Gone Girl a cautionary tale?

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Gone Girl a cautionary tale

After watching “Gone Girl” I pondered at the underlying message. It’s safe to say that everybody left the movie theater with a bit more than they could chew. This movie is all at once a great mystery, black comedy and a commentary on today’s relationships. This is the only movie that is dealing with relationships and marriage in a caustic, incendiary and provocative way.

Gone Girl sheds some nasty insights at what being a Cool Girl or more precisely faking being a Cool Girl can do to relationships, and marriage. Being the Cool Girl is a lie almost every woman has told to try to impress a man.

What is the definition of a Cool Girl?

Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl), describes the Cool Girl like this

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.

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.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much!
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl


I quoted the passage at length because it’s just so incredibly on point — and reflective of a certain mode of femininity that our current culture valorizes and celebrates. This is one of the most discussed passages in her book as it resonates with so many women who relate to it in different levels.

Being Cool Girl is about compromising who you are so you can emulate the woman you think he wants you to be.

Amy does touch on a fundamental problem with the way men and women interact. While Amy was pretending to be the Cool Girl, Nick was pretending to be the Charming Guy or Prince Charming. This is how men and women court each other: they pretend to be something they are not. Optimistically, it can be described as trying to be your best self for the person you love. For pessimists, it’s called faking it. “But it was unsustainable,” Amy writes. “It turned out he couldn’t sustain his side either: the witty banter, the clever games, the romance, and the wooing. It all started collapsing on itself.”

Women and men alike seem to have unrealistic expectations of who they really want or should be in a relationship or even marriage.  To pretend to be this Cool Girl or Charming guy might be fun but unsustainable.

Nobody can sustain an act like this, not Amy and not Nick.

Gone Girl brings up the subject of Cool Girl – the pretense of being someone else to attract a mate. It brings the subject of how we are editing our lives to be more enviable as we present our photos in Facebook, which are snippets of lies that project our lives in a more favourable light.  Choosing pictures that make us look more attractive, portraying ourselves as cool, and our lives as interesting and fun. Finally, it raises questions on how all these will manifest themselves in relationships and marriage, what repercussions are there in living a life of complete pretence.

We project this Narcissistic version of ourselves. As a nation we became very adept at transformations and we have all the tools, cameras, make-up and we are all aware of our best angles, not just actors and models. We are editing our lives to be more enviable as they present their photos in Facebook, which are snippets of lies that project our lives in a more favourable light.

What does then narcissism mean in relationships and marriage. It means instead of being yourself in as selfless way, you are requiring the other person to project the images of yourselves that you want to put across and that is very different.

Putting on appearances and learning to shape shift back and forward from Cool Girl to your normal secret self and be whatever is required of the situation. We all know that it’s a growing up process, trying out different guises and sometimes it is what the social situation requires of us. Frankly, we all played that game, of being someone you are not, to attract a mate and realised that it was futile and ended up losing. It’s not necessarily creating a lie, it’s skewing your personality in someone else’s favour ultimately leads you to resent that person because you are not being true to yourself.

How far does going against the greater self end up compromising you and end up compromising others?

Any relationship to last in the long haul will require authenticity, relentless unveiling your true self since otherwise it is unsustainable to project and pretend 24/7.

In closing just be authentically, relentlessly you with room for improvement. There is a clear difference between faking and self-improvement. One should at all times seek to improve within a relationship and self and still remain true to oneself. Your real voice is the one that will allow for congruent happiness.


Tina is a DailyStar senior writer. She graduated from Edith Cowan University. Writing has always been something she enjoyed. Her positive outlook colours every aspect of her life. Her motto -Life’s too short so get living.

When she’s not busy writing, Tina is exploring the city she adores, running in her local Park every day, drinking an absurd amount of coffee, taking care of an adorable pup, kids and traveling.

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