Ilana Wexler and the Subversion of the Cool Girl

Media Example

Ilana Wexler, one of the characters in Broad City, seems like an archetypal version of the Cool Girl Anne Helen Petersen mentions in her article. Ilana doesn’t care about what people think of her, and lives her life in the way she wants. She has sex with whoever she wants and is open about her body, wearing crop tops and miniskirts.

However, I don’t think that her portrayal of the Cool Girl is necessarily mainstream. Petersen talks about how the Cool Girl doesn’t like to hang out with other women, but Ilana’s best friend is Abbi and their relationship is almost codependent. Ilana cares intensely about Abbi, and the Cool Girl isn’t supposed to really care about anything but football and beer and pleasing men. Ilana is also canonically queer, which Petersen doesn’t really address in her article but I think is a way to complicate the notion of the Cool Girl. When Ilana isn’t always interested in pleasing men and making them happy, is she really a Cool Girl? Ilana’s also pretty self-centered, and not interested in changing for other people. In this scene where Ilana and Abbi flip off the man who tells them to smile 

Ilana isn’t interested in making herself into something the man on the street wants. While she seems like a Cool Girl, I’d argue Ilana’s much more complicated and interesting than what the “stereotypical” Cool Girl represents.

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