Purple Table Talk breaks down ‘cool girl’ trope

By: Sierra Wells

Managing Editor

Tarleton State University’s “Purple Table Talk: Are You a Cool Girl?” on March 22 analyzed the cool girl film trope which has significantly impacted women over the years.

Coined by Gillian Flynn’s book, “Gone Girl,” the term cool girl refers to a man’s fantasy woman, who has the same interests as him and opposes traditionally feminine activities and traits.

Tarleton Ambassadors President Stephanie Council served as the mistress of ceremonies for the evening.

“As Texans, understanding the experiences of women is important to all of us,” said Council. “Though women have a diverse array of experiences, we each define ourselves in our own unique ways.”

The event consisted of four individual panels of women, each tasked with answering a question about the cool girl.

Before each panel began, a video was played to explain different aspects and hardships associated with the cool girl trope.

The first panel, which included Dr. Subi Gandhi, Dr. Dana Fitzpatrick, Coach Misty Wilson and Kailey Fenton, discussed issues with the cool girl ideal.

Panel one at the Purple Table Talk.
Photo by: Sierra Wells

“I just don’t try to fit into a mold, so I think the problem is when you’re trying to be something to get the affection of someone else rather than just simply being,” said Fitzpatrick.

Answering how the cool girl ideal has changed women’s perceptions of themselves, the second panel was made up of Dr. Jensen Branscombe, Dr. Ebony Lang, Juana Moncada and Aysia Coleman

“I think that depending on the person’s level of self-esteem and self-awareness is going to determine how that idea of image influences that particular female,” Lang said. “And so I can speak in terms of myself, you know when I’m watching movies or videos and seeing what I project to be a cool girl image, I may use that to, we talked about this at the table, kind of gage do I do that or what does that look like for me when I’m in that particular situation, so using those moment to kind of reflect on who I am as a female is how it has changed or impacted me.”

Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, Coach Stephanie Sharp, Dr. Rhonda Dobbs and Paige Paulson were all part of the third panel. They were asked how women can avoid the trap of being a cool girl.

“For me, the journey to authenticity has been exactly that, a journey, for me to stop using external metrics to measure things that I felt were the ‘right things’ and to turn inside and find those things within myself and just express who I am authentically,” Wallace said.

Finally, the fourth panel, consisting of Ms. Lathes Towns, Dr. Cessna Winslow, Emma Halcomb and Brooklyn Richmond, shared their thoughts on how the cool girl trope affects a woman’s behavior in relationships.

“My whole take is be you, and you can always be a better you, but never change who you truly are from your foundation,” Towns said.

Closing out the event, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Sherri Benn discussed the importance of the Purple Table Talk for future experiences of women.

“While we celebrate women, we know that we still have a lot of work to do as it relates to the equity and the equality of those who identify as women,” Benn said.

The Purple Table Talk gave all the attendees a new outlook on the identities of women.

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