Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In Defense of "That Girl"

Recently a good friend told me about a book written by former "bachelor" Travis Stork who also happens to be a graduate of Mr. Jefferson's medical school. (FYI guy: Mr. Jefferson would not be amused.) The book, Don't be that girl: A guide to finding the confident, rational girl within, gives That Girl and her amazing girlfriends a bad rap.

I'll omit the diatribe about why Dr. Stork is in no way qualified to comment on the behavior of women when he obviously has relationship issues of his own; seriously, he had to go on a reality television show to get a date. How lame is that? But I digress.

I need to admit, at this point, that I have not read Dr. Stork's book. Furthermore, I have no intention of reading it. But just looking at the cover and reading the description is enough to send this feminist through the roof.

Dr. Stork's definition of That Girl:

So who is that girl, exactly? She defies a simple definition. She may be the chameleon who turns into a completely different person the second a guy walks into the room. She could be the girl with the ironclad agenda that she's held to dearly since her first encounter with Modern Bride (and she'll do anything to make sure her plan materializes). Or she's the consummate "yes" girl who is always going along with his every wish. If she's not saying yes, she might very well be a drama queen who is always saying no because she can't seem to live without conflict. Then again, she might not be dramatic at all, just miserable inside, wearing her anger and bitterness as a badge of honor. In short, she's the girl who's trying fruitlessly to be someone she's not -- who's falling victim to the common pitfalls and patterns that lead to that girl behavior -- rather than believing in herself, following her passions, and maintaining healthy priorities.

Clearly Dr. Stork has never met the original That Girl: Anne Marie (as played by Marlo Thomas). Anne Marie was an aspiring actress living in New York. That Girl was the first TV show to center on a single woman living on her own. Although Anne Marie had a boyfriend and was ultimately engaged, the series ended before she was married because Marlo Thomas did not want to leave young girls with the message that marriage was the only option or ultimate goal. That Girl was independent, career oriented, funny, and self-confident.

But here's the thing: being That Girl means being yourself and loving who you are. That Girl does not need men like Dr. Stork to poke holes in her self-esteem. Yes, sometimes That Girl can be a bit neurotic, a bit of a drama queen, a little bit cynical and bitter, and ready, at a moment's notice, to throw herself a pity party. But guess what? That's totally normal and healthy. Show me That Girl who has 100 percent confidence in herself 100 percent of the time and I'll show you . . . well, I don't know what because such a woman just doesn't exist except in Dr. Stork's personal fantasy world.

I could go into why That Girl has moments of craziness (most of which involve men), but I won't because my point is this: That Girl (who embodies all women) is an amazing, intelligent, independent, beautiful wife, mother, daughter, sister, lover, friend, aunt, cousin, grandmother, human being who holds up this world with compassion and love. Take that Mr. Bachelor!

1 comment:

Wild Cayuse Creek said...

Wild Cayuse Creek is "That Girl" too. And yes, Mr. Stork, I defy definition. But not for the reason you lined out.

Perhaps those of us "That Girls" need to band together and write a book about how not to be The Bachelor. Because Mr. Stork, I think you protest too much. Maybe what you see is a failing of "That Girl" is really a reflection of something in you.