The cool girl syndrome, when women repress their emotions to please men

Home The cool girl syndrome, when women repress their emotions to please men
Written by Doug Hampton

(ETX Daily Up) – She’s fun, straightforward and pretty. She likes hanging out with boys. Normal, like them, she enjoys watching football while drinking a beer or playing video games. The “cool girl” is the embodiment of the perfect girl, the perfect girlfriend… in the eyes of the male sex. Carried by pop culture, the myth of the “cool girl” is now demystified on social networks which associate the “cool girl syndrome” with toxic romantic relationships.

If you wonder what a “cool girl” looks like, remember the characters played by Mila Kunis in the romantic comedy “Sex with friends”, by Megan Fox in the saga “Transformers” or the heroine Robin in the series “How I Met Your Mother”. They are fun, relaxed and detached from everything, especially men. The image of the “cool girl” has entered the collective unconscious via pop culture, and particularly Hollywood, which has for decades elevated her to the status of “perfect woman”. At least from a male point of view.

This invention of the entertainment industry is now undermined by social networks, which speak of the “cool girl syndrome”. Because this character fantasized by Hollywood, largely directed by men, would harm women in general. This pretty, funny and detached girl, unlike the “needy girl”, would be a model not to follow for living a perfectly healthy and happy romantic relationship. By dint of adopting this behavior, women would force themselves to have common interests, often so-called masculine activities (playing video games, watching sports on TV, mechanics, etc.), would repress some of their emotions and would not show their true personality. The analysis is not new; she is also at the center of the plot of the novel “Les Appearances” by Gillian Flynn, adapted to the cinema in 2014 by David Fincher under the title “Gone Girl”. In this feature film, the hero played by Ben Affleck discovers that his missing wife, played by Rosamund Pike, played a role, that she hid her true personality from him for years in order to stick to his expectations as much as possible.

“A Death Sentence”

For fear of appearing desperate or hysterical, for fear of judgment, even rejection, the “cool girls” do not display their feminine side. On the feelings side at least, because the cool girl must have an ultra feminine physique, while eating burgers and pizzas and drinking beer, like these gentlemen. In fact, the “cool girl” would be nothing more than “a guy dressed up as a sexy woman”, as author Anne Helen Petersen wrote in an article by buzzfeed. “But let’s be clear: this is about performance. It may not be conscious, but it’s how our society implicitly teaches young women to be awesome: to be relaxed and not be depressed, act like a guy but look like a supermodel.”

Moreover, by letting unpleasant, unsuitable or inappropriate behavior or remarks pass, in order to remain “cool”, these women can lock themselves into unhealthy, even toxic romantic relationships. Ignoring the real problem, playing detachment or practicing self-mockery prevents the partner from becoming aware of the concern and questioning himself. “The cool girl syndrome is a death sentence”, confides, for example, a young woman on TikTok who explains waiting for his partner to sleep to cry “in silence” so that he does not hear him. “My problem is that when I meet new partners, I want to please them at all costs, so I pretend to be someone I’m not,” says another tiktoker. Young women who think they have cool girl syndrome, and who suffer from it, can also find help on the Chinese social network. Some accounts, like “Your pocket therapist“, offer several tips to learn how to get rid of this behavior.

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