The Glamorization of the French Girl

Refinery29’s article “How (Exactly) To Look Like a French Girl,” gives us all kinds of French beauty tips to remind us that American girls are basically virgins who can’t drive. I’ve long been a huge fan of Refinery29, as I frequently see them as the cutting edge of beauty and fashion trends, while still being relatable.

However, we must stop glamorizing the “French girl.”

I spent a year of my life living in the quiet country next door to France, Belgium. I spoke French, I ate French food, and then a few summers later I spent three weeks in Paris for work. While I’m far, and I mean FAR, from a French girl, it’s true that many of them yield an unequivocal beauty that you don’t frequently see in the United States.

But in reading Refinery29’s article, I realized we aren’t just talking up the French – we’re kind of unhealthily obsessed with them. It’s come to the point where I’m truly curious – are the French trolling us with beauty tips?

A few of the ridiculous Refinery29 tips to make you a super hot, sexy, perfect, skinny French(-looking) fille:

  1. Take carotenoid pills that are made for people with sun allergies because they make you really sexy and glowy and obviously pale is so not cute!
  2. Engage in “invisible exercise” – AKA park really far away and always take the stairs! (You fat American girls never do this!)
  3. Make sure you do a face mask at least twice a week, but not like, a regular face mask, like a COOL face mask. A direct quote, I’m not even joking: “Homemade masks might include lavender if your ancestors were from the South of France, or seaweed if they were from Brittany.” So if you’re from Atlanta, you should probably make sure your face mask has some peach in it, but if you’re from California it definitely needs to have grape (or smog, whichever).
  4. Oh, but make sure you put your face mask on while you’re drinking coffee. Americans often think they’re too busy and important for that, but hellooo even your dumb American brain can multitask.
  5. Seaweed baths are easy and expected spa treatments and in France they even have them for poor people, so you should be able to afford one in America. Oh, and you’ll smell like shit afterward, but you’ll feel SUPER detoxed. 
  6. Inject their faces with Botox?! EW! Only mesotherapy for French ladies. That’s tiny injections given by a licensed doctor – not those big scary needles you plump Americans need.
  7. Even our pedicures are too juvenile. You musssst try the pedicure where “medical coat-donning, government-licensed practitioner to groom the feet and toes by using shiny, sharp instruments.” You fuggo Americans let Chang at the place down the street do your pedicure? GASP.

How dare we think that there are actually French women whose lives don’t revolve around beauty! By making all French women the epitome of French beauty, and then basing our own lives off of it, we, frankly, look ridiculous. The Refinery29 article says:

And, according to Mireille Guiliano, author of the forthcoming book French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, most French women don’t like to exercise indoors. When it comes to exercise, Guiliano says, “A French woman would not do it if it were boring. That’s why you don’t see many of them in the gym — because they think it is like torture. We are not born for this kind of exercise routine.” 

Funny, I’m not born for it either. But I certainly don’t look down upon women who do spend a lot of time at the gym, and I’m pretty sure they would also love to be exercising outside. Unfortunately, running six miles at 5 a.m. in the dark isn’t exactly ideal. But if an American girl has to go to the gym to workout, at least she’s freakin’ working out. The French woman works out, the American girl works out – whatever. You aren’t any more beautiful or glamorous because you work out outside. If we could all stop epitomizing the French girl as the most beautiful gorgeous perfect things in the world, we’d probably have a bit more peace in ourselves. 

Guess what ladies – French girls still get zits. Still get their periods. Still have muffin top.

Find your own beauty.