Like many inspired pieces of writing this blog begins at 22.48pm on a Monday night as an email draft, tapped out by my thumbs on my iPhone. I’m reading Nasty Women – a collection of essays and thoughts on what it’s like to be a woman in the 21st century.
I have just finished one essay by Kristy Diaz who writes about “Why I’m No Longer A Punk Rock Cool Girl” and it got me thinking about how, at one point in our lives as young women, there was a “Cool Girl” tribe we all tried to shift and shape ourselves into.
“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’m the Cool Girl. Men (People) actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl.”
– excerpt from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.
Like every social tribe ever conceived there is almost always a pinnacle of achievement to aspire to; a mould, THE cookie cutter image. We see it every day on Instagram, YouTube, and the blogs we digest and of course at the industry events.
Right now I’m thinking about the Blogger Cool Girl. Who is she? Am I her? Do I want to be her? She’s blow-dried or styled, flawless makeup, the outfit appears effortlessly assembled; her legs are smooth, long and probably tanned as brown as a nut. The fake tan is perfect, brow highlight at the right level of fleek, nails; never grown out gels, of course. This girl does not break a sweat. She is visual feast of Instagramable perfection. But wait, this is just the veneer; this is not what makes her the Cool Blogger Girl. All the above is merely entry-level requirements. Hell, I qualify as this girl most days (by most days I mean the ones I show the Internet). Unfortunately it’s what I say and what I don’t say that decisively excludes me from Cool Girl Blogger territory.
Like in Gillian Fylnn’s passage on the Cool Girl men want to date, the Cool Girl bloggers want to be is also unattainable because really she doesn’t exist. It is a mask of deceit and fakery most of the time plagued by self-doubt, competitiveness, jealously all topped with a frosty layer of inclusivity.
This girl acts elusive and exclusive and will not bat an LVL lash in your direction and for some bizarre reason this behaviour is inexplicably rewarded by others. This girl will never say anything out of place or inappropriate. But let’s just review the subtext here; this girl never actually says anything FULL STOP. Light, fluffy banter puffs from her lips, a smothered giggle, a shallow compliment then gets passed out and snuffled up greedily by an admirer, hungry for acceptance and a percentage of her Instagram following. She is appropriately faux annoyed when it seems something unjust has happened, she does not swear, she does not sweat. She never drinks more than a couple of Proseccos at an event and she will always politely pretend that she may be asking too much when something is not to her taste.
But then this all begs the question about whether the Cool Girl Instagrammer is actually the whole goddamn point of this industry. Surely anyone that can translate the perfection on thier Instagram feed into real life is a genius? I’ve contemplated this; maybe it is a business decision but fuck me, a tiring one at that.
The Cool Girl Blogger persona doesn’t end at social events. The facade continues on her social platforms and blogs too because HEAVEN FORBID anyone has a bad word to say about her. Heaven forbid she has one drink too many, her tongue becomes a little loose and says something memorable or funny on her Snapchat.
On social media the Cool Girl blogger is achingly modest and apologetic of her spending habits, extensive wardrobe and designer bag collection. Maybe she feels like if she is constantly apologising for owning thousands of pounds of designer stuff then no one can call her materialistic or spoilt? JESUS, if you want to collect Gucci bags, get weekly Shellac and drive a bloody Range Rover then who gives a shit?! More power to you for living (your idea of) your best life and SIDE NOTE: fuck the jealous people that shout you down and call you out for it. I digress.
So what is the reason the cookie cutter Cool Girl Blogger is being adopted more than ever? It’s almost like there is an innate fear of not being liked. Attempting to have EVERYONE in this world adore, like, look up or follow you is about as fruitful as trying to keep water in a colander.
And that is why the Cool Girl Blogger facade is an unattainable, short-lived and a false ideal like all the other Cool Girl personas of every other social tribe that ever existed. Did we forget the whole PURPOSE of being a blogger or an “Influencer” was to be relatable as a human? Being real is your one true power so say what you actually think and feel.
And here’s me; I drink, I swear, I enjoy sex. I also sweat, have bowel problems, go red in the face if I’m uncomfortable and sometimes let my legs get to a level of hairiness that’s borderline antisocial, but that’s fine. I’m still getting jobs, brands want me to work with them. You girls still want to read my writing and digest my content.
So here’s to being my own Cool Girl. The one who is always unapologetically me. Take it or leave guys.
A few really real Cool Girls being themselves on social right now:
I had the pleasure of spending some time with Audrey this summer in Ibiza. We got close and laughed for hours over bottles of gin on the balcony into the early hours. She and I share very similar values and opinions on the blogging world and throughout the 4 years I have followed her work she is unapologetically and uncompromisingly herself. I’m so glad I can call her a friend.
This year I invited Sophie on a press trip to Cyprus (watch the vlog here). She’d recently gone full time as a blogger and was refreshingly open and honest about how she was finding it. Still to this day we talk rates and share contacts, something that is becoming increasingly rarer in the community. Her profile has shot up massively over the last 6 months and I think it’s because her content is continuously good quality whilst being 100% relatable and real. She’s not afraid to tell you how hungover she is, the bad choices she makes sometimes and shares some of the most relatable experiences with her readers on her blog.
Tally is a PT and has an amazingly positive space on the Internet. She lives her life her way, eats what’s she wants, works out 5 times a week and takes time off! Even though we make very different life choices I love having her content on my feed because her body positivity and happiness is infectious.
I last saw Lucia at Fashion Week. I asked her how she was and she said she felt shit. She had a good reason too. I’ve seen this girl at her brightest and bubbliest, drunk and doing the dutty wine at Lovebox festival. But like everyone she isn’t always sparkly and happy. I love spending time with her and admired the fact she was readily open about not being in a good place when I asked, even at one of the most publicised events in the industry.