Need a cool chick

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Play it cool. Keep it breezy. Treat 'em mean. Don't reply straight away. Be aloof.

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Be distant. Be hard to get.

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These are the rules you need to follow in order to be "The Cool Girl" — a prevalent dating trope that many women feel pressured to conform to lest they be labelled clingy or desperate. The cool girl started out as a stock character born out of male-authored literature and movies.

But, the trope has since become so pervasive, the cool girl is now firmly cemented in dating culture, with no of disappearing anytime soon. The cool girl is no longer merely a character in a book — she is the acme of female desirability. She is the three-dimensional flesh and bone incarnation of the male fantasy.

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She is the rejection of the nadir of female behaviour — clinginess. And to many of us, she is a stifling behavioural standard that forces us to hide our true personalities.

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Ever since I started dating as a teenager, I have internalised the notion that I need to to feign indifference and affect cool standoffishness in order to "Get The Guy," so to speak. Unconsciously, I carried this rule into adulthood — it manifests in my behaviour at the start of relationships, it infiltrates the advice I give to friends, and it fuels my anxiety until the mask slips and my authentic self is exposed. In the books I read, the films I watched, the most beguiling and intoxicating female characters were unobtainable and remote — their desirability being inextricably tethered to their silent disinterest and unattainability.

Lately, I've begun questioning the suffocating pressure I feel to adopt this role whenever I start seeing someone new. Who told me I need to masquerade as someone else and to literally adopt a different personality in order to be desirable to the opposite sex? Writer Katie Tamola, who dates men, told me the "cool girl" ideal has been drummed into her since she was .

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Tamola says family members and teachers have told her to "stop being so emotional and expressive" — especially with men. I often find myself wishing I could be the calmer, cooler version of a girl that I see portrayed in media. Student Alex C. Alex explains that she now tempers her expectations and holds herself back from expressing the full extent of her feelings. The cool girl is everywhere. She's in the books we read, she's on our TV and movie screens, she's in the dating advice we give and receive. From every angle, the pop culture we consume solidifies the cool girl ideal as the zenith of feminine desirability.

Perhaps one of the best descriptions of this trope can be found in Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Stacy Gillis — senior Lecturer in 20th century literature and culture at Newcastle University —believes the cool girl is rooted in "how women are discursively positioned within patriarchal structures of power. Research into the ways in which women present themselves on dating apps can also shed some light on the pressures women still face to conform to certain behavioural ideals. Clinginess is, per Brooke, a gendered term which pertains to "excessive emotional dependence" — an "undesirable" behaviour in dating culture.

The negative connotations of being branded "clingy" may, according to Brooke, cause some women to choose to act "distant and removed" from a potential partner. Brooke says during her research she found that women who use dating apps often choose to feature a selection of images that exhibit common cool girl attributes.

So, where does this ideal actually come from? Male-authored female literary characters have historically embodied characteristics like aloofness and unattainability. They are often troubled and in need of taming. Gillis says this trope can be found in popular fiction at the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century, but it may well go further back than that. Things have arguably moved on a little in society since the 19th century, so why is it that women still feel pressured to adhere to an outmoded concept of female attractiveness?

Gillis believes this comes from a "desire to be desired within the patriarchy. In my own infuriating experience, I feel a kind of damned-if-you-do predicament when faced with my desire to rail against this archetype. Women are continuously told that this behaviour model works, that it's a tried and tested trick of the trade, one that you can deviate from at your own risk. So, how do we go about dismantling this stereotype? Gillis hypothesises that queer popular culture has the power to upturn these stereotypes that are still a source of pressure for women.

In the meantime, I've made a vow to avoid playing the cool girl when I'm dating. I can no longer pretend to be someone I'm not just so I can fulfil a rigid stereotype of female attractiveness. I am not the cool girl, nor will I ever be.

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Take it or leave it. The 'cool girl' isn't just a fictional stereotype. Women feel pressured to play this role when they're dating. By Rachel Thompson June 7, Recommended For You. Rihanna's photoshoot outfit reminds Asians of ghosts, pillows, and ice cream. Hungry school principal eats students' leftover food to discourage waste. George Lucas's classic sci-fi franchise gets a fresh edge with the anime anthology series "Star Wars: Visions.

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Definition of a Cool Chick