top of page
  • Writer's pictureRoxanna Strumwasser

"Cool Girl" Therapy

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Disclaimer: “Cool Girl” Therapy is for men, women, and nonbinary individuals of any sexuality. “Cool Girl” is a gendered term used to analyze the phenomenon of losing individuality for the purpose of acceptance.

What is a “cool girl”?

She’s not like other girls, she’s a “cool girl.”

Coined by Gillian Flynn in the 2012 novel “Gone Girl,” a “cool girl” is the ultimate compliment. She is attractive, smart, funny, easy-going, and ultimately models her likes, interests, and personality to appease the male gaze. Many women find themselves pretending to be this girl when in reality, she does not exist. She is a figment of men’s imagination. A reflection of the media’s depiction of what a woman should be.

How does this translate to the real world?

Many women today are struggling with cognitive dissonance, wanting to be the “cool girl,” wanting to be wanted by a partner, and feeling that even when they try their hardest, they do not measure up.

I often hear from clients who are heterosexual and female…

“I didn’t tell him how I was feeling about him drinking all night; I wanted to be the “cool girl” “

“I wanted to try enjoying one of my hobbies with him, but I ended up doing what he wanted instead because I’m a “cool girl.”

This woman is to be revered. The desire of heterosexual men and the envy of fellow women.

What is a “cool guy”?

A “cool guy” is the manifestation of our patriarchal society and the worst elements of toxic masculinity. A “cool guy” is a man defined by his “manliness,” his anti-feminity, and his fight to obtain power as a form of social currency or respect, among others.

If a man presents with traditionally “feminine” attributes, such as showing emotion, a desire for a family, or accepting help, is labeled with a derogatory term meant to emasculate him, such as “simp” or a man who puts “ho*s before bros.”

Oftentimes I will hear from clients who are heterosexual and male…

“I am really in love with her, but I am afraid to show her how I feel because of what my friends might think of me."

" I don't like how my friends talk about women, but I feel like I have to act like them to gain their respect."

This man is the epitome of traditional masculinity, unencumbered by emotional attachment and determined to maintain status among his peers.

How does this translate to the real world?

Today, men are struggling to break through this constrictive gendered stereotype that categorizes all men as aggressors, emotionally un-attune, and constantly at war for power among their relationships, friend groups, and family systems.

Now let's discuss the "cool daughter/son/child."

What is a "cool daughter/son/child"?

A "cool child" is the idea that there is an idealized version of an individual that parents hope for. Parents may have specific career aspirations, partners, cultural values, religious expectations, personality preferences, etc., for their children and become disheartened when the child they raised does not meet their expectations.

How does this translate to the real world?

Many clients, particularly second-generation Americans, struggle to navigate our individualistic American society while upholding their family's collectivistic cultural values. A "cool child" would fulfill their parents' wishes even to the loss of their individual identity or to the detriment of their own mental health.

Many clients have expressed discomfort being the "cool daughter/son/child" grappling with

  • Loss of personal identity

  • Lack of community

  • Social anxiety

  • Struggling with acculturation

  • Depression resulting from "balancing both worlds"

What to expect from "cool girl" therapy...

In "cool girl" therapy, we will process these archetypes, what they mean to you, and how you can detach yourself from the desire to conform.

We will work on...

  • Identifying your individual wants, needs, & hopes for the future

  • Reinforcing your self-esteem

  • Implementing healthy boundaries

  • Building a community and/or finding a partner that values you for you

If you resonate with any of these feelings, I encourage you to reach out for a free 30-minute consultation with me.

84 views0 comments


bottom of page