The rise of the ‘adorkable’ girl

Finally a type of girl I identify with

Growing up, I was your stereotypical misfit. And today I still feel that way – but it wasn’t until recently that I began to accept this. I think that this is mostly due to the rise of the terribly dorky, awkward, and quirky girl.

You know the one – the girl who can be painfully awkward, yet approachable. The girl with the oddest speech pattern that for some reason is completely endearing, seems to find a way to add polka dots to every single outfit, and lurks day in and day out in a coffee shop.

To me, being adorkable is kind of like taking an old soul and placing it in the modern world. It’s like if you took someone out of 1950 and put them into 2016. Sure, they’d probably be nice enough, but there would always be some sort of social barrier in the way, and I’ve felt this barrier my whole life.

This isn’t to say that I never had any friends, but I was never one of those kids who had a friend group of like twenty kids. I floated around and got along with most people and had a small group of close friends. I think a lot of this has to do with that I just wasn’t interested in what everyone else liked.

For one thing, when everyone was reading Twilight, I was reading Gone With the Wind for about the millionth time, which my friends thought was oddly adorable, making me the designated Grandma. When everyone was into competitive cheerleading, I was at piano lessons. When everyone was talking about the Friday night football game, I was trying to remember what a first down meant. There was just always something separating me from everyone else.

While I obviously don’t identify with every aspect of this “adorkable” ideal, it’s the closest idiosyncrasy that I feel has ever represented me even remotely, and I think that a lot of this has to do with what’s popular on TV and in the media today.

Take for instance the World Wide Web – Internet trolls have emerged from their cyber dwellings and unleashed this explosion of bizarre, witty humor, which has helped to show that people are generally so, so weird, allowing people like me to realize, everyone’s kind of an oddball, whether they show it or not.

Not capable of taking a typical selfie

Until recently, I never was able to relate to any girl I saw on TV. Sure, when I was younger, I knew that the character Lizzie McGuire was dorky as hell, but she was also always trying to fit in and was not at all comfortable with who she was. Until of course, she was mistaken for the Italian pop-sensation, Isabella, but even then she obviously wasn’t very authentic.

The “adorkable” girl on TV or in movies was generally the “cool” girl’s sidekick. Like in the 90’s classic Clueless, Cher was obviously the cool and popular one who got all of the boys’ attention, while her awkward friend, Tai, gets brushed aside. We are somehow made to feel sorry for her being herself, yet proud that Cher, the one constantly pretending to be something she’s not, would take the new, weird girl under her wing. In reality, Cher is pretty vapid and Tai is the one who is compelling.

Now, instead of being the sidekick, that same awkward, quirky girl is beginning to be put in the spotlight and her “cool” friend is taking a step back. Take the show New Girl, for instance. Jess, played by no other than Zooey Deschannel, is practically the dictionary definition of “adorkable.” She is the main character, while her best friend, the model, assumes the role of sidekick. Proving that the out of the ordinary girl can also be successful, desirable, and charming.

Like me, she has a small group of equally charmingly strange friends. Jess doesn’t mind staying in to knit on a Friday night, and while she doesn’t have an extensive circle of friends, she gets along with mostly everyone and doesn’t care that she likes things that literally no one else around her is interested in. She is confident and comfortable in who she is, and because of this, doesn’t feel left out.

A dream Friday night

Having a character like Jess for my 21-year-old self to relate to has helped me to become more me, as cliché as that sounds. Just seeing a character on TV who isn’t afraid to skip a night out with friends to read a book in one sitting has helped me to realize that there is more than one type of girl out there. Not just the “cool” or “party” girl.

This isn’t to say that any one kind of woman is better than the other because of course that isn’t true. However, we already know that nine times out of ten, the popular girl is going to be desirable, but I have never once felt like the popular girl, and I don’t know too many people who have. I have, however, felt like this dorky, awkward, and quirky girl, and it feels empowering to know that I can be just as captivating.