I used to be midway via the latest season of Master of None once I learned I discovered Dev’s love pastime hectic. I sought after to love Francesca as a result of I really like Dev and I just like the display, and I may inform I used to be meant to, however there was once one thing about her that stored falling flat for me.
I couldn’t pinpoint why, although, till the penultimate episode when, between asking Dev if they may chase their pasta dinner with popcorn and in the event that they must have a pajama dance birthday party, Francesca donned Dev’s good friend’s button-down blouse as leisure-wear.
The trope of a lady casually shrugging on a person’s button-down blouse isn’t a brand new one in Hollywood. In reality, it’s slightly ubiquitous, showing in films like Iron Man, The Wedding Singer, Transformers, The American President, Barefoot within the Park, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and such a lot of extra they’re now not value looking to listing.
As anyone who’s by no means even entertained the speculation of slipping into a person’s button-down at bedtime (a t-shirt or sweatshirt feels extra logical in phrases of each convenience and dry cleansing expenses), I’ve all the time discovered the popular culture fantasy a bit of absurd. When Racked revealed a piece of writing that investigated its origins in April, I felt unusually vindicated. The piece didn’t come to a pleasing conclusion, nevertheless it did inspire me to unpack my very own emotions about it.
When Francesca advocates for post-pasta popcorn, places on a males’s button-down blouse and proceeds to start up a hip-swishing kitchen dance birthday party, I couldn’t assist however suppose of the “Cool Girl,” Gillian Flynn’s skewering characterization of performative femininity in Gone Girl.
The “Cool Girl,” as described by way of Flynn, is scorching, sensible, humorous, lovable and a dimension two. She loves hamburgers and scorching canines, and pasta adopted by way of popcorn. She desires to have spontaneous pajama dance events in a person’s button-down blouse that in some way, on her, seems sexier than undies.
It’s now not that ladies can’t actually be and wish all of these items — it’s that for me, they don’t represent the sum of an absolutely advanced character (or perhaps a vaguely-developed one). It’s virtually as though the Master of None script stated [insert cool female character here]. This type of trendy manic-pixie-Cool-Girl stereotyping would possibly appear innocuous on the outside, nevertheless it’s one thing I believe many ladies, together with me, are maligning once we beg for extra advanced feminine characters.
Once I known Francesca’s persona as a perpetuator of the Cool Girl character, I spotted what stricken me such a lot in regards to the males’s-dress-shirt-as-pajamas phenomenon: It’s a Cool Girl staple.
Curious how this cliché influenced actual girls, I carried out a ballot on Instagram that requested girls whether or not they’d ever worn a person’s button-down pre- or post-romantic stumble upon. I wasn’t stunned when 81% stated no. I additionally won loads of direct messages from girls weighing in on the subject, a vital quantity of which identified that it reinforces problematic frame requirements through which girls are assumed to be extra petite than males. One lady confessed that she purchases massive costume shirts to stay in her closet as a result of she frequently hooks up with males who’re smaller or shorter than she is. “I have large shirts awaiting me so I still feel small,” she wrote.
When my exasperation with Master of None’s Francesca persona first bubbled up, I wasn’t rather certain what to make of it. Was I being judgmental? Was I making a large deal out of not anything? Was I insecure in regards to the dimension of my very own frame in comparison to my boyfriend’s?
I’m now not asking the ones questions anymore. I felt the best way I did as a result of Francesca, whilst great sufficient, is a reminder that the Cool Girl is alive and thriving. That she danced round in Dev’s kitchen in a button-down blouse isn’t the actual offense, it’s that popular culture remains to be harping on this too-narrow conception of what “desirable” girls must glance, act, costume and really feel like. It’s a conception that doesn’t dangle up off-screen, and that’s an opening I’m drained of straddling.
Courtesy of Netflix.