I’ve been reading here and there about the Jennifer Lawrence backlash. I don’t know her personally, so I can’t speak to her personality or character (so I’m not sure how the average celebrity journalist can either.)
One article in particular spoke to the “Cool Girl” archetype.
“You probably know someone playing a Cool Girl in real life, and you probably resent her — unless you’re a straight dude, in which case you probably think she’s great. But Lawrence performs Cool Girlness with such skill, such seamlessness, that it doesn’t seem like a performance at all. I’m not suggesting that Lawrence is intentionally inauthentic, scheming, or manipulative: Rather, like all the Cool Girls you know, she’s subconsciously figured out what makes people like her, and she’s using it.”
The article as I understand it goes on to explain that we shouldn’t blame the Cool Girl for performing this act. It’s a result of societal standards and pressures of what a woman should be. On top of that, society’s approval will be brief and fickle. I think every woman has felt the pressure to be the best of both gender stereotypes: be pretty and tender, but be tough, and don’t be a whiner. Be cool. Very valid points to make.
I don’t deny that I’ve encountered that archetype. You’re hanging out in a mixed group, and she makes a big point of how she would rather be watching football and shooting whiskey. She may even talk at length about how girls are catty and she always felt more like one of the guys, grabbing a significant portion of the male attention at the table because she’s so pretty but also so cool, (and also flirting heavily.) And sometimes, it is probably an attention grab. But everyone can spot an attention grab, male or female, so-called girly-girls or guys-girls.
When articles run presuming that a girl who talks about food, video games, and sports is making a calculated attention grab for male attention, I think we’re doing something dangerous. I think we’re perpetuating the idea that girls couldn’t possibly sincerely be into those things on their own. When a woman displays traditionally masculine interests or mannerisms, and we imply that it’s all an act to get male attention, perhaps as women, we’re perpetuating the expectation that a woman is supposed to act a certain way. Perhaps we’re perpetuating the idea that a woman only has traditionally female interests and intentions, and if she acts otherwise, she’s faking it. She’s playing the part of the Cool Girl who likes beer and comic books, because she couldn’t really like beer and comic books. Those are for boys. That’s a dangerous tone to set.
Maybe I’m just quick to defend because on a red carpet, it’s likely that I too, would ask where the food was.