The rise and rise of the woo girl
They’re the life and soul of every party, and the world needs them
For most of us How I Met Your Mother was our first introduction to the glorious – albeit often misunderstood – concept of the woo girl. Robin and Lily go to meet an old school friend, and they’re repulsed to discover her new squealing, cocktail-drinking party crew personality.
The girls are horrified – “I don’t know what happened, at school she seemed to unwoo-ish” – but they shouldn’t be.
“A woo girl”, the show tells us, “is the type of young woman who, like the cuckoo bird or the whip-poor-will, gets her name from the signature sound she makes. A woo can be elicited in many different ways: from a certain song coming on the jukebox, to half-priced shots, or well, pretty much anything.”
The woo girls are played for laughs, calling each other dumb whores, pulling their boobs out at the bar, and annoying the sage, intelligent, eye-rolling Robin and Lily. “Oh my god”, one screams. “I was worried that I didn’t feed the cat, but then I remembered, that I did, woo!”
Even the definitions of the term found online are overwhelmingly, and bafflingly, negative. Woo girls are seen as vapid, overexcited, young and stupid. They love Ugg boots and Victoria’s Secret. They’re probably Srats. They’re uncultured, they’re basic.
But that definition isn’t just completely wrong, it’s negative and just really, not very woo girl. Woo girls aren’t about being annoying, they’re not about shoving their party girl status in anyone’s face. They’re just there, in any event, to have as much fun as possible – and why the fuck not?
The woo girl is the woman in your life who always makes sure you have a good time. She’s the life of the party, on the dancefloor and breaking out her signature move long after people start to leave and until the lights go up. Her social skills and eternal positivity means she’s your gateway between different groups of friends. Her party lifestyle means she always has the best music on her playlist. She’s inexhaustible. She loves fizz. You love her.
In How I Met Your Mother Barney is the only one who knows what’s up. Their gang needs a woo girl. The world needs woo girls.
The collective scoffing at fun, party girls, at dancing, positive ‘woo girls’ is no different to calling women ‘basic bitches’ or identifying some girls as crazy. It’s just another way of shaming girls for having fun and doing what they enjoy, whether that’s screaming with their friends when their song comes on, mainlining PSLs for an entire season of the year or scrolling back 132 weeks on a fit guy’s Instagram.