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What Gwen Stefani Taught Me About Being a Girl

She taught me more about girl power than Christina Aguilera’s disease-ridden chaps ever could.
May 15, 2013, 4:20pm

No Doubt's sixth album, Push and Shove, came out last year to "generally favorable reviews," which is Wikipedia's way of saying it was a total flop. Their last single, which they performed on X Factor to millions of viewers, charted at 397 in the UK.

Despite all that, I still adore Gwen Stefani. She's one of the few big US popstars that, despite hair adjustments, has stayed true to her mischievous punk girl persona throughout. In fact, she taught me more about girl power than Christina Aguilera's disease-ridden chaps ever could.


Gwen came into my life at a time when the concept of platonic male friendship was entirely foreign. My conversations revolved around my ever-rotating list of Top 5 Cutest Crushes and my lunchtimes were spent daubing my pencil case with the word "Blaize," which was the moniker of an orange faux-hawk-wearing school kingpin who was THE HOTTEST. When I was young, boys were simply empty vessels, free to be filled up with audacious attempts at flirting from my friends and me. Gwen taught me that interaction between the sexes doesn't have to be limited to dodging sexual architecture and duvet dens filled with self-doubt and ice cream. Instead, I learned that boys were there to be our friends, too. (Afterwards, I learned that some of them just say they want to be your friends so they outstretch their arm and roll over into the duvet den, but that's a story for another time).


Sure, Gwen did teach me that guys can be my friends, but that didn't stop me from having a boyfriend. And when his addiction to constantly listening to The Postal Service and determination to claim the covers as his own got a little too overbearing, we broke up. Then, a couple of weeks later, I saw him sharing a plate of chili cheese fries with some slut-shamer from the high school across town and it almost broke my heart. Thankfully, Gwen had just released her smash hit single "Cool," which taught me that, although it's really not cute to break up with someone (and even less cute to meet their new flame), there are ways to deal with dignity. In the video, Gwen managed to handle her break up with the class of Jackie and the platinum sass of Marilyn. It was delicate and touching and made me want to hug her and take her out for a glass of red wine. I learned how to deal with situations in the way that an emotionally stable girl should (and I also learned that Gwen had painfully amazing legs).


Motherhood may have demurred her, but being Gwen Stefani still means being outrageous in the most enviable of girl-crush ways. I've tried to dye my hair a fun color and tie it in a bun like her so many times that Garnier Fructis sent me a Christmas card. Gwen paved the way for pastoral hair-dos and the notion that being beautiful doesn't have to mean FHM style coiffeurs and a face-plant into the rack of a Benefit make-up counter.


Although I'm content with dabbling in painfully mediocre things—a mild curry, Zumba class, finding a steady job—Gwen commits herself to about 12 different areas of overachievement simultaneously. She's musically talented (obvs), can act (she was part of the cast nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance when she was in Martin Scorsese's Aviator), designs clothes (she runs fashion label L.A.M.B and has her own fragrance), and looks after all of her ridiculously cool kids without breaking a sweat. She proved women can reach James Franco levels of professional polygamy by flying the flag of hard-working girl power.


I first heard No Doubt's "Just A Girl" while watching cult 90s chick-flick Clueless and it changed my life. Suddenly, I was no longer a pretty girl with a pink ribbon held over my eyes, but a thundering feminine behemoth, ready to tackle the world and take everything that it had to throw at me.


It takes a certain amount of confidence to rock bold make-up and knowingly draw attention to yourself. It's something that Gwen has pretty much built her career upon. I'm still testing the waters with lipstick, but I applaud all the women who have dove straight into the pouty, sultry deep end. It's not just make-up, though. Gwen's pretty much been a frontrunner for hollering as loud as she can about anything that she believes in.

I'd like it to be known that if anyone has a way of getting me into her home so that I can roll around in a pile of her houndstooth clothes and cover myself in bindis, that would be really, really sweet. If you have a hook up, call me. Or you can just wait till you see me strutting down a street to the beat of "Hollaback Girl," to which I have coordinated arm movements and hip swings.

Follow Camille on Twitter @CamStanden

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I Broke Up With My Boyfriend And It Ruined All Of The Songs That I Used To Love

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