I would've thought that everyone who was single and wanted to be in a relationship was girlfriend material, but some people clearly have different standards...
Type “girlfriend material” in your search engine browser, and what you’ll find is tons of articles, quizzes, and quotes from men expressing their expectations about the qualities that make a woman "dateable." But what exactly is "girlfriend material"? It’s a popular concept used in movies and books, which consists of a bunch of standards women have to meet in order to be taken seriously by a man. It implies that your personality and behavior should match their list of traits. These expectations sound more like restrictions that reinforce oppression and sexist beliefs like women should be polite, play hard-to-get, not have many partners, not wear “provocative” clothing, and of course, the kind of girl they can bring home to their parents. The problem behind all this is the insecurities and labels it imposes on women. So, next time someone asks you if you're girlfriend material or not, what should you answer? First, let’s address the effect that this concept has on women.
Photo: Kinga Cichewicz
Being "girlfriend material" shouldn't mean you have to hide who you are.
For example, in the book Girlfriend Material, Kate is forced by her mom to go to Cape Cod for the summer, where she knows nobody, and her plans of being on vacation with her best friend are ruined. There, she meets Adam, and she falls for him immediately. Although they have chemistry, Kate starts stressing about whether she is girlfriend material or not, and changes her opinions and priorities to make Adam like her more.
Just like Kate, women worry about their image and the perception guys have of them. "I shouldn’t be wearing this because he’ll think I’m easy,” or “I shouldn’t talk too much because he’ll think I’m annoying.” These ideas and prejudices about women cause them insecurities and keep them from showing who they really are. I think that someone who rejects these notions of being likable for men or meeting their standards is Jennifer Lawrence. She is not afraid to express herself. She shouts, burps, drinks, dresses pretty sexy, and just doesn’t care if others approve her behavior or not. She is a perfect example that the "girlfriend material" concept is utter nonsense.
Photo: Joshua Rawson
If he doesn't like you as you are, he doesn't deserve you.
If you are loud, sexy, and curse a lot, there shouldn’t be a reason for guys to not see you as a dateable woman. You shouldn't have to hide your personality or act differently with a man just because you are afraid he won't like you. If he doesn’t show interest in you or decides that certain characteristics of your personality aren’t the qualities his parents would approve of in a girlfriend, then he is not worthy of having you, either. Find a person who truly likes what’s inside you, who seeks no approval from anybody, and who accepts every single one of your quirks and flaws. Ultimately, that’s what it should all come down to: liking each other for everything that you are, physical and intellectual characteristics, virtues and flaws, good and bad.
Photo: Alvin Mahmudov
Debunking the myths behind the “girlfriend material” concept is important because women should not have to change who they are to be liked. Of course, common sense says there's things you should and shouldn't do when you're dating someone. But being quiet, wearing clothing you don't like, and keeping your real essence hidden out of fear that they won't like you is the worst way to look for love. With that in mind, you should embrace the following answer. Whenever someone asks if you are girlfriend material say: “If your concept of ‘girlfriend material’ is based on the premise that I should behave appropriately and worry about what others would think, I might not be that person. However, if your concept is a smart, independent, hard-working person who lives intensely and loves taking risks, challenges, and going on new adventures, then yeah, I guess I am girlfriend material."
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Cover photo by Henri Meilhac