Op-Ed: How To Be A Proud #SadGirl On Any Valentine’s Day

Feb. 17, 2016 / By

According to Urban Dictionary, a sad girl is “a nickname that is Chicana/Latina in origin… a tough girl who has suffered extreme hardships (i.e. someone she loves, or more than one person, has gone away for life, or been killed through violence usually street related) and may be quiet or aloof but does not let her suffering drag her down.”

No one chooses the sad girl life, the sad girl life chooses you. Tragedy makes a sad girl, and whether it be your man or your best girl friend who did you wrong, vengeance has never looked so good.

While all those sickening couples were busy staring at each other on Valentine’s Day, you blew yourself a kiss in the mirror and threw a middle finger at the world. Embracing the sad girl in you is just a new way to arm yourself in self-love, which was necessary for V-Day, which just passed a few days ago.

Today, “sad girls” are women aged 16 to 25 and are best represented on Tumblr although they can be seen all across social media on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Being a sad girl is not as dreary as it sounds. On your best day you’re as good as Mona, the OG Sad Girl, as she squashes the beef with the homegirl Mousie.


Your worst day looks like Tove Lo in the music video for “Habits.”



If these are the options, you’re definitely not stuck between a rock and a hard place.

When you’re a sad girl you can be found in a popular local bar or club on any given night. Your nights probably end anywhere between two and four in the morning, and your days start no earlier than four in the afternoon. Your life is full of family and friends, with no shortage of drama. Haters are gonna’ hate but that doesn’t faze you.

Regardless how you live your life, the most important thing about being a sad girl is embracing all the things about yourself that someone called ugly at some point. Maybe you’re chubby? Wear a crop-top. Thick eyebrows? Color them darker. Curly hair? Just rock it.

V-Day is one of those special times of the year, along with Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the sad girl in you may show a bit more than usual. Maybe that sting of sadness was sharper right around this weekend.

Demonized since the beginning of time, women have had much to endure. To consider women weak or overly emotional is not only insulting but ignorant.

From Adam’s Eve to the current queen of sad girls, Lana del Rey, women continue to make major strides in reclaiming their power.

Women and their emotions are radical and impractical, or so society would have us think.  According to MP Press, France recognizes premenstrual stress syndrome as a form of legal insanity. In the past, England has placed two women in two separate cases on probation for murder after the defense pleaded PMS as the cause.

Rather than be ashamed of our emotions, women are starting to embrace all those irrational feelings and finding strength in the culture of being a sad girl. To be a sad girl is by no means offensive, but rather a name worn with pride. In the light of new feminism, sad girls are boisterous, no-nonsense activists.

Sad girls first made their way into popular culture in the 1930s and ‘40s through legends of the silver screen. Played by the fiercest and most beautiful women of the time, sad girls came to life played by such greats as Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall, and baddest of them all, Barbara Stanwyck.



Next to leading men like Humphrey Bogart and Fred McMurray (hubba hubba), these women showed us how good it is to be bad. With lush pouty lips and an enduring stare, it’s no wonder so many men met their demise at the hand of these bad ass women.

Today, Lana del Rey, who emulates this culture best with her big baby-blues and sad girl lips, is the prime example of the reinvention of the classic film-noire style and attitude.


Some women make their sad girl statement with a more in-your-face approach.

Millenials of all varieties are embracing their inner sad girl in different ways. In the East Los Angeles xicanisma scene, sad girl culture is making a major statement. Xicanas of all shapes and sizes are using the culture as a form of resistance.

Independent businesses such as Los Angeles-based Guerrillera L.A. proclaim their slogan as “brown, proud, y loud.” The brand designs shirts which display with no shame the label of “Sad girl” across the front in extravagant cursive text. Although the shirts are simple in design, the statements which the shirts make are powerful.

Recently, the brand teamed up with another independent L.A.-based accessory line called Velvet Beehive. The two collaborated on the new “Chillona Club” collection. The Chillona Club line includes heart-shaped pins which read “chillona” and “sad girl.” These girls are drowning the patriarchy in their tears.

Another independent brand, These Americans (T.A.), is also paying homage to the sad girl attitude in their t-shirt line. T.A. recently released the “Something in My Eye” crop top for women. The front of the shirt displays a comic style woman stating, “I’m not crying, it’s just something in my eye.”

Oh, and speaking of demons, one of T.A.’s best sellers is the She Demon crop top for women.

Sad girl culture can also be noted in softer styles. Just last month Nasty Gal and Courtney Love released a collaborative fashion line of sultry slip-dresses and lace pieces. Reminiscent of her early grunge years, Love’s collection celebrates the sad girl-grunge style of the early 1990s. Love’s satin on satin collection still hints at the chic seductive style of the film-noire.

So, with V-Day right behind me and without a date that day what was a girl to do? Instinct told me I should have stayed in bed, curled into a ball, and waited for it to be over. Thankfully, my mother raised me to be stronger than that.

The sad girl in me inspired a shopping spree for a new outfit. I didn’t need a man to take me out, I took myself out. Anti-valentine party anyone? I knew of a few.

I also know a couple of lovely ladies who are also unlucky in love, and I was just the person to take them out and treat them right. Nothing better than a friend date with my best girl friends. My afro was righteous and my dress slinky and I had on my best sad girl face as a wished myself and my friends the best: Hope you had a happy (sad girl) Valentines!

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Amanda Mayberry

Amanda Mayberry is a black/xicana woman born and raised in East LA.