool girl” as highly valued for her lack of emotion. She doesn’t get angry. She doesn’t complain, and she doesn’t nag. For too long, women have been shamed for expressing their needs. They are labeled as “needy,” or “clingy” or “wanting too much;” I feel this is often because the men don’t want to put in any effort themselves but expect to reap all the benefits. Women have been conditioned to repress their emotions to avoid being insulted and seen as too “emotional.” So they are taught to strive to be at the other end of the spectrum, to be “cool.” As a result, even when a man is inadequate, the woman doesn’t complain or speak out all to fit into this cool girl persona. 

The concept of a “cool girl” is just another impossible, ridiculous standard for women imposed by society. It creates an unrealistic ideal for women to adhere to the male fantasy and masquerade as this persona to be complimented as a cool girl.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that girls who enjoy traditionally male activities don’t exist or that they shouldn’t be themselves; all women should be celebrated. This is to say that I believe the “cool girl” archetype, as constructed by patriarchal society, aims to absorb those characteristics into a restrictive social role which hinders the autonomy of women as a whole. The unchecked prevalence of this archetype furthers harmful narratives. Women have every right to express themselves, to be emotional, to demand and to take up space, unconstrained by the patriarchal gaze.

Amy ends her monologue with: “But Nick got lazy. He became someone I did not agree to marry. He actually expected me to love him unconditionally. Then he dragged me, penniless, to the naval of this great country and found himself a newer, younger, bouncier Cool Girl. You think I’d let him destroy me and end up happier than ever? No fucking way. He doesn’t get to win!” 

In the film, Amy realized that Nick’s idea of the perfect woman, which objectified her and others, was only useful to him for a short time and then thrown away when he pursued someone new. So, she rejected it completely and reclaimed her autonomy. Amy’s realization is a reminder to all women that men like Nick constantly try to reproduce harmful ideas about women, and we must resist together.

Linda Vo

Northeastern '25

Hi! I'm a second-year Psychology major with a minor in Neuroscience at Northeastern University! I'm from Vietnam and my favorite things to do are read, listen to music, and trying out new things!