Cool Girls

I’m addicted to the YouTube channel Music Video Sins, where they mock the mistakes and stupidity in music videos, but to fully enjoy it, I always watch the full video before the take down. Which lead me to watching Tove Lo’s new video Cool Girl.

The pinnacle of womanhood is often considered to be “being one of the boys.” It’s trope that has plagued sitcoms and romcoms for ages. A Cool Girl is a woman who doesn’t “try too hard” and finds stereotypical feminine things frivolous, preferring to spend her time being one of the boys. She’s cool, because being a boy is cool. Thus implying that being a girl is not.

The lyrics in the song refer specifically to being “cool” regarding an intimate relationship.

No, let’s not put a label on it
Let’s keep it fun
We don’t put a label on it
So we can run free, yeah
I wanna be free like you

She’s trying to play it cool, because women who want a relationship and commitment are being clingy and uncool. Of course, by the end of the video, the room is on fire because she’s not actually happy with arrangement.

The backlash against “being a cool girl” is, in a sense, a feminist movement. It is women speaking out about not acquiescing to men’s demands. Women saying “I will not pretend to be something I am not.”

However, it plays into existing notions of gender dichotomy. Boys want sex, girls want relationships. Boys want to sleep with many people, girls want to be committed to one person. Boys like sports, girls like shopping. Retreating to your own “side” and declaring it to be cool isn’t a solution.

Saying “I like commitment, I like a relationship, I like monogamy” are all fine things. Demanding them from partners is also totally acceptable. Arguing those things are cool is, again, good.

Saying that you like them because you’re a girl is problematic. You don’t. You like them because you’re a person who likes them.