What makes a woman

And who’s entitled to say if you are one


Will the most-real woman please stand up?

Sometimes women have this ridiculous habit of telling other women what they can and cannot do, how to act, and who to be.

Sometimes the conversation is cultural. Sometimes biological. Sometimes both.

Sometimes woman are pissed about feminists acting “feminine,” and make it their business to tell them how to dress and act.

Other times, they’re up in arms at other women for being what they call “cool:”

“Men actually think this girl exists… For a long time… I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman.”

Excuse me?

Who are you to say who is and is not “a woman?” And how is your idea of how another woman should act more legitimate than hers?

Do you realize that other women are living and breathing human beings whose lives are their own — and not up to you?

This is just another example of insecure women telling other women how to live their lives.

And with all due respect, sweetheart: kindly fuck off.

(1.) Who are you to define “a woman?”

“Men actually think [the cool girl] really exists. And she doesn’t.”

Writer Tracy Moore decided,

“It’s better to be real than cool.”

As though “real” and “cool” are always absolute dichotomies and can’t exist together in one person.

As though “being a real woman” means “being feminine,” and “being feminine” apparently never means “being cool.”

Why do you define “womanhood” as “femininity?”

And how is any word uttered in answer to this not immediately and inherently sexist as fuck?

Moore writes:

“We must also acknowledge the criteria for general ladyness, which is typically thought of as a softer, gentler, more feelings-driven creature who is less reflexively impressed by violence, poor manners, pranks, booze as a lifestyle, and meat products.”

Is that what women are “supposed” to be doing?

Seriously. How is your definition of women not sexist as fuck?

Moore calls “cool girls”

“performance-art femininity — ‘dude in a hot girl’s body’”

Say what now?


Explain to me, slowly: what makes a woman “a dude?” What makes her femininity “fake?”

She writes, of “acting” cool:

“Sometimes it feels good to reject cultural notions of femininity and take up residence on a strange earth and live among the Others.”

And:

“I think a Cool Girl offers a way of moving through the world with protective armor over the girl you still are and the woman you’re yet to become, while still courting all the adoration and fawning we’re taught to hold so dear.”

How Moore fails to see the sexism here is beyond me…

Because: not all of us were taught that. Not all of us hold “adoration” or “fawning” as our core value.

Not all of us consider our life to be “among the Others.”

But, edging ever further into her favorite flavor of misogyny, she even goes so far as to suggest that a man’s opinion is the only one that matters:

“Gage… may really believe the perfect relationship has no mundane hiccups whatsoever; unfortunately, that can only be verified by the man she dated for five years.”

Well, and me. There’s also me.

Or does my lowly “woman’s” opinion of my own life not count?

And if that weren’t clear enough, Moore also wrote,

“Sometimes it feels good… to be told that for a while, you were that sort of girl, the one all the men wanted, admired, and desired, and could never quite grab hold of. A mirror that telegraphed back their values.”

Their values. Not inherently a woman’s own, according to Moore.

What, exactly, constitutes “genuine?”

Moore suggests:

“There is, of course, an alternative: being yourself.”

“Yourself” meaning… ?

In Moore’s mind, presumably: “uncool.” Because apparently real women are feminine and femininity is decidedly “uncool.”

It seems that women like Moore define being “real” or “a woman” as shedding a whole slew of traits they find threatening or offensive.

“Real” means doing things that don’t aggravate their already heightened levels of insecurity.

“Real” means more “like them.”

(2.) More importantly: Why are you so concerned with defining other women?

What is it about other women that upsets you so much?

Why is their totally separate lived experience such a fucking threat to yours?

And, real talk: how is this not blatantly your own insecurity?

Because it obviously is.

Former “Cool Girl” Avery Jane Spencer wrote,

“I never ‘got the guy’ because as soon as I got his attention, he’d get bored and move onto the next Cool Girl.”

She immediately followed it up with, “I hated myself.”

How can any woman who hates herself be entrusted to evaluate others’ worth? (Especially when her self-hate is regarding her perceived failure at getting and keeping a guy being due to other women?)

And how is hating oneself “healthier” than whatever the cool girl is doing?

If you “hate” these women so much, why are you so eager to identify with them, given the chance?

Moore admitted:

“Plenty of women genuinely love many of these things, myself included.”

And I’m confused: is it okay for her but nobody else?

Perhaps her “love” of these things is not actually genuine for her, so she assumes they must not be for anyone?

Or is it that women like her are just insecure enough to try to toe their way into what they deemed the “cool crowd” even as they simultaneously shoot them down?

Why do you care whether other people’s lives are a phase?

Moore writes that cool girls are:

Actually a phase — something younger women are more inclined to do out of insecurity or the need for male approval. But typically, as they grow into adulthood and careers, they can start to shed the immense social pressure that dictates this sort of pretense.”

“I think she’s a perfect role to inhabit in your twenties when you’re unsure of yourself (and who isn’t?), trying on identities for size still, still working out your needs and how to get them met.”

And to that I’m just like: who gives a fuck??

Why does anyone care whether someone else’s life is a phase, or forever?

Odds are good, for some of us, that this value system and belief set is forever, but the outcome there — and how we live out the rest of our lives — is our domain.

Your domain is your life. Over there.

How is your issue with other women not your own feelings of inadequacy?

Moore writes:

“I lived in Nashville in my twenties… and it was lousy with Cool Girls. I was… slightly older than most of them. I had the fascinating sociological bird’s eye view of seeing such women up close with the advantage of More Years… they were irritating beyond comprehension, but mesmerizing to watch. They were fun. Never too serious. Beautiful. Interesting. Elusive. Allergic to feelings. Only about good times. Effortlessly sensual, but one of the guys. Foul-mouthed, but incredibly feminine. Naturally, there were, at any given time, droves of dudes in love with them because they were “not like other girls.”

Uh huh.


And at what point did these women offend Moore so thoroughly that she decided she loathed them? Because I think I missed that in her re-telling of this adventure.

How is her issue with their mere existent not simply just a reflection of her own insecurities?

Because her feelings of inadequacy are all but seeping from this passage.

From her need to clarify that she was “slightly older than most of them” and had “the advantage of More Years” (inexplicably capitalized) to “the fascinating sociological bird’s eye view” through which she presumably kept them at arm’s length so as to better deem them as “irritating beyond comprehension.”

Really? Irritating “beyond comprehension?”

Seriously explain to me where in this passage these women fucked up so badly — other than inadvertently brushing up against Moore’s pre-existing insecurities, presumably with her own womanhood and men?

Can we just stop talking about “other girls?”

Moore wondered:

“Why is it so important for Gage to point out that she’s ‘not like other girls?’”

I ask in response: why is it so important for Moore to infer and assume this?

Because, far from needing to be “not like other girls,” I actually wish more people, especially women, were “like this.”

Genuine cool girls don’t go around comparing ourselves to other girls — that’s the insecure girl’s play. If anything, we wish more women were more focused on things other than SOs. They’d be much happier for it.

I wish more women understood that they can be “real” and “cool,” and that “cool” can be genuine.

It’s about not doing things just because men are into them. But it’s also about not doing things just because women expect them of you. It’s about you doing you.

That you can, to use Moore’s own words, be any combination of:

“serious and fun. Masculine and feminine. Simple and complicated. Transparent and elusive. You know, just people.”

Indeed, just people.

That, and all women in our right.

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