Feminist Friday: “Jennifer Lawrence and The History of Cool Girls”

As you know, we cover a lot of outcasts, rebels and lone wolves on this blog. That’s why I’ve decided that this week will be dedicated to to the anti-Outside Girl, a.k.a. the Cool Girl. Those of you who are familiar with Gillian Flynn and her impossible-to-put-down novel, Gone Girl, will already know who and what a Cool Girl is. For anyone else, let’s use Flynn’s description to get the ball rolling:

“Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. 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 don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”


This archetype is the subject of Anne Helen Petersen‘s February 28, 2014 BuzzFeed opinion piece entitled “Jennifer Lawrence and The History of Cool Girls.”  As you can see from the following image, Petersen identifies several Cool Girls from various decades including Lawrence, Clara Bow, Carole Lombard and Jane Fonda.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 1.20.52 PM

Petersen delves into the Cool Girl persona and how hard it is for women to maintain it. In addition to pinpointing exactly why we all love Jennifer Lawrence (besides all of this), Petersen chronicles the rise and fall of other women who fit the mold and the double standard that they fall victim too. And she asks the necessary question: Is the Cool Girl just giving people what they want to see? Check out Petersen’s essay here:


For further context, please watch “A Chick Who Can Hang” on Inside Amy Schumer and read this recap about the episode by The A.V. Club‘s Kate Knibbs.


(Image #1 courtesy of en.wikipedia.org; #2 courtesy of my Mac’s screenshot function; #3 courtesy of cc.com)

1 thought on “Feminist Friday: “Jennifer Lawrence and The History of Cool Girls”

  1. Hey, the part about Jane Fonda … makes me think of Vanessa Redgrave. She had the cool girl thing going too … but when she embraced the Palestinian homeland cause, the world turned on her. Pictures of her dancing around a campfire with hormoose-wearing Palestinian guerillas, while brandishing an AK-47 above her head, did not help.

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